When you’re a new mother, you’re typically dealing with a whirlwind of emotions. Exhaustion is usually at the top of the list. However, when you’re trying to figure out how you’ll manage all of your baby’s needs, you can’t forget about your own needs. This is primarily true regarding your nutrition. Consider some of the following tips when you’re navigating what optimal nutrition looks like in the midst of a new journey as a mother.
1. Incorporate Seasonal Produce
Be mindful of the produce that’s in season. Then, do your best to stock up on those items. Whether you’re picking plums and nectarines or tons of swiss chard, you’ll be able to get the most nutrients from fresh, seasonal produce. Instead of adding tomatoes to your salad, replace them with options like nectarines for a sweeter salad option. Have fun with the way you prepare your produce for a colorful yet nutrient-rich meal. Be mindful of incorporating spicy produce like jalapeno peppers as they can show up in the breast milk. While you can enjoy them, you don’t want to overdo it.
2. Utilize Easy Recipes
The easier it is to make a recipe, the more likely you’ll get it done. Choose recipes that don’t require a ton of time because you’re already working on limited energy. If you like oatmeal, make overnight oats the night before. In the morning, you can pull it out of the fridge to heat up or eat cold. If you’re struggling to get all of your greens in for the day, make a simple green smoothie. Throw a bunch of spinach in a blender along with a banana, some water and some berries for a nutritious drink that will fuel your morning.
3. Use Cooking Gadgets and Tools
Whether you’re making a multi-bean turkey chili, mashed sweet potatoes or quinoa, use tools to your advantage. Tools like a rice cooker and a slow cooker are excellent additions to your kitchen arsenal because you can pour the ingredients in, set the timer and walk away. Once the timer goes off, you can come back to a fully-cooked meal without standing over a hot stove. If you prepare a large bowl or brown rice or quinoa for the week, you’ll have a healthy grain that serves as a foundation for any meal.
4. Keep Snacks Always Available
Sometimes, you might feel like you simply need a snack to get you through the next few hours. You don’t necessarily want a full meal. There are plenty of mothers who prefer to graze on light snacks throughout the day. This is a great way to monitor calories while increasing nutritional intake. At the start of the week, purchase an array of chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, etc). Then, find a healthy dip like hummus or an olive tapenade. If you’re in the mood for something salty, find your favorite bag of chips. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, some granola or a small piece of banana bread might be great. If you are breastfeeding, there are many lactation treats available to snack on. Your snacks don’t have to be completely rigid in terms of the calories. However, when they’re nearby, it’s easier to grab in the midst of a busy day.
5. Remain Hydrated
Studies show that 90% of breastmilk is made of water. Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, hydration is essential for optimal health. One of the easiest ways to consume water quickly is through a straw. Consider purchasing a really pretty tumbler that you can fill with ice and water. Keep it near you at all times. Be sure to sip it every few minutes. You can also add some fruit or fresh herbs in order to enhance the flavor.
Another great tip involves eating foods with high water content. Cut a large watermelon into cubes. Snack on the cubes throughout the day. The same concept applies to cucumbers.
As you incorporate these tips into your daily regimen, it’s also important to give yourself some grace. Motherhood is a challenging journey to dive into. There will be a lot of questions, tears and sleepless nights. However, if you hang in there and take. your time, you’ll get the hang of how to be a great mom to your baby as you remain a good woman to yourself. By prioritizing optimal nutrition tips, you’ll be well on your way to fitting self-care into your regimen.