If you, your partner or someone you care about has just given birth, it’s safe to say that your/their body has gone through some immense changes. In our celebrity-oriented culture, it can seem like women who have just had a baby face tremendous pressure to get back to their pre-pregnancy body as fast as humanly possible.
But before rushing into a punishing fitness regime or curtailing calorie intake, know that right now your body requires nutritional replenishment to keep you fit and healthy. Here’s Coach Lisa’s breakdown of the nutritional needs and the best foods for postpartum recovery, as well as some simple and stress-free recipes that work as part of a diet for new moms.
You’ve come a long way
First off, take a moment to acknowledge what your body has just accomplished. It’s pretty incredible when you come to think about it. At this point it’s imperative to know what to eat after having a baby, so you can feed your body in a way that sets you up for this next stage of your life, and if you are breastfeeding also affords your child optimal nutritional support.
The importance of postpartum nutrition
When navigating nutrition post-pregnancy and if choosing to breastfeed, it’s worth bearing in mind that you will need to slightly increase your calorie consumption to maintain energy levels as well as up your protein, calcium and iron intake.
Protein for moms
Protein is a bit like Lego, it serves as your body’s building blocks. It’s the foundation for all your enzymes, hormones, and body tissue (muscle, connective, epithelial and nervous). After supporting your baby’s growth for 9 months and producing protein-rich breast milk, it’s necessary to replenish your own reserve.
Sources: Aim for five to seven servings of protein every day of high-quality (organic if possible) red meat, chicken, seafood, beans, eggs, soy, and/or legumes. Two great recipes from 8fit app are our Lentil Tacos and Breakfast On-The-Go.
Meeting your calcium needs
Calcium keeps our heart pumping, muscles functioning, and nerves signalling. It is stored in our bones and teeth where it supports their structure.
Sources: Great sources of calcium include dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), green leafy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, kale), and soy products like tofu. Funny enough, fish where you can eat the bones, is an exceptionally calcium-rich food. Try out our mouthwatering Salmon Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing and Chickpea Harvest Salad.
Importance of iron
This essential mineral is responsible for the creation of new blood cells. It’s common to experience iron-deficiency (anemia) both during and after pregnancy. When pregnant your body requires larger volumes of red blood cells to transport nutrients and oxygen to the baby in-utero, while considerable amounts of blood are lost during delivery.
Sources: Find iron in red meat, tofu, beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens. We have iron-packed meals for both those who enjoy meat with our Steak and Garlic Kale recipe as well as those who follow a more a plant-based diet with our Vegetable & Egg Bowl.