Having a baby is a huge transition for you inside and out. Your body changes, your hormones change, you’re physically and emotionally drained—all before your little bundle of joy enters the world. After the baby arrives, it’s all you can do to get used to your little one and to adjust to a new, often sleepless schedule. Your energy levels take a nose dive if you’re not careful. While it may be easy to grab a quick snack here and there, it’s definitely not good for you or the baby. Nursing moms need good nutrition to keep their energy levels up and to keep themselves and baby as healthy as possible. So, how do you find time to make nutritious meals when you’re on mom duty?
The first rule is to make the time. If you’re not eating right, you run the risk of having your milk deplete, not to mention having your mental capacity fall drastically. Neither you nor your baby need to suffer from hunger. (We know. It feels like your baby is always hungry. It gets better, we promise.) Boosting your milk supply will help.
Here’s the good news. Nursing is a real workout. If you’re doing it all day long—and who isn’t—you’re burning anywhere from 400 to 600 calories just from breastfeeding. That’s better than a quick jaunt around the block. Now you see why you always feel like you’re starving. You practically are if you’re not eating right.
Here are some delicious go-to meals that are good for you, your growing baby and your energy levels:
Salmon supports your baby’s brain and retina development via breastmilk. It also gives moms a great boost with its Omega-3 fats. Yes, FATS. They’re good for you. For even more, eat grass-fed beef and bison—all the same goodness with a little more bite.
Avocado. We love this nutrient-packed delight, which can stave off hunger pangs for up to three hours. They also regulate blood sugar levels, which will help keep your mood steady. Add this delicious treat as a side dish on your dinner plate, eat it alone or roll up a no-carb tortilla with a little chicken and you’re good to go for hours. Yum!
Cucumbers and spinach are magnesium-rich gems that calm the nervous system and regulate the release of serotonin, the happy hormone, in your body. Add them to fresh salads or to your morning smoothie. Eat with hummus dip or make a cucumber sandwich.
Almonds are loaded with zinc that helps fight inflammation and keeps you healthy with its good-for-you fats. You can chop them up and eat them over plain Greek yogurt for a quick snack or add them to salads or stir-fry.
Chocolate. Yes, you can eat chocolate! Choose dark chocolate to get the most benefit. It will curb cravings, improve your mood, and decrease anxiety and depression. Drizzle chocolate over fresh fruit or in a cup of Greek yogurt or eat alone.
By Alan Freeman