The Baby Planner

The Baby Planner is to Expecting Parents, what a Wedding Planner is to an engaged couple. The Baby Planner is here to hold your hand every step of the way in the biggest decision of your life. First comes The Baby Planner...THEN comes the Baby in the Baby Carriage!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Foods You Should Eat When Nursing

When you're taking care of a new baby and juggling "everyday" life, it's easy to let your own well-being slide. But if you don't take care of your needs, you won't be able to do the best job taking care of your baby's needs. You can liken eating right to the principle of the oxygen mask demo on airplanes. Although it feels counter-intuitive, parents of small children are instructed to strap on their own oxygen masks before attending to their child's. So feed yourself wisely benefits yourself, as well as your baby. Here are some foods that can boost your energy and keep you healthy.

Milk. Just one 8-ounce glass of skim or low-fat milk supplies up to one-third of the calcium you need for strong bones and teeth. A diet rich in calcium may cut your risk of hypertension, colon cancer, and breast cancer, and possibly ease PMS. Milk is a known valuable source of vitamin D, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B12.

Bananas. At about 100 calories each, bananas are a good source of fiber and vitamin B6. They're also loaded with potassium - a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure and is essential to muscle function. Eat one after a workout (when potassium levels may be low due to perspiration loss), mix into smoothies, or add to your cereal for an all-day energy boost.

Orange Juice. A great source of vitamin C, just one 8-once glass supplies more than what you need everyday. Orange juice is also full of folate, a B vitamin - which may help prevent certain birth defects and colon cancer - as well as potassium. Opt for the calcium fortified OJ to benefit your bones.

Salad. Tossing together a variety of greens (romaine and spinach are rich in vitamin A and folate, and iceberg has fiber), and add some tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers as a smart way to sneak vegetables into your diet. Studies have shown that getting at least three servings of vegetables a day can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Just be careful of high-calorie dressing!

Peanut Butter. It's full of protein, fiber, zinc, and vitamin E. It contains mostly unsaturated fat, which helps lower both total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Peanut better and jelly on whole-wheat bread with a glass of milk is a quick nutritious meal. Avoid the reduced-fat version, since the fat is replaced with carbohydrates, you'll get the same number of calories anyway.

Sweet Potatoes. These spuds - which are available year-around - should be a staple in your diet, not just on the holidays. They're an excellent source of potassium, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamin C.

Salmon and fish. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your risk of heart disease. Eating salmon once or twice a week may boost your immune system. Experts say, if you're pregnant or nursing, the fatty acids in salmon help aid fetal and infant brain and central nervous-system development. Government agencies recommend that pregnant or nursing women not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish. Consumers Union recommends that these women should hold off on eating canned tuna, as well.

Broccoli. It's low-cal and rich with vitamins A and C, beta carotene, folate, and fiber - all of which can help reduce your risk of heart disease and protect against certain kinds of cancer. Eat it raw or lightly steamed.

Whole-grain cereal
. One bowl of whole-grain cereal typically supplies 10 or more vitamins and minerals, as well as complex carbohydrates (for energy), disease-fighting fiber, and phytochemical - non-nutrient plant ingredients that help prevent disease. Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Fortunately the cereal industry is producing more and more fiber rich cereal options every day!

Lean red meat. Women, especially those who have given birth within the last two years, are at risk for low iron levels, which can lead to a type of anemia. Red meat is an excellent source of iron that's more easily absorbed by the body. Stick with trimmed lean cuts - anything with loin or round in the name - for their low saturated-fat content, and eat no more than one 2 to 3- ounce serving each day (about the size of your palm).

Vegetable soup
. There is a slew of vitamins and minerals in soup loaded with veggies such as carrots, potatoes, and onions. Even better, because it's mostly liquid (and contains fiber), vegetable soup will fill you up on relatively few calories. It's very important to avoid the high sodium soups - read labels. Try making homemade vegetable soup in large batches. Freeze the extras in small batches for convenient homemade soup at your fingertips.

Yogurt. A good source of bone-strengthening calcium (an 8-ounce carton contains about a third of your daily needs), low-fat or nonfat yogurt also supplies protein and potassium with less saturated fats. Choose plain yogurt, since the flavored kinds are often high in sugar, and make sure the label says the brand contains "live and active cultures," since these bacteia have been shown to benefit the gastrointestinal tract. It is important that you avoid the "light" or "low-cal" yogurts that contain artificial sweeteners, especially if you're pregnant. My favorite yogurt is plain Greek Yogurt. Sweetened with Raw Organic Honey, and adding fresh fruit and walnuts is better than any store bought flavored yogurt on the market! And much healthier too!

Eggs. They're packed with the protein moms (and dads) need to help build and repair weary muscles. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Still, because egg yolks are high in cholesterol, moderation is key. It is recommended to eat two hard-boiled eggs a day for good bile production, and good liver function, which can aid in weight loss, and proper toxin release.

Tomato sauce. Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to help keep arteries clear and reduce the risk of heart disease. Most jarred sauces also contain fiber and vitamins A and C. There is more lycopene released in cooked tomatoes, than raw.

Beans. Canned or dried varieties, such as kidney, black, garbanzo, and navy beans, are a low-fat source of protein, iron and soluble fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol level. You can make any meal healthier - from soups and stews to salads and pasta dishes - by adding a can of beans to it. However, since canned beans can be high in sodium, rinse them well under cold water or buy the no-salt kind. Buying your own dried beans in bulk is a good way to control the sodium, and save money all at the same time!