Healthy eating for new mums

What to Eat When You’ve Just Had a Baby

My Top Three Tips for Busy Mums

Whether you’ve just had your first child or your fifth, you might be wondering what’s the best diet for you after you’ve given birth. What you eat will have an impact on your energy, mood, and weight; and if you’re breastfeeding, it can affect baby too. But it can be hard to eat right when you’re busy, tired, and recovering from the birth. So here are my top tips for mums who want to eat well.

Listen to the experts

If you’ve gained weight during pregnancy, the temptation will be to go onto a restrictive diet. Now is not the time for that juice cleanse you saw in a magazine. Eating plenty of healthy food and doing some moderate exercise is best for optimum health. You’ve gained the weight over a long period of time, so give yourself time to reach your goals. Even if weight isn’t a concern, it’s still important to eat well when you’re recovering from birth.

If you’d like to eat the right mix of foods, you only need to turn to the Australian Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Eating. These guidelines are developed based on scientific facts and research. That’s way more trustworthy than any fad diet you’ll find out there. They state that it is best to enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from these five food groups every day:

  • Vegetables of different types and colours, and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, polenta, couscous, oats, quinoa, and barley
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat

…And drink plenty of water.

Breastfeeding women should aim for…

  • 7 ½ serves of vegetables per day
  • 2 serves of fruit per day
  • 9 serves of wholegrains and/or cereal
  • 2 ½ serves of lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • 2 ½ serves of milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives

Try to limit your intake of…

  • Pies, sausage rolls and fried hot chips
  • Potato crisps, savoury snacks, biscuits, and crackers
  • Processed meats like salami, bacon, and sausages
  • Cakes, muffins, sweet biscuits, and muesli bars
  • Confectionary (lollies) and chocolate
  • Ice-cream and desserts
  • Cream and butter
  • Jam and honey
  • Soft drinks, cordial, energy drinks and sports drinks
  • Wine, beer, and spirits

Take care with caffeine, especially if breastfeeding as it can make babies irritable and prevent them from sleeping. You’ll also want to avoid alcohol when breastfeeding. If you do have a drink, it’s best to pump your milk after and dispose of it.

Plan ahead

Now you know the right mix of food to include in your day, you can plan some delicious and healthy meals. Include healthy snack options in your meal planning. Don’t shop when you’re hungry either. You’re more likely to buy those less healthy foods when you’re hungry.

A great tip for busy mums is to order the groceries online to be home delivered. You’re less likely to impulse buy unhealthy foods. Plus, it saves you time and you don’t have to wrangle the kids to get to the shops.

The temptation might be to pick up a stack of ready meals to save time. However, these are often lower in nutritional value, due to factory processing techniques. Don’t be fooled! UPFs or ultra-processed foods can often still be marketed as ‘fresh, healthy, light, vegan, organic’. The truth is, UPFs are poorly satiating and hyperglycaemic, meaning they give you energy peaks and troughs, blood-sugar spikes, and you need to eat larger portions to feel full.

Double the cook

It can be hard to find the time and energy to cook every day. That’s why it’s a great idea to make some meals in bulk and freeze leftover portions for later. Here are some Healthy Big Batch Recipe ideas.

I also like to cut up carrot and celery sticks and have some hummus and cheese cubes on hand for quick, easy snacking. Tubs of yogurt, quick oats and nuts are also good snack options for busy mums. Berries are great or pre-cut some fruit when you are batch cooking, for convenient snacking later.

Try to have a few of your favourite 15-minute wonders up your sleeve too. I’m talking about meals that are quick, easy to make under 15 minutes and healthy too. They don’t have to be fancy. Baked beans, wholemeal toast and egg is filling and offers slow-burning energy. What’s your favourite healthy thing to make in under 15 minutes? join the chat over on FB Have fun and happy healthy eating!

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