Shed the baby weight the healthy way by avoiding these seven new-mom food traps.
Now that you’ve had your baby, you can pack up the maternity clothes, right? Not just yet. For many new moms, it takes a full year to drop the baby weight. “No one likes to hear this, but losing up to 4 pounds a month is actually right on track for healthy weight loss”. Plus, even women who were able to maintain a healthy diet before having a baby soon realize that life with an infant can create a nutritional minefield. Case in point: The irregular schedule of a newborn often means missed meals are replaced with unhealthy snacks.
“New moms grab cookies or crackers because they’re quick sources of energy. While these foods may fill you up temporarily, eating too many will hamper your weight loss goals-and hinder your body’s ability to bounce back from childbirth. “Protein, healthy fats and antioxidants can lessen fatigue and help your body recover from pregnancy and delivery.
By avoiding the seven most common new-mom food traps you can lose the baby weight while fortifying your body for motherhood. Plus, a healthy diet in conjunction with regular exercise means the weight may come off even faster. Check out our high-intensity; it’s designed to help you burn calories and build muscle so you can get your pre-baby body back ASAP.
1. Your cupboards are bare-who has time to shop?
New-mom solution: “For weight-loss success, you need to be able to open your cupboards, fridge or freezer and find wholesome things you like to eat. But getting to the supermarket may be overly ambitious in those first few weeks with a new-born. Luckily, friends and family will likely to offer to help, so keep a running shopping list on the fridge. When someone says, “What can I do?” hand it over.
Be sure to keep these items at the top of the list: eggs, low-sodium canned beans, quinoa, nuts, oatmeal, pre-cooked rice, frozen fruits and vegetables, and frozen salmon. All deliver maximum nutrition for minimum effort. If you decide to tackle the shopping yourself, lower your dinner expectations.
2. Your diet is beige.
New-mom solution: Soon enough you’ll be imploring your toddler to eat a rainbow every day (think red strawberries, green beans and yellow squash), but that’s often tough to accomplish as a new mom. “Beige” foods like crackers, potato chips and granola bars are easy to grab but often lead to overindulgence. “I call them ‘dry foods. “They don’t have water or fibre, so they’re not filling.” To eat fewer calories and model good behavior, get in the habit of choosing colorful fruits and vegetables, which are naturally packed with water and fibre.
Frozen fruits and vegetables can help save time in the kitchen. Or, try freeze-dries varieties, says pediatric dietitian. “They’re shelfstable, satisfyingly crunchy and nutritionally superior to traditional dries fruits. She also recommends one beige food-almonds. “They are high in fiber and healthy fats, to keep you feeling full longer,” she says. Plus, research has shown that almonds can help increase your milk supply if you’re nursing.
3.You don’t drink. Water, that is.
New-mom solution: Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so if you’re not hydrated you may eat more than you should. Increasing potassium and reducing sodium in addition to drinking more water. Snack on half of a banana, add some avocado to your lunch, or sip coconut water while nursing – all three are high in potassium. To ensure you get the water you need, here’s a simple formula: “Take your current weight in pounds, divide it in half, and that’s roughly how many ounces you should drink over the course of a day.” (For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water, or roughly nine 8-ounce glasses.) You can also “eat” your water by consuming juicy fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon or cucumber.
Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re nursing. “You must replace the fluid contained in the milk your baby drinks”. “If you don’t, you may have trouble metabolizing and digesting the food you eat and you’ll increase your risk for constipation.”
4. You’re so focused on the baby, you ignore your own hunger pangs.
New-mom solution: Waiting to eat until you’re ravenous means you’ll likely overdo it. “Set an alarm to go off every fours hours during the day, so you don’t wind up running on empty”. Why four hours? You may not be hungry for three hours after a full meal, but waiting five is pushing it.
If it’s not mealtime when the alarm goes off, eat a 200-calories snack that includes carbohydrates and protein. “Carbs provide energy to the brain and muscles, while protein helps you feel satisfied.” Half of a whole-wheat pita pocket stiffed with 3 ounces of chunk light tuna plus lettuce and tomato, or an apple and celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
5. You’re not eating enough
New-mom solution: Now is not the time to cut too many calories-or entire food groups-in hopes of speeding up weight loss. “A drastic calorie reduction won’t allow for getting enough nutrients. “This can result in fatigue (as if you need more of that!), greater susceptibility to colds and flu, as well as cosmetic effects, like hair loss and dull skin.” Most nursing moms need 2,000 to 2,300 calories total per day-and no fewer than 1,800. If you’re not breastfeeding, aim for 1,200 to 1,500 high-quality calories a day.
6. You avoid foods because you’re nursing.
New-mom solution: It’s an old wives’ tale that you shouldn’t eat cruciferous vegetables or spicy foods because they might upset your baby’s digestion. Deprive yourself of these foods and you lose two helpful weight-loss tools. Cruciferous, vegetables, such as broccoli, fill you up for very few calories, while spices add loads of flavor with no calories at all. Plus, nursing moms especially need extra calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and folic acid. By cutting out specific foods, you may miss out on some of those nutrients. If it seems like last night’s B6-rich cauliflower didn’t sit well with baby, It’s most likely coincidence. Wait a week and try again.
Another commonly avoided food group is dairy. Low-fat versions are a terrific source of lean, satiating protein, so if milk and cheese in your diet seem to distress your baby, try yogurt. Its lower lactose levels will make yoghurt less bothersome to your baby, but you’ll still get the calcium you need. (You should continue to take your prenatal vitamin to fill in any gaps in your nutrition.)
7. You’re too pooped to plan and prepare healthy (and delicious) dinners.
New-mom solution: Save time (and nap more) by posting these simple, nutritious meal ideas on the fridge for weeknight inspiration. Each recipe serves two.
Egg and spinach scramble Scramble 4 eggs with 1 cup of thawed frozen spinach and 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese. Serve with 2 slices of whole-wheat toast.
Pasta salad Cook 4 ounces of whole-wheat pasta and add 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables for the last few minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain and toss with olive oil, vinegar and grated Parmesan cheese.
Bean and vegetable burrito Fill 2 of whole-wheat tortillas with 1/2 cup of canned beans, 1 cup of shredded vegetables and 1/4 cup of low-fat cheese. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes, until heated through. Serve with salsa.
Spicy legumes and greens In a large nonstick skillet, heat a minced clove of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add 2 cups of frozen kale, 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained) and a splash of chicken or vegetable broth. Simmer, then serve over couscous or brown rice.
Tuna salad Mix 1 can of tuna (chunk is lower in mercury) with 1 can of white beans (rinse and drained), finely chopped red onion, olive oil and lemon juice. Serve with grape tomatoes on top of bagged salad greens.