If you’re a mom, you are tired. I’ve come to realize this fact the hard way. Recently I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I envisioned a quiet baby, singing songs and being energized by the sheer joy of motherhood. The other day I was so tired, I wore my slippers out of the house.
As moms it’s important we find ways (other than caffeine) to stay energized and awake so we can do all the stuff that is required of us. A healthy diet is the perfect way to maintain our stamina and keep up with all of our bundles of joy.
Eating regularly scheduled, balanced meals, especially breakfast, is the number one way to help maintain our energy throughout the day. I know: you’ve heard this before. But trust me, it works. Consuming healthy meals and snacks provide both energy and satiety to help fight fatigue and keep us mentally alert (think how you want to fall asleep after a greasy pizza lunch).
Because time is a rare commodity, I stock my pantry/fridge with the essentials, so I can throw together healthy meals in no time. Healthy, balanced meals contain 3 out of 4 food groups and can also include a source of healthy unsaturated fat (avocado, canola oil, nuts, margarine, 5 oz serving of fatty fish such as salmon, char, herring or trout for those Omega-3s).
I know what you’re thinking: if I don’t have time to eat, how will I plan my meals? This activity doesn’t take that long, and is really about having the proper ingredients on hand so you can throw together a meal when you have time. Concentrating on meals that are assembled with healthy ingredients and don’t require long cooking times and/or lengthy recipes is key (e.g. turkey, whole grain bread and lettuce; yogurt, berries and granola; broccoli, salmon and brown rice are easy meal suggestions). Havinga variety of healthy ingredients on hand enables you to assemble different combinations of 3 food groups depending on what you feel like.
If I have time for snacks, they include 2 out of the 4 food groups. Even if I can’t get to my snacks, properly balanced meals help me feel fuller, longer and provide me with the energy I need.
For new moms who are breastfeeding (and for women in general) it’s important to make sure you get enough folic acid, calcium and iron from your food choices. This shouldn’t be a problem for women consuming a well-balanced diet that includes all 4 food groups. If you aren’t consuming these food sources on a regular basis, then you may need a multivitamin or a pre/post natal supplement. Always consult with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements to your diet.
Most of all, don’t stress. Have fun with it, make it easy and involve your kids (if they eat solids) in helping to plan and prepare your meals. Once you see how easy it is you’ll be off to the races. Literally!
Samara Foisy is a registered dietitian with a Masters in Health Science from the University of Toronto and has been practising since 2006.