Nutritional therapist Nicky Duffell shows us what you should be eating post-pregnancy for optimum health
When a baby arrives the focus is often solely on the new arrival. But what about Mum? During pregnancy you’re giving all your vital nutrients to baby. Labour and childbirth further depletes your body of these nutrients, so it’s important that you start to replenish your vitamin and mineral stores as soon as possible. Here’s what you should be eating:
- Make sure you’re having lots of fruits and vegetables, ideally 7-10 portions a day. Have fruit on hand and try and make vegetables the main event of your meals. If you struggle to get these into your diet, try having a smoothie and packing it full of fruit and vegetables.
- Eat protein – it’s essential for healing, which is what you need right now. Aim to have protein with every meal; nuts, seeds, eggs, cheese, meat and fish are all great.
- Take a good quality supplement – this is a must. And if you’re breastfeeding, this is even more important as your baby will continue to use your vitamin stores.
- Drink plenty of water to make sure you’re well hydrated.
- Eat good fats. Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble vitamins which means they need fat in order to be absorbed. Fat will also give you an additional source of fuel for energy. Think avocados, nut, seeds, oily fish and perhaps a nice steak! Don’t be afraid of fat; recent research shows that fat is good for us and it’s sugar in fact that makes us put on weight (all in balance though).
- Have healthy snacks on hand – energy will be low during the early days, and it’s tempting to go for the quickest and easiest thing. But foods like cakes, biscuits, chocolate have no nutritional value and will make you feel worse in the long run. So opt for healthy snacks such as fruit with nuts, yoghurt with fruit, oatcakes with nut butter, an avocado and even wholewheat pitta bread and humous.
- Always use wholegrains such as wholewheat bread, wholegrain rice and wholegrain pasta and steer clear of white products that have little or no nutritional benefits. Wholegrains are packed full of vitamins and essentially the range of B vitamins, which are vital for energy.
- Finally, get some help in the beginning. If family or friends are offering assistance, get them to make you some food. It’s the best thing for your health and wellbeing in the early stages.