Post Pregnancy Diet: Best Ways to Ease Into a Healthy Routine
As someone who’s long prided herself on living a healthy and active lifestyle, I really thought I had diet, nutrition, and my body figured out by the time I got pregnant in my late 30’s.
However, learning to take care of my pregnant body and growing baby, proved to be one of my biggest health lessons of all, and definitely instilled some habits I hope to continue following post pregnancy!
Check out the key diet routines we should keep up well past pregnancy:
You hear this all the time, but when another life is dependent on you, it’s easier to comply. Plus, staying hydrated helped with preventing common pregnancy side effects like constipation and dehydration.
Breakfasts of Champions
When I was eating for just myself, I was definitely guilty of substituting a cup of coffee for breakfast. However, with too much caffeine being a no-no during pregnancy, not only did I have to cut back all together, but it became essential to start my day with an actual meal…or two! Who knew “second breakfast” was a real thing – at least for the pregnant set. Yes, from the moment I woke up, and at least two hours later, I would have already eaten two full breakfasts – usually a bowl of cereal, followed by sometimes like eggs and avocado on toast. It was a nice feeling to start the day feeling ‘nourished,’ but the best part was not having those mid afternoon jitters and late afternoon slumps and craving for sweets that often came along with too much coffee in the mornings. And as a result of eating most of my meals earlier in the day, I was thankfully not as hungry later at night when your metabolism is at its slowest.
Hot Water with Lemon
Not going to lie- at first giving up coffee wasn’t easy, and I needed a substitute-pronto, especially during the chillier winter months. The solution for me was a simple cup of warm water with lemon. This not only helped with digestion, but also helped keep nausea at bay and gave me just the right amount of energy boost without the late afternoon crash.
Alcohol was surprisingly one of the easiest habits for me to give up, and that says a lot considering I averaged a glass or two of wine each night. Somehow with already fighting pregnancy nausea, the thought of ingesting anything else that could conceivably cause any more nausea or fatigue just had little to no appeal.
Better Dental Hygiene
As someone who had no shortage of dental issues pre-pregnancy, it was especially important for me to avoid developing any further problems that either couldn’t be treated until after pregnancy or could even lead to complications like pre-term labor. Cutting out coffee and wine definitely helped. I also made a point to floss in between meals, use mouth wash twice daily, and upped my brushing to three times a day. My efforts paid off and surprisingly, my dental hygienist even commented that she had never had an easier time cleaning my teeth during one of my routine cleanings.
Like most people, I fully thought getting pregnant was a time to over eat and indulge every craving. Surprisingly, I found that with the baby taking up so much space, there was little room left to truly ‘pig out’ the way I might have imagined. I found myself being satiated by small, yet balanced meals that combined small amounts of protein, vegetables and even carbs. Yes carbs became a go-to staple – baked potatoes, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and even pasta; and with a surprising twist – the more I allowed myself to enjoy carbs, the less I craved sugary baked goods like cupcakes and cookies.
The Blood Type Diet
Not having had any major surgeries prior to pregnancy, I never really had a reason to learn my blood type. Thankfully, that is one of the first things you find out when pregnant – which was also a revelation. Discovering I had a type O negative blood type made me realize, according to the Blood Type Diet, that I might benefit from a more meat-based diet. This could explain why I generally felt stronger when I ate high protein meals.
Getting in the habit of taking a pre-natal vitamin made me feel I was doing everything I needed to do to keep my body functioning properly. This is definitely a habit I intend to continue with multi-vitamins.
Less Processed Sugar, More Fruit
Although, I occasionally gave in to more than a few cravings from time to time (Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Chunk Cookies and cookies and cream ice-cream were top on my list) knowing that everything I ate was vitally important to developing a healthy baby, made me think twice before overdoing it. Keeping a variety of my favorite fruit on hand helped me satiate my sweet tooth cravings with something healthy first, before resorting to sugary, processed sweets.