Happy Wednesday friends! If you are just joining the Losing The Baby Weight series welcome!
Here are the topics that have previously been covered:
Wednesday, June 12: Pregnancy & Exercise
Wednesday, June 19: What To Expect After You Deliver
Wednesday, June 26: The First Six Weeks
Wednesday, July 3: Nutrition
Good nutrition after delivery is so much more important than during your pregnancy. Please don’t misunderstand. I am a huge advocate for eating a nutrient rich diet during pregnancy. Your diet after pregnancy directly impacts the quality of your breast milk and how quickly you recover from childbirth. Regardless of if you are breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fats, with as little sugar as possible is going to increase your success with losing the baby weight.
Complex Carbohydrates vs. Simple Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates take a little longer to digest, are high in fiber, more satisfying, and they don’t raise the sugar levels in the blood as quickly as simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates act as the body’s fuel, and they contribute significantly to energy production and have a higher nutritional value than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are commonly found in whole plant based foods and are high in vitamins and minerals. Most people should consume between 40-60% of total calories from carbohydrates with the majority being complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates include:
- Green vegetables
- Whole grains and foods made from them, such as oatmeal, pasta, and whole-grain breads
- Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin
- Beans, lentils, and peas
Helpful Hint: Consume foods that are high in fiber to improve your digestive health, lower cholesterol, and improve blood sugar levels. Adults need between 20-30 grams of fiber daily.
Simple carbohydrates will cause your blood sugar to spike and can leave you feeling tired. No new mama wants to feel this way. Most simple carbohydrates contain few nutrients (fruit and milk being an exception) and are often called “empty calories”.
Avoid these simple carbohydrates:
- Table sugar
Helpful Hint: Make sure you are getting enough nutrients and not just more calories while you are breastfeeding your baby.
Enjoy moderate sized portions of these simple carbohydrates:
- Milk and Milk Products
Protein & Fats
For a 14-70+ year old woman the Recommend Dietary Intake for protein is 46 grams per day. For lactating woman add an additional 25 grams. If you eat meat daily there is a good chance you are already consuming the correct amount. If you are vegetarian or vegan you can supplement your diet with a plant based protein as needed, keep reading for more information on supplements. Lentils, kidney beans, peanuts, and sunflower seeds are just a few sources of plant based protein.
Helpful Hint: Once your body gets the amount of protein it needs, it converts the rest to energy, and if you already have enough energy, it is converted to fat. High amounts of protein can also deplete calcium stores in the body leading to osteoporosis.
Not all fat is bad. In fact our bodies need between 20-35% of our total calories consumed to come from fats in order to properly function. Stock up on avocados, nut butters, olive oil, walnuts, and fish. Avocados can easily be added to sandwiches, salads, smoothies, or can be eaten by themselves for a quick snack. Stay away from chicken with the skin on, anything that comes in a wrapper, fried foods, and candy bars.
Dairy & Sugar
If you are looking to lose weight try eliminating dairy and sugar from your diet. Hey, I never said it would be easy, but this elimination method is a tried and true way to shed a few pounds. Plus this will have no adverse affect on your milk supply if you are still nursing.
There were several moms I spoke with prior to delivering Caden that mentioned that they had eliminated dairy products from their diets because it caused their babies to have upset tummies. After hearing this I cut out most dairy products from my diet while I was still pregnant. I didn’t typically drink cows milk so only using almond milk was not a huge deal. Cheese on the other hand was a little harder but after two weeks I didn’t miss it.
Helpful Hint: Use nutritional yeast to add a cheesy flavor to salads and taco’s. Read more on nutritional yeast later.
Excess amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain and cause you to feel overly tired after the initial sugar rush has passed. I suggest slowly weaning sugar out of your diet. Sodas and candy should be the first things to go. Baked goods such as cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and pastries while tempting are not going to fuel your body for the long haul.
Helpful Hint: Try a KIND Bar. The Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt only has 5 grams of sugar in it! Much better than the 24 grams of sugar in a two Twix cookie bars. Yikes!
Grocery Shopping Must Haves
Unsweetened Vanilla Silk and Dark Chocolate Almond Milk | KIND Bars | Spinach | Oats | Eggs | Gluten Free Pretzels| Avocados | Peanut Butter | Chia Seeds | Emergen-C
Set yourself up for success by always keeping several key items stocked in your pantry and fridge. I love all these items because they can easily be used to create several quick and easy meal or snack options ranging from smoothies, salads, omelets, and oatmeal.
Helpful Hint: Plan ahead of time. Stock up on key items. Failure to plan is planning to fail.
You can find key items that we keep stocked in our home on the Buschel Family Grocery Shopping List HERE. This is not an exhaustive list but does have our most used purchases. We try to keep these items always on stock for meals, juicing, snacks, and desserts.
