For nine months, you took care of yourself and your growing baby, eating healthfully and exercising when you could. Now, you’ve delivered your son or daughter and are busy with breast-feeding, diaper changes and sleepless nights. You’re surely obsessed with what your baby needs in terms of nutrition, but even with all the chaos, you can’t forget about feeding yourself.
The problem is, it’s easy to toss back whatever fast snack food is handy when you only have a spare minute or two, but proper maternal nutrition is very important for getting back your pre-baby body. Healthy, wholesome meals and snacks that contain protein, fat and complex carbs will provide you with more energy and staying power than things like chips and cookies, which burn off quickly, leaving you hungry sooner. And if you’re breast-feeding, chew on this: Whatever you eat will also be what your baby eats, and making healthier choices for yourself also means healthier choices for your baby.
“Your baby will be eating every two to three hours, and so should you, breast-feeding or not,” says Kristal Richardson, former IFBB Figure competitor and new mom to Leah. “Frequent meals and snacks support the energy needs of breast-feeding and non-breast-feeding moms, reigniting your metabolism so you can get back to your pre-baby jeans sooner.”
When used in combination with last month’s exercise plan, healthy nutrition can help you bring sexy back in no time.
Quick Calorie Calculation
Breast-feeding requires about 500 calories per day to support adequate milk production, and while this deficit assists in your slim-down program, don’t be tempted to also slash calories to expedite your transformation. Crash dieting can affect your milk production and quality, so avoid this pitfall for the health of your baby.
The basic caloric requirement for women trying to lose weight postpartum is between 1,500 and 1,800 calories per day. Create a caloric deficit with exercise, not diet. Moms who are exclusively breast-feeding can eat up to 2,300 calories per day to support milk production while also getting enough energy to make it through the day.
Many supplements are not recommended if you are breast-feeding, but if you are through with the boobs or have chosen to go the formula route, here are some of Kristal Richardson’s picks for springing back into shape. All are available from Top Secret Nutrition.
CLA & Fish Oil provides the healthy fats you need to sustain energy and keep you healthy.
L-Carnitine Plus Raspberry Ketones helps release fat from cells for use as fuel without stimulants.
Cardio Igniter increases cardio capacity, burns fat and increases energy.
XAT-7 is a stimulant-based fat burner for more intense energy.
At a loss for what to eat? Throw together a salad, snack or meal using foods from these lists and you can’t go wrong.
Five Great Proteins
- chicken breast
- lean steak
- extra-lean ground turkey
- low-fat Greek yogurt
Five Great Veggies*
- green beans
Five Great Complex Carbs
- brown rice
- sweet potatoes
Five Great Fats
- raw nuts
- all-natural nut butters
- olive oil
- low-fat salad dressing
*Note for breast-feeding moms: Avoid gas-producing foods like cabbage and Brussels sprouts. If you’re gassy, baby will be, too.