By Alison Mitchell – Naturopath
Looking after your diet when you’re expecting or just had a baby
When you’re pregnant, or have just had a baby, this is a time in your life that your nutrition is very important. You are going to be putting a lot of nutrients into growing your baby, and this is just as important when you’re breastfeeding. Not only is it important for baby, it’s also important for you.
Poor diet can make you more susceptible to stress and it can also increase your chances of developing things like post-partum depression, immune imbalances (perhaps too low or too high such as post-partum thyroiditis) and it also will affect things like your hair, skin and even your sleep.
Here are some of my favourite tips to make sure your diet is going well during this time of your life.
Make life easy for yourself by having meals and snacks prepped and ready to go. There are many ways you can do this – cook larger meals at dinner for leftover lunch tomorrow, batch cook multiple meals on the weekend for the week ahead, make batches of nutrient dense snacks a couple of times a week that you can go to when needed, and prep parts of your meals in advance.
Here’s a few ways you can do this:
- Peel and cut the vegies that you may use for a stir fry or roast dinner and put it in a container so all you need to do in the evening is cook it.
- Put all the ingredients for a smoothie in a container the night before so all you need to do is tip it into a blender and whiz up in the morning.
- Soak your chia pudding/oats/muesli the night before.
- Cut up salad vegies in separate containers in advance so all you need to do is assemble.
In addition to cooking in advance for the week ahead, start slowly putting aside some extra meals into the freezer for you to use after the baby is born. When it comes time for baby to arrive, you will be so grateful to your past self that you only have to pull these meals out of the freezer and reheat.
Plan it out.
If you are not used to meal planning this might seem a bit daunting, but you can plan your meals out for the week so you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner each day, and this makes shopping more efficient (and reduces waste of ingredients that don’t get used). Start doing some online grocery shopping while still pregnant, and save your favourite shopping lists. It will make life easier for you when baby arrives, as so much of this will be set up and ready to go. Try to include lots of leftovers in your plan. Lots of naturopaths and nutritionists sell ready-made meal plans so this can be an option if you don’t want to make a plan yourself.
Making each meal the best it can be, by making it full to the brim with vitamins, minerals and good fats means that if you can only get the chance to eat a little here and there (perhaps because you’re time poor, nauseous or something else) it means you’re getting more bang for your buck. One of the best ways to ensure you’re doing this is cooking food yourself from scratch to reduce how much nutrients get depleted during factory processing and storage life, and also to choose starting ingredients that are grown locally.
Another way to improve the nutrient density is to add ‘extras’ to your meals, such as adding unhulled tahini to a salad dressing or sauce (great source of calcium), hemp seeds to a salad (good fats), snack on nuts and seeds (protein and zinc), shred some nori seaweed sheets into salads and stews (iodine), add baby spinach to smoothies (B vitamins and magnesium) and soak lentils and legumes overnight to reduce phytic acid which helps you absorb more nutrients from them.
Even if you only do some of this, a little bit is still a great step.
Take care of yourself Mumma!
About the author:
Alison Mitchell is a Naturopath providing clinical naturopathic services, infusing traditional knowledge and modern wisdom with care and passion for her clients.
Alison is passionate about helping people reclaim their health and vitality by blending traditional healing methods with the latest research. She treat all ages, males and females and a wide variety of conditions, however she has a particular interest in women’s health, digestive, urinary, and skin conditions. She is thorough and caring in her approach, and believes in an individualized approach to treatment and diet.
For more information or to contact Alison, visit: https://www.naturopathnsw.com.au/
Locations Dural & Windsor NSW