Being a new mother is far from easy. It involves endless nights without sleep, messy diaper situations, and an ever-growing list of tasks. However, don’t forget that you are amazing and deserve to feel that way! One effective method to achieve this is by emphasizing your well-being through nutrition and exercise. The advantages are plentiful: heightened energy levels, improved mood and immunity, reduced stress, and even enhanced cognitive abilities. What’s more, you’ll be setting a wonderful example for your little one. So, let’s start on a journey towards a happier and healthier version of yourself with our nutrition tips for new moms!
Protein Power: The Building Block of a Healthy Mom
New moms have higher protein needs than non-pregnant women, thanks to the demands of breastfeeding and the recovery process.
- Protein: New moms need about 70-100 grams of protein per day to support their recovery and maintain their milk supply. Lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds are all great sources.
- Healthy fats: New moms need about 30-40% of their calories from healthy fats, which can help with brain development and mood. Avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds are great sources.
- Iron: Breastfeeding can deplete iron stores, so it’s important for new moms to get enough iron. Lean meats, beans, dark leafy greens, and iron-fortified cereals are good sources.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for bone health and immune function, and it’s often deficient in new moms. Sources include fatty fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cereals.
- Calcium: Helps support bone health and lactation, and can be found in dairy products, leafy greens, and some fortified foods.
- B vitamins: Help support energy levels and metabolism, and can be found in whole grains, nuts, legumes, and meat.
- Magnesium: Important for bone health, muscle function, and sleep, and can be found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Support brain development and reduce inflammation, and can be found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. ADVICE ABOUT EATING FISH (PDF): https://www.fda.gov/media/102331/download
- Folate (vitamin B9): Important for fetal development, and can be found in leafy greens, legumes, and fortified cereals.
- Choline: Helps support brain development, and can be found in eggs, meat, and dairy products.
- Potassium: Important for maintaining fluid balance and muscle function, and can be found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
- Zinc: Supports immune function and wound healing, and can be found in meat, legumes, and nuts.
Here are some easy-to-use examples of protein-packed foods:
- Yogurt: One cup provides nearly 20 grams of protein and is a great base for smoothies or a quick snack.
- Eggs: A scrambled or boiled egg is a convenient and filling source of protein.
- Chicken or turkey: Grill up some lean chicken or turkey for a quick and easy meal.
- Beans and lentils: Plant-based sources of protein that are inexpensive and versatile.
- Nuts and nut butter: A handful of almonds or a smear of peanut butter can help you hit your protein goals.
New Moms; Here are some tips:
- Make protein a priority at every meal. Aim for at least 20-30 grams of protein at each meal.
- Pair protein with fiber-rich carbs, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This will help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
- Drink plenty of water! Aim for at least 8 glasses a day. Staying hydrated helps with energy levels and digestion.
- Don’t be afraid to snack! Some protein-packed snacks include hummus and veggies, cottage cheese and fruit, or a protein shake.
- If you’re short on time, meal prep can be a lifesaver! Make a big batch of protein-packed meals on the weekend and freeze them for easy weekday meals.
Simple recipes that can be prepared within 30 minutes with easily found ingredients
keep in Mind Our Nutrition Tips for New Moms
- Sheet pan fajitas: Slice up bell peppers, onions, and chicken breast, toss with fajita seasoning, and bake on a sheet pan for 20 minutes. Serve with tortillas, salsa, and avocado.
- Black bean tacos: Heat a can of black beans, mash with some taco seasoning, and serve in warm tortillas with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
- Salmon with roasted vegetables: Toss some veggies (like asparagus, bell peppers, and zucchini) in olive oil and roast in the oven while you pan-sear a salmon fillet. Super simple and packed with protein and nutrients.
- Turkey burgers: Mix ground turkey with some diced onion, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce, form into patties, and cook on the stove or grill.
- Quick skillet pasta: Cook some chicken breast in a skillet, add some jarred marinara sauce, and toss with cooked pasta for a 15-minute meal.
- Chicken and vegetable stir fry: Sauté chicken and veggies in a wok or large skillet, add some stir fry sauce and serve over rice or quinoa.
- Chicken Caesar salad: Grill a chicken breast, chop up some romaine lettuce, add some croutons and Parmesan cheese, and drizzle with Caesar dressing. Voila – a healthy, satisfying meal.
- Turkey chili: Brown some ground turkey, add canned tomatoes, beans, and chili seasoning, and let it simmer on the stove for 20-30 minutes. Boom – dinner is served.
Tips for incorporating nutritious foods into a busy mom’s diet
Meal Planning, Batch Cooking, and Healthy Snacks
When it comes to nutrition, moms have a lot on their plates (pun totally intended!). Between work, taking care of the kids, and trying to stay healthy themselves, it can be tough to find the time and energy to prepare nutritious meals. But fear not! With some planning and creativity, eating healthy as a busy mom is totally doable. In this section, we’ll dive into practical tips and tricks for incorporating nutritious foods into a busy mom’s diet. From meal planning to creative leftovers, let’s explore how moms can nourish themselves and their families without sacrificing taste or convenience.
- Meal planning is key! Spend some time at the beginning of each week to plan your meals and create a grocery list. This will help you stay organized and ensure you have all the ingredients you need.
