Eating more different types of vegetables will help increase your intake of nutrients and vitamins that your body needs to feel healthier and be stronger during pregnancy, recover after having a baby and improve your health, body shape and energy as a mum or mom. Vegetables of all varieties are the basis on which a healthy diet pre and post pregnancy is formed.
The Key Vitamins and Nutrients Needed to Nourish Your Body After a Baby.
When you've just had a baby you need vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, magnesium and zinc, these are particularly important vitamins and nutrients as they all play a role in repairing your body. Although there are others, these ones have specific benefits. Vitamin C helps improve the condition of your skin; c-section scars, wound healing and abdominal separation by strengthening the weakened and stretched connective tissue that covers the front of your abdomen. Iron and Vitamin B12 help improve energy to help you with the demands of motherhood. Magnesium for sleep; with sleepless nights during pregnancy and after you need help to improve the quality of sleep you do get! Vitamin D helps strengthen your muscles and bones and that of your babies if you are nursing as what you eat is passed to your baby through your breastmilk.
For lots of these vitamins and nutrients as well as more fibre to curb cravings and quality carbohydrate required for energy, it's important to aim to eat 6 portions of vegetables a day.
Don’t be worried or if this sounds like a lot at first, perhaps way more than you are used too! At first try to start with aiming for 2 or 3 portions a day, then gradually increasing this by an extra portion every 3 days so that it is easier for you to make this change over a week or 2 weeks. You want it to become a sustainable habit that you don't need to think about.
What's a portion?
A portion of vegetables is approximately the size of your clenched fist; three of these portions should be green and especially leafy. 😜👍🏼🍽
Here are some examples of portions to include in your meals:
- 1 medium courgette, leek or onion
- 2 medium tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes
- 1 or 2 handfuls of salad leaves, baby spinach, watercress, rocket, lamb’s lettuce or baby gem leaves
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs
- 3 heaped tablespoons of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
- 1 carrot stick or celery
- 1/2 an aubergine or large pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 of a small head of cabbage
- 1/4 red, yellow or green pepper
- 1 handful of kale or 3 florets of broccoli; green leafy vegetables are a very good source of calcium and particularly good for vegan’s or for those that may not consume dairy and need to ensure good levels of calcium.
Need some recipe ideas?
Check out Vicky Warr's quick, healthy recipes the whole family will love too at her Online Health and Fitness Studio for a fit and healthy motherhood. Go here.