Recover from childbirth and feel amazing as a new mom
Nadiya Merchant, full-time mom and nutritionist at Kellogg India, shares some of her simple tips to ensure you’re taking the right care of yourself
Maa, aai, ammi… these are not just names that we address our mothers with; these words instantly take us back to our childhood with fond memories of our compassionate and ever-nurturing moms. Mothers, the world over, are also known to be worriers: worrying about their children, family, friends, relatives, colleagues and so on. They tend to worry not only about the health and physical well-being, but more significantly about the emotional and psychological well-being of their near and dear ones.
As moms, while we are busy nurturing the needs of others, we often tend to neglect our own well-being. More importantly, while you are indivisibly a mother of your children, you are a woman first. After all, if we don’t care for ourselves, how then can we expect to be caregivers to those who depend on us? Here are some simple tricks to ensure we take the necessary care we undeniably need:
Reinforce some of those ‘special’ nutrients we often ignore
As the principal caregiver of the family, strengthening your core to maintain good health and immunity is crucial. Here, apart from the essential nutrients like calcium, B12, iron and folic acid, it’s also important that mothers reinforce special nutrient like zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and chromium into their diets, to
boost their immunity. These other-than-average nutrients not only build immunity to fight against the day-to-day wear and tear that a woman’s body experiences, but also makes you feel and look good. After all, looking good is really about how you feel on the inside. Food sources of zinc include nuts and seeds, especially sesame seeds, beans, legumes and wheat germ. To increase your selenium intake, include garlic, organ meats, seafood and lentils in your diet. You can get your dose of chromium through eating simple whole grains, seafood, seeds and nuts.
Break the overnight fast with a balanced breakfast meal
To reduce the risk of lifestylerelated diseases, include nutritious foods like whole grains, fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat and lean protein. Moreover, focus on essential nutrient needs by incorporating vitamins specially vitamin D, B12 and folic acid, along with calcium and iron-rich foods in every changing stage of your life.
Make your breakfast balanced by including sources of protein (e.g. pulses or dals, eggs, lean meats, nuts, and seeds) and fibre (e.g. whole grains, fruitf, and vegetables). Encourage the habit of eating a healthy breakfast together and spending quality time with all family members – the best way I like to start my day!
As moms, our mornings are usually rushed and we tend to miss or eat little breakfast. Ready-to-eat cereals made with corn, wheat, rice, oats, barley and ragi can offer quick fixes. Not only do they provide variety but are also tasty for everyone in the family to enjoy! Here are some versatile and delicious breakfast and snack-time recipes:
Smoothie Surprise: Relish a corn flake, date and banana smoothie for breakfast – blend in handful of corn flakes, four dates, one banana and 200 ml of yoghurt. Enjoy it chilled! A Perfect Parfait: A scrumptious muesli parfait – layer muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruits in a glass jar. Keep repeating the layers and the parfait is ready. As an added bonus, it does make for some instagram-worthy pictures! Street-Style Savoury: A tangy all bran wheat flakes mid-evening chaat snack – mix all bran with finely chopped cucumber, onion, tomato, chaat masala, coriander
and your choice of green or tamarind chutney. The perfect evening go-to snack!
Mexican Delight: Savour the baked goodness of all bran wheat flakes with cheese, beans and salsa – add all bran wheat flakes in a baking dish, add some grated cheese and bake it in an oven. Garnish with boiled red beans and salsa.
No compromise on exercise
Physical activity is an important part of any individual’s healthy regime. As compared to men, women have less muscle mass, more body fat and are typically smaller in body frame. While women need fewer calories than men, their requirements of key essential vitamins and minerals like folic acid and iron are higher in comparison. A regular fitness regime is also vital for bone health and helps lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Exercising not only helps with weight control and muscle strength but also improves stress management.
Stress might be inevitable, distress is not
An extreme amount of stress can have health consequences and take a severe emotional toll on mothers, in turn affecting their daily lives. Besides eating healthy and staying physically active, it’s important for mothers, and women, to take a step back to reflect, embrace mindfulness and indulge in some ‘me’ time. Here, understanding your stress, identifying its source and implementing a healthy stress management approach, is key. Stress might be a common factor for you ‘worriers’ but distress is not. Meditation, yoga and exercise, or simply talking it out with a close friend, can help. It is important to fuel our inner strength in order to support our children and family, as and when they need us.
There is no limit to what we mothers can accomplish, and this includes taking care of ourselves as well!