Are you a new mom? Congratulations! Your level of happiness should be at its peak. But what about your energy?
It's a safe bet that you are tired, even physically and emotionally exhausted. And that's okay! After giving birth, interrupted nights of sleep and a baby who constantly demands your attention, the body's batteries are more easily depleted. This is why it is essential to have a winning diet to regain your vitality and make the most of your maternity leave.
Your energy needs after childbirth
During pregnancy, most women closely monitor the quality of their diet in order to provide their baby with the best. But know that after giving birth, your diet is just as important. When you breastfeed, the richness of your milk is influenced by what you eat.
In addition, a breastfeeding woman needs more energy, 350-400 extra calories each day. To satisfy them, eat two to three additional servings of any food group suggested by the Canada's Food Guide (for example, one more fruit and one servingextra dairy product each day). Whether you are breastfeeding or not, I recommend reviewing the Food Guide recommendations and trying to eat a nice variety of he althy foods every day.
Eat snacks as meals
Don't have the taste or the energy to prepare "real" meals? No problem! The solution is to enjoy a snack every two to three hours. By favoring he althy foods, which combine proteins and carbohydrates, you will have better physical and mental energy. This is what makes your days much more pleasant…and less stressful.
He althy snacks that boost energy
- Greek yogurt and fresh fruit.
- A toast with almond butter, accompanied by a glass of milk.
- Crackers and cheese.
- Canned avocado and salmon.
- A hard-boiled egg with raw vegetables. Note that soft-boiled eggs, in their shells, can be kept for seven days in the fridge. Make ahead, and bake a few for the week.
- A nutritious smoothie, made with dairy products or a vegetable drink, fruit and/or vegetables, nuts or nut butter, etc.
- A glass of chocolate milk and pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Dried fruits and nuts.
- A banana coated with hemp seeds.
- Baby carrots with tofu dip or hummus.
Ask for help
With a newborn at home, the urge to prepare elaborate meals for the rest of the family is rarely there. This is why the watchword from now on is SIMPLICITY! Forget the 20-ingredient recipes and above all forget the need to be the perfect mom and wife.
As long as you feel the need, take it easy and go easy. To do this, first ask your spouse to help you. He doesn't cook? Make him do the grocery shopping, ask him to bring sushi for supper, save him the dishes to wash. If your financial means allow it, hire a catering service to help you out. Otherwise, I'm sure your mum or your mother-in-law will be happy to cook you some small dishes from time to time.
And when I say simplicity, I'm referring to meals that cook quickly, taste good, and are he althy. For example, a vegetable omelet, whole-wheat pasta with pesto and chickpeas, fish and vegetable foil cooked in the oven or on the barbecue, store-bought vegetable soup enhanced with cubes or tofu or edamame, etc. When you spend time in the kitchen, be efficient by having leftovers to freeze. In other words, make more, double your recipes, then freeze. Muffins, soups, spaghetti sauce and cooked rice are some examples of convenience foodswhich keep very well in the freezer.
Drink more water, it's your ally against fatigue
Drinking water is not a substitute for a good night's sleep, but since these are only a dream for the moment, other strategies are needed! However, did you know that dehydration can result in fatigue? So be sure to drink enough water, especially if you are breastfeeding. A good trick is to keep a pitcher of water near your nursing place and drink it every time you breastfeed your baby. If you're not breastfeeding, leave your pitcher lying around on the kitchen table. The goal is to drink about 1.5 liters of water a day.
Bet on “anti-fatigue” nutrients
A well-balanced diet is the key to explosive well-being. That said, a deficiency in certain nutrients, such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, increases fatigue. So be sure to include these foods on your menu regularly, especially if you lost a lot of blood during childbirth.
Iron: meat, legumes, organ meats, dark green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B12: foods of animal origin such as poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products.
Folic acid: liver, brewer's yeast, spinach, watercress, wheat germ, nuts.
My personal thing? After the birth of my children, to enrich my diet with iron, I improved my recipes with baby cereals enriched withiron. Not seen or known in muffins, pancakes, banana cake, etc. Something I've kept to this day!
By Julie DesGroseilliers, Dt. P.
Nutritionist and spokesperson for the I love 5 to 10 a day campaign