Losing those extra pounds maybe the first thing on your mind after pregnancy but what you really need is to rebuild your strength and recover with all the pregnancy foods that boost your energy levels and make you the best mommy you can be! Your family may have all sorts of advice about having the traditional ‘high-calorie pregnancy foods’ to recuperate and you may need some extra calories to feed your new born but this does not necessarily require you to pile on all the fat, hence here are the post-pregnancy food do’s and don’ts!
What to eat after pregnancy?
Apart from the regular rice and wheat… there are many other pregnancy food; Oats (Dalia) is rich in iron, calcium, carbohydrates and proteins. It can be cooked as a savory dish with mild spices and some boneless chicken or beef/mutton for added flavor. You can also convert it into our traditional dessert, kheer with nuts. Oats are also an excellent source of fiber which helps keep constipation at bay and they also help rebuild muscle strength. Eggs are full of protein and Vitamin D, toss yolks into a salad, fry an omelette, scramble or boil them to meet your daily protein needs and help your baby’s bones grow!
The benefits of fruits, vegetables and meat… especially the leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and salad leaves are a great source of iron, fenugreek (methi), cherries, water-chestnut (singhara) and olives are known to help recover from back and joint pains caused due to child birth (especially after a cesarean delivery). Iron rich foods like kidney beans, and meats, lean beef or beef liver help rebuilding the blood iron stores and should be an important part of your diet at least during the postpartum period which lasts for six to eight weeks.
Stocking up Calcium … Low fat yogurt, cheese, skimmed milk and other dairy products contribute greatly towards healthy breastfeeding as they are one of the best sources of calcium. If you’re breastfeeding, your milk needs to be loaded with calcium that is enough to help your baby’s bones develop, and enables you to meet your own needs. Therefore make sure you include at least two to three cups of dairy each day in your diet. If you are craving sweets have some frozen yogurt or dark chocolate with 70% cocoa which not only helps you feed your sweet tooth but also calms the postpartum blues.
The mysteries of spices…Saunth also known as dried ginger powder is packed with vitamins, iron and minerals. It is a commonly available ingredient which is known for its anti-inflammation properties. In Pakistan, saunth k ladoo and chutneys with dried plums (aloo bukhara) are commonly given to women after they deliver. It is traditionally believed that carom seeds (ajwain), cumin (zeera), dil seeds (suwa) and fennel (saunf) relieve pains caused due to gas, prevent indigestion and also help in cleansing the uterus after delivery because of their antiseptic properties. You can top rice with cumin and simply add carom seeds to your food as an extra seasoning and dill can be used in salads or dill seeds can be combined with dried coconut, walnuts, coriander seeds, sesame seeds and fennel as a mouth freshener.
Lastly, drink lots of water and keep yourself well hydrated.
What not to eat after pregnancy?
Jumpy for a hot cup of joe or wanting to devour a spoonful of spicy pickles in a go?!
No food is really harmful until you have it in moderation however the few foods which generally cause problems for women after delivery are better avoided.
Remember, if you are breastfeeding everything you eat is transferred to your baby hence avoid having too much caffeine (coffee, sodas, chocolates) as these may keep your baby wide awake and you too.
Don’t go overboard with sweets as the excessive sugar content in breast milk is one of the major causes of insulin imbalances in babies. Also, babies tend to get fussy if they are gassy, you need to get down to some detective work and find out what food is the cause, most often garlic, cabbage, onions and peppers cause gas.
Keep a check on allergy symptoms which can be due to food sensitivity, this includes eczema, diarrhea, congestion or constipation, it is better to talk to your gynecologist before eliminating the foods you feel are causing the problem. Although fish is a good source of protein but it is better to completely avoid those fish which are high in mercury.
Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C which helps healing the wound after a cesarean delivery but it may cause fussiness and spitting up in babies, hence it is better to have mangoes and papayas for healthy doses of Vitamin C.
It is a myth that eating left over rice or drinking cold water after pregnancy reduce the chances of recovery however it is better to have fresh pregnancy foods and water at room temperature.
Junk food is a big NO-NO especially after a caesarean section which limits physical activity and piles on fat.
A crash diet after pregnancy might just add up to your problems in the long run, hence it is important to start slow and steady with ample of rest and proper nutrition.