Eat well, stay hydrated and snack smart for good health while balancing pregnancy with busy schedules, says an expert.
Poornima Shankar, Senior Research Scientist at The Himalaya Drug Company, gives some tips on how mothers and mothers-to-be can recharge their energy:
* Striking the energy balance: Eating healthy food is important but ensuring that the energy intake is just as much as the energy you release, is more important. If your food intake is greater than the energy spent, you will experience a positive energy balance and gain weight. Likewise, when the energy spent is higher than the energy intake, there is a negative energy balance and results in weight loss and exhaustion.
Tip: During pregnancy, eat healthy and stay active. Do not try to lose weight. Post-pregnancy, continue to eat healthy and begin an exercise routine that will help you lose weight and keep it off.
* Rainbow on your plate: A balanced diet is all about macronutrients and micronutrients. The former provide energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. The latter includes vitamins and minerals that help the body function well. An expectant mom’s diet should contain a balance of both micronutrients and macronutrients for baby’s healthy development.
Tip: Ensure your diet is rich in proteins, good fats, sprouts, fish, fruits and vegetables.
* Relax and rejuvenate: It is important for every mother to break out from the daily routine and rejuvenate in order to stay both mentally and physically strong. Something as simple as a long and deep breath can double up as a break at times. A lot of mothers tend to worry about post-pregnancy weight gain and other skin-related concerns. Such concerns do have an impact on their overall health.
Tip: Regular deep breathing exercises and mild yoga as per physician’s advice will help mothers relax.
* Not all fats are bad: Healthy fats found mainly in plant-based natural liquid forms, like olive oil, are good for health as they reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Intake of saturated fats like butter or ghee, should be limited as they can raise bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol which, in turn, increase health risks. Consuming omega 3 fats is important for good skin health and overall heart health.
Tip: Include fatty fish and vegetarian sources like flaxseeds and walnuts in your diet to make it rich in good fat.
* Snack smart: Pick nutrient and fibre-rich, low-to-medium calorie munchies that keep you full for longer. Choose lighter snacks instead of heavy, greasy snacks to avoid heartburn and gastric issues during and post-pregnancy. Nuts are rich in protein, fibre, vitamin E and essential fatty acids or good fats. Dairy products contain protein, calcium, Vitamins A and D, and essential fats. Eggs are a source of protein, Vitamins A and D, and essential fats. Vegetables and fruit contain fibre, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from plants.
Tip: Eating often and having smaller portions should be the mantra.
* Cut on salt: Reduce salt intake as extra salt can raise blood pressure. In pregnant women, excessive salt intake can increase the risk of hypertension which can lead to further complications. Limit the addition of excessive table salt to food.
Tip: Avoid pickles, papad, and salted snacks.
* Stay hydrated: Last but not the least, it is very important to keep yourself well hydrated all the time. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should drink plenty of fluids including water, milk, buttermilk, juices, ice and tender coconut water.
Tip: Drink eight to 12 glasses of water every day.