Do Breastfeeding Mama’s Need Extra Calories?
Honestly this could be a separate post but I think it is important to share this information with the nutrition section because if you are a breastfeeding mama what you eat is important not just for you but also for your baby. If you have ever nursed a little baby you know how common it is to feel hungry all the time. I do mean all the time.
God designed our bodies in an amazing way. By paying attention to those hunger cues your body is sending you and going to grab a meal or a snack you will usually be able to consume the correct amount of calories your body needs. Now if for some reason you are gaining weight or seem to be losing weight at a rapid pace you may need to begin counting calories.
Most nursing mama’s need to consume 1800-2200 calories a day. This can vary depending on your activity level, weight, and what types of food you eat. If you do not know how many calories you should be consuming everyday use this caloric intake calculator to assist you. Once you have established your baseline add 300-500 calories if you are exclusively breastfeeding. This amount is the equivalent to adding in 1-2 nutrient rich snacks or a small meal.
Helpful Hint: Add 300-500 calories each day if you are exclusively breastfeeding. This should only increase by about 100-200 calories from where you were your third trimester.
If you are not exclusively nursing your calorie intake will be different from a mama who is only feeding her baby breast milk. For those mama’s who have a low body mass index you will need to consume more calories to establish your milk supply. Staying hydrated is important and it is recommended that nursing mothers drink 13.1 liters or 13 cups of fluid a day compared to 2.2 liters or 9 cups recommend for non pregnant or breastfeeding women.
I made sure to have easy to eat snacks on hand so that in the first six weeks every time I nursed Caden I ate as well. Apple slices, assortment of veggie sticks, peanut butter and fruit spread sandwiches, smoothies, and KIND bars were my go to snacks during this time.
Helpful Hint: Freeze meals ahead of time. Did you know you can freeze sandwiches? It might sound odd but it works and is super easy to take one out an hour before you will nurse so you have something to snack on. I also made a ton of bean burrito’s with a variety of veggies and froze about 2 dozen of them at a time. They were great for a ready to heat meal.
Continuing to take your prenatal vitamin after delivery is highly encouraged. This ensures that you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals into your system. As mom’s we need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our family.
If you are a vegetarian your breast milk will be missing vitamin b12. The body needs this vitamin to make blood cells and maintain a healthy nervous system. Nutritional yeast is a great supplement for you and your baby (make sure to check with your pediatrician before introducing anything new to your child’s diet). Nutritional yeast can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or salads. It has a bit of a cheesy flavor, but nothing strong enough to alter the taste of your food, and looks almost like fish food flakes.
As far as other supplements I always err on the side of caution. For those of you who take a protein, meal replacement powder, or any other supplement I highly encourage you to research all the ingredients on the label. Be smart with what you put in your body. There are several top selling soy based proteins on the market that contain soy protein in its isolated form. Again I could write an entire post on this topic but for now check out Dr. Mercola’s website to read about the Newest Research on the Dangers of Soy.
Helpful Hint: Try Vega, Garden of Life, or Sunwarrior Protein for a safe non-soy plant based protein. If you are new to plant based protein I suggest Vega because it taste great with just water. Garden of Life and Sunwarrior are awesome also, but if you have never had plant based protein you will most likely want to drink these as a smoothie.
Juice Cleanse, Detoxing, & Diets
I am sure by now most everyone has seen the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. There are so many amazing benefits to juicing and to doing a juice cleanse. Weight loss, improved skin, boosted energy levels, and allowing the body to detox and rid itself of toxins. They are awesome! But…
If you are breastfeeding or pregnant a juice cleanse is not recommended and can cause harm not only to yourself but also to your baby. When you do a juice cleanse it causes the body to have a sudden release of toxins and overloads the body. This toxin release and restricted calories negatively impacts the breast milk quality and quantity. Save the juice cleanse until after you are done breastfeeding but feel free to enjoy a daily green juice along with your other snacks and meals.
Helpful Hint: For those who have finished breastfeeding and are interested in doing a juice cleanse I recommend visiting Reboot with Joe and Fitlife.tv. Both have awesome and free recipe plans to follow.
Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, HCG. These are just several of the popular diets available to assist you in losing weight. While I know that there are many who have had immediate success with these diets the longterm sustainability of the results are questionable. Diets in general tend lack variety and fail to be balanced. I caution any woman who is currently breastfeeding to think carefully about dieting and to speak with their doctor. Dieting and restricting calories can have a devastating effect on a lactating mothers milk supply.
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog! I hope I was able to answer a few of your questions about nutrition. For those who asked about recipes I am going to direct to my Mom’s blog Deliciously Inspired. She creates amazing and yummy dishes in her kitchen and I am fortunate enough to be able to sample the majority of them. To easily search her recipes follow her on Pinterest HERE.
Stay tuned for more on this series next week! Let me know if there are any other topics you would like covered.