I don’t know about you, but when a woman is pregnant, EVERYONE seems to be worried about her nutrition. Don’t drink alcohol, drink lots of water, eat healthy, supplement, sleep, don’t stress…
Yes, these are all extremely valid advice bits to make sure you’re providing the best of the best for the little human you’re working so hard to grow. And we need to be careful, because fetuses are nature’s most incredible parasites. They will draw all of the nutrients from your body, before they go without what they need. Which is why we need to be so careful in taking care of our own nutrition!
On that note, the following list is not about me telling you what you need to be doing and not doing, but about helping you find the best balance for you, in a real life setting!
Here are 8 tips that I found incredibly important to keep up my own sanity, when it came to nutrition:
1. To care for your bundle of joy, take care of you first.
We are often so incredible careful about our bodies when we’re growing our little ones (multi-vitamins, balanced meals, cut down/stopping smoking/alcohol, exercise etc. ), but as soon as they are welcomed into the world, we go back to our known habits!
As a new mom (or second or third or fourth time mom), you total sleep and quality is down, you’re taking care of everyone and fulfilling their needs, and often not eating enough, or very healthy! You may feel fried. I know I sure as heck did.
The best way to care for your family, and accomplish everything you need to, is to care for you first. And when you exercise sufficiently, you’ll have more energy, feel better about yourself, and grow stronger as your little one grows bigger!
So make sure you take breaks and do something for yourself, and work in 3 bouts of half hour exercise adventures each week (ideally 5 bouts/week will give you the best benefit, but we’ll have to start somewhere!).
2. Plan, and don’t skip meals!
Whether you skip meals because you’re trying to lose those last few stubborn pounds, or you just can’t find time to make yourself a decent meal, DON’T. Let’s see what happens when you do:
- Your blood sugar drops. You’ll start feeling unwell and tired. Your body messages your brain to find SUGAR! And you’ll probably end up snacking on unhealthy stuff, or overeating when you finally do eat!
- Your body shifts into starvation mode. Your metabolism drops, and the energy you do take in isn’t burned very effectively and conserved as fat.
- Your brain becomes wonky. You’ll be foggy, moody and irritable.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals, and plan ahead!
3. If you see processed food – RUN!
Processed food (also known as convenience food) is defined as any food that have been chemically processed, and made from refined ingredients and artificial stuff. They are usually:
- Ridiculously high in sugar (the rascal behind a lot of health issues we have today; insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity etc.)
- Incredibly rewarding taste-wise (those companies are incredibly good and making their food much more tasty than what we can find in nature!), and so we eat way too much.
- So. Many. Artificial (fake). Ingredients!
- Most are low in actual, real nutrients
- High in trans fat
4. Skip the sugary stuff
- Sugar actually raises your cholesterol and can cause heart disease, not fat.
- We definitely don’t need more sugar than the amount we naturally get from our food
That’s not saying that if you have a bit of sugar in your coffee, you will drop dead, but maybe take a pass on the daily doughnut from Timmies!
5. Take a pass on pasta (and simple carbs like white rice, potatoes or white bread)
I’m going to be very honest. By the time I put my little man to bed, cleaned the house, got everything ready for the next day, and actually got a chance to breathe, making dinner was the LAST thing I wanted to do. And do you want to know what is SUPER fast to make? Pasta. And potatoes. And rice.
I would take a bowl of pasta, determined to only eat this one bucket of densely packed pasta with canned pasta sauce. Instead, I would eat the whole pot!
There are a lot more efficient and healthy ways to get the nutrients you need, that fill you up without filling you with simple carbs!
6. Make sure you get your fats! (and TONNES of veggies)
There are some awesome benefits to including healthy fats in your diet (definitely NOT trans fats!). Check them out:
- It can help boost your immune system
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Help you feel fuller longer, so that you won’t snack on those fabulously sugary snacks.
- Help balance your hormones (cholesterol, the good kind, is what estrogen and testosterone are made from). Happy hormones = easier to maintain physique
7. Water, water, water, water!!
Believe it or not, we are actually made up of 60-65% water! And we constantly lose water through sweating, urinating, and breathing. And where is water actually used in our bodies? Blood circulation, digestion, removing toxins, creating saliva and maintaining body heat.
So make sure you replace the water you lose by drinking water all day!
8. Supplementing is awesome in certain circumstances.
Make sure you have: VitD, Folate, VitB12, Iron, Calcium
What is it? Vitamin D helps maintain normal levels of calcium and phosphorus.
How to know if you’re low? Fatigue, muscle pain, weight gain, and the winter blues are some signs!
Where to find it? Fatty fish, sunlight (our bodies actually produce VitD), cheese, egg yolk
What is it for? It helps in creating red blood cells, and building protein/DNA.
How to know if you’re low? Anemia, fatigue, mouth sores
Where to find it? Beans/legumes, dark green/leafy veggies, liver, whole grains/wheat bran
What is it for? Forming DNA, and blood cell and nerve function
How to know if you’re low? Tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and anemia.
Where to find it? Animal foods (dairy, some breakfast cereals, meat, liver, clams and fortified foods)
What is it for? Growth, development, and making hemoglobin (protein to carry oxygen in your red blood cells) and myoglobin (protein the provide oxygen to muscles)
How to know if you’re low? Long-term symptoms include anemia, tiredness, lack or energy, GI upset, poor memory & concentration, and lower immune system.
Where to find it? Lean meat, seafood, poultry, iron-fortified cereals/breads, white beans, lentils, spinach, kidney beans and peas
What is it for? Maintaining strong bones and teeth, muscle movement (calcium is a crucial component of proper muscle function), nerve communication, hormone release, and blood transportation.
How to know if you’re low? Long-term effects include osteopenia (low bone mass), numbness & tingling in the fingers, convulsions & abnormal heart rhythms
Where to find it? Milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli, and soft-boned fish
These are crucial. Make sure you get them in your diet. If you struggle with filling those nutrition gaps, there are tonnes of high quality supplements you could take.
So, dear mom, be sure to find some time for yourself, to care for you!
Until next time!
Rita, here at Okanagan Peak Performance