Surprisingly, the nutrient and calorie requirements for a new mom are higher than during pregnancy.
That’s right: an additional 200 to 300 calories a day – along with extra water – makes for super-powered breast milk and a nourished body after growing and giving birth to another human.
But, thanks to sleep deprivation and the major lifestyle adjustment that comes with a new baby, many moms find it hard to find the time to plan meals and eat healthfully in those early weeks and months.
The foods below pack an extra nutrient punch, so add as many into your day as you are able. Your body will be healthier for it.
1. Eggs – eggs are fast to make and offer excellent protein, vitamin D (yolk) and choline. Hard boil six to eight at-a-time and store in the fridge, for a speedy snack or addition to a piece of fruit or handful of salad greens a.k.a lunch.
Meal Garden Recipe: Superfood Scramble
2. Oatmeal – oats are an iron- and fibre-rich wholegrain tha are fast and easy to make and eat. You can use quick cook or steel cut, depending on how long you have to prepare them. And there are all kinds of oatmeal-based recipes you can make – like overnight oats and blender pancakes, which are speedy to prep and eat, and will leave you with leftovers for another day.
Meal Garden Recipe: Blender Pancakes
3. Salmon – omega 3-rich salmon contains protein and DHA which is important for both you and baby. DHA nourishes the brain and nervous system as it continues to develop. DHA also improves memory (yes mommy brain), concentration and boosts IQ.
Meal Garden Recipe: Spice Rubbed Salmon With Mango Salsa
4. Spinach – and any other green leafy vegetable, actually. Greens are calcium, iron, folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese rich that touch on just about every need of a new mom. From boosting milk production to healing from a caesarian birth, the broad nutrient profile in spinach is a daily must. Eat as a salad, cook with it or add to your smoothie.
Meal Garden Recipe: Sneaky Spinach Muffins
5. Blueberries – blueberries are rich in plant-based nutrients and antioxidants, which help to protect the cells in your – and your baby’s – body. They make a fast snack, beneficial topping for oatmeal, salad or yogurt – or blended in your morning smoothie.
Meal Garden Recipe: Creamy Blueberry Smoothie
6. Almonds – almonds are a powerhouse of protein, calcium, vitamin E, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and fibre. As with salmon, you need a lot of omega 3 fats so a handful of almonds might just help you remember where you left your keys. Eat them ‘au naturel’ or as a nut butter with apple, banana or celery.
Meal Garden Recipe: Shredded Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon
7. Sesame seeds – sesame seeds are an exceptional source of calcium, in an absorbable form. In fact, they’re a better source of calcium than from most dairy products. They’re high in fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Enjoy on salads, as a paste called tahini and in a dip like hummus.
Meal Garden Recipe: Maple Tahini Freezer Cookies
8. Brown rice – iron, B vitamin and fibre-rich brown rice will keep you going far longer than white. Short grain is nuttier and long grain more like what most are used to. Eat warm or add in cold to a salad with beans or legumes to make a complete protein and nutritious meal.
Meal Garden Recipe: Mix ‘n Match Veggie Fried Rice.
9. Chia seeds – these little seeds give so much in an almost tasteless form. Including these in your smoothie, on a salad, mixed into yogurt or even in baking will give you a calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, fibre, and and omega-3 boost. The seeds can be eaten whole or ground and are a simple addition to just about any dish.
Meal Garden Recipe: Chia Seed Pudding
10. Dates – dates are an excellent source of insoluble fibre, which aids in digestion and to ease constipation. They’re also high in minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help healing after birth and, with their high mineral content, ease anemia, boost energy, support good vision, and can aid in weight loss.
Meal Garden Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars
Check out all 10 recipes on Meal Garden. You’ll be prepared when you’re starving and don’t know what to eat – and can rest assured knowing the fuel you’re taking in is making for a healthier you.
Written by Lianne Phillipson, Registered Nutritionist and bestselling author of Sprout Right – Nutrition from Tummy to Toddler. Lianne is the founder of SproutRight.com, an engaging speaker, media regular and nutrition expert featured weekly on Toronto’s NewsTalk1010 radio. She consults with clients both in person and online and has her one of a kind New Eaters Club for new parents starting and progressing with solid food with their babies.