By: Nazima Qureshi
As you welcome a new addition to your life, alongside the joy, you will undoubtedly experience low energy, aches, and pains. After being pregnant for 9 months and going through labour and delivery, your body has gone through significant changes. Especially if you are breastfeeding, you are continuing to share nutrients with your baby. While you may not be able to control the amount of sleep you get as a mom of a baby, you can include certain foods to give you a boost of energy and important nutrients your body requires.
I gave birth to a baby girl 2.5 months ago and also have a 2.5-year-old toddler. You can only imagine how hectic my day can get! However, I have found that on the days I am more prepared to eat healthier, I feel much more energized and more in balance.
Eating healthier in the weeks and months after giving birth can set you up for better energy levels and even help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight in a safe manner.
While many South Asian women focus on the first “40 days” after giving birth, taking extra care of yourself for the first 6 months after giving birth can really help you feel better overall.
I am a strong believer in combining South Asian cultural knowledge with western nutrition knowledge for optimal postpartum recovery.
Here are 5 things you should be eating after giving birth:
- Bone broth
My mother and my mother in law make bone broth for me in the days and weeks following my birth. While this may have been around Desi families for quite a while, bone broth is also becoming a trendy superfood.
One of the benefits you get from the bones is collagen, which is a protein found in your skin, hair, nails, and joints. While more research is needed, some benefits of bone broth may be improving digestive health, boosting your immune system, reducing inflammation, and strengthening your joints from the collagen. You want to make sure the broth is made from high-quality organic bones for most nutrition benefit since a lot of the toxin such as heavy metals can be stored in animal bones.
You may have had panjeri made for you after giving birth, which is a combination of nuts and seeds. If you don’t have panjeri, having a variety of nuts during the postpartum period can be beneficial as well.
Nuts provide healthy fats and protein, providing you with a good source of energy and helping you feel full between feeds. Keep a variety of nuts by your bedside for late night feeding sessions to prevent you from snacking on processed foods when the hunger kicks in. Make baggies of 20 nuts each so that you don’t overeat in one sitting. Look for unsalted nuts to keep sodium levels low. Try a variety of nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios.
- Fresh Fruit
Visitors for the baby usually mean lots of treats! While it may feel great to indulge occasionally, eating processed foods high in sugar and fat don’t provide much beyond good taste. You will likely get hungry shortly after with low energy levels.
Instead, try having fresh fruit to satisfy that sweet tooth so that you can also get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Now that is what will make you feel a lot better on minimal sleep! For the most nutrition benefit and for a better taste, look for fruit that is in season. Pomegranate and persimmons are in season during the winter while berries and melons are in season during the summer.
When you are going from nap time to nap time, it can be hard to find time to eat a balanced meal. Smoothies are a great option to get in nutrients from a variety of food, and can be easily enjoyed with a straw instead of having to sit and eat from a plate. If you use the right combination of ingredients, you can make a smoothie that will leave you feeling satisfied. Try my Pineapple Spinach Smoothie that is packed with protein, healthy fat, iron, vitamin C, and fibre:
Pineapple Spinach Smoothie
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
Add to a blender, mix until smooth, and enjoy!
Water can easily become the last thing you think of when you are taking care of your baby. Although every woman may have varying water requirements to stay hydrated, you should be drinking at least 8-10 cups a day. If you are breastfeeding, you may find yourself really thirsty throughout the day. Avoid sugary beverages and instead, keep a water bottle with you so you can sip on water throughout the day. For a more refreshing beverage, infuse your water with cucumbers, mint, berries, or lemon.
It is no doubt that motherhood is challenging, but including these items in your day can help you feel energized and more prepared to tackle that long day ahead of you.
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