Taking care of yourself once your baby has arrived can seem like an impossible task. You’ve just spent nine months nurturing and growing a tiny person; now that person has arrived, and they need every last shred of your time, attention, patience and love. But somehow, you still need to prioritise your own nutritional needs among the chaos, lest you suffer from baby burnout due to poor health.
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The best way to nourish yourself as a new parent is to plan ahead. Time is precious for mums, so by having a set meal plan pinned to your fridge (or saved in your smartphone), you can take the guess work out of meal times.
Making big batches of freezable meals, such as soups and pasta sauces, where possible is a great idea, as it means you’ll have easy access to healthy, nutritious meals on your crazier days — and, as a result, you’ll be less likely to settle for bland cereal or toast for dinner.
Nutritionist Emma Sutherland suggests that when planning your meals, you aim to include “foods high in antioxidants that are also very nutrient dense”, and as a general rule, you should also try to include protein in every meal.
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Avoid empty calories
In other words, although they’re convenient, try and avoid the empty calories offered by fast food and sugary processed snacks and instead fuel up on real food that will give you the energy to make it through your demanding day.
“The more well-nourished you are, the better your reserves will be,” Sutherland advises new mums. “When I have a wobbly day with food, my patience levels suffer by 6 p.m. due to erratic blood sugar levels and fatigue.”
You should create a menu plan that is inspiring and exciting to you, so that you’re more motivated to actually follow it. This new mum menu plan offers some great ideas to get you thinking about what your own tailored meal plan could look like:
- Two scrambled eggs with baby spinach and grilled mushrooms
- Wholegrain toast topped with sliced avocado, tomato, salt and pepper
- Half a cup of oats with natural yoghurt, sultanas and raw honey
- Rye toast with ricotta and raw honey
- Omelette with cheese, tomato, spinach and basil
- Bircher muesli topped with natural yoghurt, sunflower seeds and a drizzle of honey
- Stewed apple and strawberries with natural yoghurt
- Four-bean salad (a can of mixed beans with grilled corn, fresh spinach leaves, a splash of lime juice and olive oil)
- Brown rice sushi with tuna and avocado or smoked salmon
- Chicken salad with quinoa and avocado; season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of fresh lemon and some lemon zest
- Mango and berry smoothie, made with natural yoghurt and raw honey
- Wholemeal wrap with boiled eggs and salad
- Tuna and boiled egg salad, with red onions, dill and olive oil
- Roast vegetable salad
- Grilled lamb, steak or chicken with chargrilled vegetables
- Spaghetti bolognese — try this foolproof and entirely delicious recipe
- Pizzas made with loads of vegies, assembled on mountain bread wraps as bases
- Green vegetable curry with tofu, chicken, beef or lamb, served with brown rice or quinoa
- Pumpkin and red lentil soup — head here for more soup inspiration
- Grilled salmon served with a side salad
- Homemade vegetarian nachos: saute a tin of kidney beans with cherry tomatoes, sliced onion and capsicum for about an hour with a heaped tablespoon of Mexican seasoning