As a nutritionist specializing in women’s health, one of the most common complaints of my new-momma clients is they are too tired and too busy with their new baby to eat. Babies, while adorable, tend to be more work than we bargain for. But we still need to ensure we are getting enough calories, protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals for both ourselves and our growing babies. These are some strategies that my clients have found to be the most helpful during this transitional time.
- Cook meals in advance, especially during your nesting stage before the baby arrives. This is also a good strategy when you have a babysitter for an afternoon. That way you can catch a nap and throw a few things into a crockpot and make a double batch low maintenance meal. Fill your freezer with healthy soups, stews, pasta sauce, chili, curry, muffins, mini frittata “cupcakes”, casseroles and other go-to meals and snacks that you can heat up with minimal effort. Enlist your family and friends in this effort too- they really want to help you so please let them. You do NOT have to do everything by yourself!
- Keep easy nutrient-rich snacks on hand that you can eat little bits as you are hungry. Eating a variety of healthy snacks can also be a tapas-style meal, so don’t feel like you can only eat specific foods at specific times. Hummus, guacamole, black bean salsa, raw veggies (and yes prewashed and precut is ok), 100% whole grain pita, hard boiled omega 3 eggs, fruit with raw nut or seed butter, a whole grain low sugar muffin, unsweetened Greek yogurt with fruit, chia seed pudding, sprouted grain toast with goat cheese and tomato or avocado, Vega or SunWarrior protein smoothies, green smoothies/juices, Lara bars, raw trail mix, or fresh fruit salad are all great choices and easy to keep on hand.
- Eat when you are hungry. It is ok to have a healthy snack when you are hungry, even if it is at an unconventional time. It is not uncommon for women to not have much of an appetite following child birth, especially in those who are recovering from a C-section. Usually the best way to manage this until your appetite naturally begins to return is by eating small frequent meals of whatever is healthfully appealing to you at the time, much like during morning sickness and late pregnancy.
- Don’t go on a diet to try to lose the baby weight right away. It is very important that you allow yourself to heal and get the nutrition necessary to nourish yourself, your baby and to replenish your nutrient stores that typically become depleted during pregnancy. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Speak with your obstetrician about the best daily multi vitamin and omega 3 supplements that are safe for you. Many women seem to tolerate whole foods multi vitamins, such as Innate or New Chapter, much better than the typical synthetic based supplements. If your fish oil is repeating on you or irritating your baby, try keeping your capsules in the freezer and taking them in the middle of bigger meals in smaller, split doses. Nordic Naturals makes excellent omega 3 supplements.
- Choose organic! Whenever possible, choose organic, natural foods for your family to limit exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified foods which may increase the risk of cancer, allergies and other terrible diseases. When starting solids, feeding your baby more fresh fruits and vegetables and less packaged foods (including jarred baby food) will reduce the risk of allergies and set your baby up with good habits and taste preferences for a long and healthy life.
Try making these easy and healthy carrot spice muffins to keep on hand for easy breakfasts and snacks. They are high in B vitamins, manganese and fiber and are a source of calcium, magnesium, iron and omega 3 while still being fairly low in sugar. Add some raw walnut butter, fresh fruit and either high protein unsweetened Greek yogurt or an omega 3 egg for a balanced breakfast to fuel your day.
4 AM Feeding Carrot Spice Muffins
4 AM Feeding Carrot Spice Muffins
1 ½ C all-purpose whole grain flour
1 ½ C Bran Buds
¼ C whole chia seeds
½ C coconut sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine Himalayan rock salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp ginger
2 large omega 3 eggs or 1 large ripe mashed banana
¼ C blackstrap molasses
1/3 C melted coconut oil
1 C high protein fat free plain Greek yogurt
½ C milk of choice
2 Tb apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder
1 C grated carrots
1 C chopped pitted medjool dates or raisins
Preheat the oven to 400°F. If using raisins, place into a small bowl and cover with boiling water to soften. Set aside to soak. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the Bran Buds, chia seeds and coconut sugar and mix well to combine. Create a well in the centre of the bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs or mashed banana, blackstrap molasses, coconut oil, yogurt, milk and apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Whisk to combine well. Stir in the dates or drained raisins and shredded carrots and stir to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
Fill lined muffin cups about three-quarters full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire cooling rack. Makes 24 muffins.
Erin Luyendyk, RHN is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Raw Chef and founder of Nutritionista, inspiring women around the world to nourish themselves sexy. She specializes in whole food, anti-inflammatory nutrition in women’s health, weight loss, metabolic syndrome and beauty foods. For more information, expert tips and healthy recipes, please visit www.thenutritionista.ca.
*This article is intended as general educational material only and should not be considered as medical or nutritional advice. Please speak with your personal physician and nutritionist before implementing any nutrition, supplement or exercise program to ensure its safety and suitability for your specific individual situation.
© 2013 Nutritionista. Erin Luyendyk RHN. All rights reserved.