- Let’s continue with these tips:
- Batch cooking is your new BFF! Cook large batches of healthy staples like rice, quinoa, beans, and roasted veggies and store them in the fridge or freezer. This will give you a head start on meal prep and make healthy eating a breeze.Healthy snacks are a must! Keep healthy snack options like fruits, nuts, yogurt, and hummus on hand to keep you fueled between meals.Packing a lunch is a lifesaver! Skip the fast food and vending machine junk by packing a nutritious lunch to take to work or on errands. It’s not only healthier but also more cost-effective. Creative leftovers are where it’s at! Use leftovers to create new meals like soups, salads, sandwiches, or wraps. This not only cuts down on food waste but also adds variety to your meals.
- Meal prep Sundays! Spend a couple of hours on Sundays prepping meals and snacks for the week ahead. Chop veggies, cook grains, and portion out meals, so you can just grab and go when you’re in a rush.
- Smoothies for the win! Smoothies are an easy and tasty way to pack in some fruits and veggies. Freeze fruit in advance, and you can whip up a smoothie in no time.
- Snack swaps are your secret weapon. Swap out processed snacks like chips and cookies for healthier options like roasted chickpeas, fruit leather, or nut butter on apple slices. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you!
Ideas for workouts that are safe and effective for new moms
- Walking is king! Taking a brisk walk is a great way to get moving without putting too much strain on your postpartum body. It also gives you some much-needed “me time” while getting those steps in. For walking, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity walking most days of the week. You can break it up into shorter chunks if it’s easier. And don’t forget to bring along a supportive bra and comfy shoes!
- Yoga is a Zen master! Low-impact yoga poses can help stretch out tight muscles and improve flexibility, while also providing some serious stress-busting benefits. Start with basic poses like child’s pose, downward dog, and cat-cow. Focus on your breath, and don’t overdo it – listen to your body and stop if anything feels uncomfortable. Bonus article for you:
- Strength training is the queen of the castle! Starting with low-weight, high-rep exercises can help build muscle strength and endurance, while also boosting your mood and energy levels. Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting a strength training program postpartum. For strength training, begin with bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups. Progress to using light weights or resistance bands as you get stronger. Remember to prioritize proper form over weight or reps. Bonus article for you:
Here are a few reliable online resources:
- For walking:
- The American Heart Association has a great guide for starting a walking routine: heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/walking-for-a-healthier-life
- For yoga:
- Yoga with Adriene is a popular YouTube channel with beginner-friendly yoga videos: youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene
- For strength training:
- Bodyweight exercises on Healthline: healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/bodyweight-exercises
- Weight training basics on the Mayo Clinic website: mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/weight-training/art-20045842
- Diet considerations for breastfeeding mothers: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html
All of these resources are free and created by reputable organizations or fitness experts.
Here are a few more options to consider:
- Pilates: Low-impact and great for core strength and flexibility. There are tons of free online videos or you can find a local class.
- Swimming: A low-impact, full-body workout that’s easy on the joints. Plus, it’s a great stress reliever. Most community centers or gyms have pools that are open to the public.
- Dance: Not only is it fun, but it also improves coordination, flexibility, and endurance. You can find beginner dance classes online or at a local dance studio.
- DANCE TUTORIALS FOR BEGINNERS
All of these are great alternatives that can be done at home or in a group setting and can be tailored to any fitness level.
- Hiking: A great workout that takes you outside and into nature. Start with easy trails and build up to more challenging ones as you get stronger.
- Cycling: Another low-impact workout that’s easy on the joints. You can do it outdoors or on a stationary bike. Bonus points if you cycle to work or errands!
- Martial arts: A fun and challenging workout that improves strength, flexibility, and coordination. There are many different styles to choose from, including karate, taekwondo, and kickboxing. You can find classes at local gyms or martial arts studios.
Here are some simple but less known tricks to keep you on track :
- Visualize your success: Imagine yourself achieving your fitness goals and crushing your workouts. This can help you stay motivated and focused.
- Find a workout buddy: Working out with a friend can make it more fun and hold you accountable. Plus, you can motivate each other to push harder.
- Set small, achievable goals: Instead of trying to lose 20 pounds in a month, start with a goal of losing 1-2 pounds a week. This will help you stay motivated and avoid getting discouraged.
- Celebrate small victories: Give yourself a pat on the back for every workout you complete or every pound you lose. Celebrating the little things can help you stay on track.
- Make exercise a part of your routine: Set aside a specific time each day for exercise and stick to it. This will help make it a habit and less likely to be skipped.
- Find an activity you enjoy: If you’re not enjoying your workouts, you’re less likely to stick with them. Try different activities until you find one that you love.
- Be kind to yourself: Fitness is a journey, not a destination. Don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day or slip up. Just get back on track and keep moving forward.
In summary, staying fit and healthy as a new mom is not only possible, it’s essential for your physical and mental well-being. With a combination of our nutrition tips for new moms, exercise, and self-care, you can achieve your fitness goals while taking care of your little one. Remember to prioritize yourself, make exercise a part of your routine, and find an activity you enjoy. Most importantly, be patient and kind to yourself. Every journey starts with a single step, so just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there! 🏃️