How to Manage Healthy Eating When Baby is Priority
As a new mother it’s hard to believe that you can actually fill an entire 24 hours with feeding, changing, and trying to put baby to sleep. This leaves very little time to plan, prepare or even eat meals.
It is extremely important for a mother to keep her energy up and heal her body through good nutrition. For most of us, our priority isn’t and shouldn’t be cooking healthy meals so we need another strategy. My suggestion to new moms is to really rethink our traditional idea of food intake through the day and consider healthy snacking as sufficient for the first couple of months. This isn’t to say never have a meal. When you have time, make a healthy meal and make a ton of it so you can freeze it and have it again the following week. Focusing on snacks instead of meals just means you’re eating smaller, more frequent and more simple food throughout the day-which actually makes perfect sense if you time your eating with your babies.
Here's a two-day sample of healthy snacking based on a baby's feeding schedule. This doesn't include night feedings, but if you find yourself hungry then make extras of one of your daytime snacks and keep it by the bed at night.
7:00 AM- Oatmeal Balls (made the night before) and piece of fruit
9:00 AM – Yogurt (buy big tubs and reusable pouches-you can use them for years with your kids)
11:00 AM – Low sodium lentil soup in a coffee mug, grape tomatoes
1:30 PM – Baby carrots and hummus
4:30 PM – Trail mix with your choice of nuts, dried fruit and seeds (chocolate chips or coconut flakes are great too!)
6:30 PM – Roasted chickpeas (made during nap time or night before), fruit
8:00 PM – Green smoothie (keep extra for another day)
7:00 AM (made the night before)-hard boiled egg or breakfast muffins and fruit
9:00 AM – Avocado toast cut into squares or on petite toast
11:00 AM – Low sodium minestrone soup in a coffee mug, grape tomatoes
1:30 PM – Roasted kale chips and sliced cheese
4:30 PM – Edamame, berries
6:30 PM – Whole grain cereal, sliced apple dipped in nut butter
8:00 PM – Green smoothie (keep extra for another day-can add protein powder)
You’ll notice there is not any meat or fish in these samples. Meat and fish take more time to prepare so they were not included, but by all means I'm all for protein in those forms. To modify and include meat in your plan try time-saving ideas like buying a rotisserie chicken or prepare chicken or turkey cutlets (they come thinly sliced to make an easy finger food), or if you have a partner ask him or her to be in charge of the meat preparation for a month or two. You can do the same with fish. Try cooking it and flaking it to make patties or opt for canned tuna spread on crackers. Be careful not to get in the habit of buying too many pre-packaged or processed meats to avoid nitrates, sodium and saturated fats.
Note: These samples do not account for caloric or special dietary needs so should only be used to inspire healthy snacking.
You can get fit and healthy after baby without it being an added stressor.