In the brief three years I’ve been a mother, I’ve played the role of working mom, stay-at-home mom, and most recently, working-from-home mom.
I can say with complete confidence that it doesn’t matter which way you swing it, being “on” 24/7 is the most physically, mentally and emotionally demanding thing I’ve ever done. But of course, I’ve never been spelunking, and I’ve heard that’s decently hard too.
So my dear mama, the first thing I want you to know is I’ve been there and I can relate! And, if I could, I’d give you a huge hug right now and squeeze your little one’s squishy thighs while you take a nap.
As a nutritionist + registered dietitian, I know that food becomes a big part of life during new motherhood. Here are 5 things I want you to know:
1. It’s okay to have “fast” food—the right kind, of course.
In fact, I’d stock your whole house with “fast” food. Pre-made smoothies, protein shakes, frozen egg quiches, grilled chicken, all the pre-prepped food you can get your hands on. It seems there’s an unwritten rule that every child in the house suddenly needs your attention the moment you get hungry.
Being prepared with quick things you can eat with one hand while nursing a baby in the other will save you from skipped meals and cookie cravings the rest of the day.
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Our bodies go through so many changes so quickly, we often get overeager to “get our body back” and forget we’ve just done the equivalent of 100 marathons. (Maybe not 100, but you get my point.)
The last thing you need right now is a low-calorie, restrictive weight loss diet. Focus on eating lots of high-quality protein, natural fats and seasonal fruits and vegetables. As your body gets the nourishment it needs, it will naturally return to a healthy weight in it’s own time.
3. Eat fat like it’s your (second) job.
Your metabolism is working in overdrive to keep up with all the changes in your body. You may not feel that way because pounds aren’t melting off you, but you may notice you’re craving sugar like crazy. That’s because carbohydrates are a quick fuel source and your body needs energy.
However, fat is a more efficient, long-lasting source of energy. Add foods such as avocados, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, nuts and seeds to keep you satisfied, energized, and avoid sugar crashes throughout the day.
4. Stay nourished, but don’t freak out if you miss a meal.
To be clear here, I’m not talking about starving yourself. But sometimes, life happens, to be more exact, motherhood happens, and you miss a meal. Our bodies are quite literally designed to adapt and survive in times of feast and famine.
A few sporadically missed meals likely won’t hurt you, and may even have beneficial effects such as improved digestion, reduced inflammation, and potentially even a decreased cancer risk. So if you miss a meal, cut yourself some slack and make sure the next one is packed full of natural goodness and not, say, a candy bar. Plus, ditching the notion that you need three meals and two snacks a day is so liberating when your life pivots on being flexible.
5. Eating healthy is so worth it.
You may be tired and exhausted and thinking that eating healthy is literally the last thing you want to think about right now, but I promise it’s so, so worth it. Taking a few extra minutes to prepare healthy options that are simple and nourishing will give you the extra energy and feel good hormones you need to keep up with your little ones.
Don’t worry about preparing fancy things—just keep it simple.
If you need quick and nourishing recipe inspiration, check out my Instagram feed, and pop in to say hello in the comments while you’re there. I’d love to meet you!