A healthy, balanced diet is still important after giving birth. This might have been easier when pregnant, when you didn’t have to look after a tiny infant. The secret is in the planning of your meals. If you didn’t stock your cupboards and freezer in the last weeks of pregnancy and you find yourself short of time, take all offers of help from your partner and friends. Don’t feel under pressure to get back to cooking meals straight away – you can always stock up on some fresh soups, wholemeal bread and nice cheese to keep you going in the early days.
Stock your fridge with fresh and easy to eat fruit and veg (supermarkets sell prepared vegetables and fresh fruit salads, which are handy for time-poor mums). Yogurts, cheese and bakery products such as bread, scones and muffins are also good snacks. Or you can buy some fresh soup, fresh pasta, quiche and other foods that can be cooked or heated up in minutes. Fresh fruit and veg, plus foods containing fibre (such as some cereals and wholemeal bread) will help avoid constipation. If you are breastfeeding, have five servings of dairy products a day (such as milk, cheese and yogurt).
A balanced diet includes:
- at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg a day(fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced)
- starchy foods - wholemeal bread, pasta, rice and potatoes
- fibre - wholegrain bread, cereals, pasta, rice, pulses, fruit and veg
- protein – lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and pulses
- at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies)
- dairy – milk, cheese and yogurt.
You also need to drink well, at least eight glasses of water a day. Water, milk and unsweetened fruit juices are all good choices. Tea and coffee are fine in moderation but they are diuretics and might sap your energy levels after the initial caffeine kick. If you are taking a breastfeeding or other supplement, bear in mind that these are not substitutes for a healthy diet.