If you are a mother or about to become one, it is crucial to be mindful of your health by managing your diet.
There are many motivations for why people want to go on a diet. Some individuals wish to live a healthier lifestyle. Others want to improve the look of their physique. Men and women of different age groups require following strict dietary plans to help them lose weight, maintain fitness, and ensure good health. Following a strict and healthy diet is especially important for mothers.
Being a mother can be a lot of responsibility, whether before or after your child has been born. It is because you must consider that it is not only your body and health you must be mindful of but also that of your child. While your child is still growing in the womb, whatever nutrition you consume will affect the development of the fetus. When your child is less than a year old, the types of meals and take diet as a mother will determine the quality of breast milk during feeding. And as your child grows older and looks to you as a role model, your choice of food will also play a role in their eating habits.
Regardless of what stage of motherhood you are currently at, this article can help provide advice and explain the importance of taking care of your diet.
Importance of Diet during Pregnancy
Diet as a mother is crucial during pregnancy, as you are technically eating for two, which means you may have to eat more than usual compared to the quantities you had before. Depending on your age and weight before you were pregnant, you will have to adjust your intake of food throughout the length of your pregnancy.
If you were within the average weight range for your age group, you should eat enough to gain 25 to 35 lbs. If you were below the average weight range for your age group, you will have to increase your daily intake to ensure enough calories for you and your unborn child. If you were above the average weight range for your age group, you should limit your daily intake until your overall weight decreases to the right amount.
The recommended calorie intake will differ between individuals, but on average, the average calorie intake should include an additional 25 to 35 lbs. during the first three months and what little remaining time left in the pregnancy, 340 calories between three to six months, and 450 calories between six to nine months.
Maintaining a balanced diet that supplies enough nutrition for fat reserves without significantly increasing or decreasing weight will ensure the proper development of your child’s organs, body parts, etc. Your diet should include the following food groups:
- Whole Grains
- Dairy Products
- High-Protein Foods
If the following food groups are eaten in careful proportions and quantities, you not only provide adequate nutrients for yourself but also supply the vital vitamins and minerals essential to the development of the fetus, including the following:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Folic Acid
Though it is possible to treat yourself to a dessert every once in a while, try to avoid foods high in sugar, fat, salt, or caffeine. These kinds of food could disrupt development and cause complications that can affect your baby before and after birth. A few examples of food and drink that you should avoid during pregnancy include:
- High-Mercury Fish
- Frozen Foods
- High-Sugar Foods
Importance of Diet When Breastfeeding
After your baby has been born, s/he cannot consume solid food for about six months and solely relies on you for nutrition. While it is possible to feed your child with baby formula, the most reliable source of food for your child is breast milk. Breast milk often contains all the essential nutrition necessary to continue your child’s growth. Most of the nutrients in breast milk are vital to strengthening bones, improving the immune system, and helping gain weight. However, your breast milk’s quality and nutritional value depend on what and how much food you consume.
Though you still have fat reserves from your pregnancy, breastfeeding requires you to give up a lot of your body’s stored nutrients to sustain your child. To ensure that your body has enough energy to function and remains in a healthy condition, you will need to consume appropriate portions of the following food groups including the following:
- Whole Grains
- Dairy Products
- Healthy Fats
These food groups will help replenish your energy reserves to prevent weakness, dizziness, and headaches. Though you can gradually work towards reducing excess fat through exercise and this diet, work on gradually slimming down over time rather than burning off as much fat as quickly as possible. Missing meals or eating less is dangerous because your body needs several months until it fully recovers from pregnancy, and the lack of vital nutrition could cause you to become sick. At a minimum, diet as a mother you should make sure that your body is receiving plenty of the following nutrients:
- Dietary Fiber
It is important to care for your health while you are still breastfeeding since any vital nutrients you neglect consuming or any changes in your condition could cause your breast milk to become deficient. Reduced colostrum could make your child vulnerable to illness, insufficient iodine will hinder your child’s mental growth and weaker bone structure. Aside from strictly sticking to a schedule and eating in adequate proportions, you also should avoid the following:
- High-Sugar Foods
- Saturated Fats
- High-Sodium Foods
Importance of Diet on Children’s Behavior
As your child grows old enough to eat solid food safely, s/he should start becoming less dependent on you to feed him/her directly. Though unable to walk or speak correctly between six months to one year old, your child is still observant and learning about eating behaviour. Most of your children’s eating habits and food preferences they pick up are partly influenced by watching you.
Since your child is very impressionable during his/her early childhood, it is important that you are mindful of the kinds and how much food you eat while in front of him/her. Though you no longer need to follow as strict a diet as during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is best to stick with the healthy food groups. Not only would including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products in almost all your meals contribute to burning unwanted fat and getting back in shape but setting this example would encourage your children to eat healthier.
You can indulge in dessert and fast food every once in a while in private, but it is best to serve your child and yourself healthy meals frequently. After all, you cannot expect your child to eat their fruits and vegetables without complaint if you are not doing the same. Eating a consistently healthy diet as a mother will not only keep you fit but give you the energy necessary to care for and teach your child daily.