10 foods to build strength post-pregnancy
You have just delivered your baby. While emotions flood your mind and hormones whisk you away on another roller coaster ride, your body has to get ready for another chapter – providing nutrition to your baby. But first, your exhausted and wounded body needs to heal and repair itself and pick up on the energy and strength needed to embrace and sustain a whole new life.
Usually, new mothers need anywhere between 1800-2200 calories a day, a number that increases by around 500 calories if you’re nursing. It’s also important to remember that there’s no hard and fast rule for this, and you may need more calories if you’re working out more, breastfeeding multiples, or are otherwise underweight. So, here’s a list of 10 foods that will give you the nutrients and strength you desperately need, to recover from giving birth as well as provide the little one with nutrition. Remember the more you heed to your needs, the better you get at tending to your little one.
An egg is an extremely versatile and protein-rich food and a must for any new mother. If you’re too busy taking care of your baby, you can opt for simple recipes like omelettes, scrambled eggs, and boiled eggs.
2. Whole grains
Although you may want to lose weight quickly post-childbirth, cutting out carbs completely is a strict no-no. It’s much better to have whole-grain sources of carbohydrates like brown rice, chapattis, and whole-wheat bread. These have extra fibre that release energy slowly and help you stay full for longer.
While nursing, your body needs more vitamin C than usual, and oranges and other citrus fruits like sweet limes (mausambi), grapefruits (chakotra), etc. are the best sources of the same. While it’s always better to eat the whole fruit, you can always sip on freshly squeezed orange juice instead, if you’re short on time.
Pulses and lentils are the best sources of protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They can be incorporated in your diet easily, whether it’s a dal-chawal or khichdi. Additionally, dals like moong and masur are also easily digestible, and even help to control weight.
Almonds are one of the best post-pregnancy foods you can have. They’re rich in fibre, carbohydrates, vitamin E, and B12. Plus, there are a number of Indian recipes like sheera, halwa, and badaam milk that incorporate this superfood. Best of all, they make for a great snack and can prevent you from bingeing on unhealthy foods.
6. Leafy greens
Spinach, coriander, broccoli, and Swiss chard are all loaded with vitamin A, which is extremely important for a new mother, especially if you’re nursing. They also contain antioxidants, calcium, and vitamin C, and are great for weight loss, as they are low in calories.
7. Ragi/nachni (finger millet)
Ragi or finger millet is one of the best grains that you can include in your post-pregnancy diet. It has a lot of calcium and iron, which will help you gain strength. It’s also a good alternative for those who are lactose-intolerant and can’t consume dairy products. The best part is that, ragi flour can be used in many interesting recipes, from rotis to dosas to halwas.
8. Dairy products (low-fat)
As long as you’re not lactose-intolerant, include dairy products (milk, curd, and cheese) in your diet while you’re nursing. Dairy products have a host of nutrients that are crucial for a new mother — vitamin D, protein, calcium, and B vitamins.
Having oats dalia or oats upma for breakfast is a great way to start the day as a new mum. Oats are high in fibre and help keep the digestive system clean. They’re also a great source of calcium, proteins, and iron. Most importantly, they give you the carbohydrates you need without adding empty calories.
10. Methi (fenugreek)
Methi tea is a time-tested drink for mothers who are nursing. All you need to do is add hot water to crushed methi seeds, allow it to steep for a few minutes, and then strain. Methi is a great source of iron, calcium, vitamins and minerals, all of which your body requires in large quantities post-pregnancy. You can add methi to regular foods like pooris, meat curries, and dals as well.
Post-partum can be a challenging and overwhelming time for most women, as they start getting used to a new life and routine. However, following a healthy diet is a sure-shot way of reducing some of that stress. So, make sure you load up on the food items mentioned above, to stay energetic and fit.