Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What Foods Give You Energy Post Pregnancy

OK, all you new mommies... time to wake up! Are you tired of having no energy since you've had your bundle of joy? Newborns definitely keep you busy, busy, busy, not to mention waking you up in the night fairly often, especially in the beginning. I remember feeling almost zombie-like some days when my girls were newborns. Well, eating the right kind of foods will help you out with that. So, what foods give you energy post pregnancy you ask? Let's discuss:

1. Whole Grains. Starting your morning with a bowl of whole grain cereal (hot or cold), is going to give you a nice energy boost to start your day. Eating whole grain foods in general is a good habit to stick to when you want to keep your energy up. They are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They will not only help keep your energy going, but they'll also help you feel full for longer periods of time, help keep you regular (this is a great thing for new moms as constipation can be a problem for many), help protect against things like heart disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Some examples of whole grain foods are: whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole wheat crackers, whole grain bread, oatmeal and whole grain cereal.

2. Legumes. When wondering what foods give you energy post pregnancy, legumes are great... and inexpensive! They are packed with folic acid, iron and magnesium. They are also low in fat and high in protein and fiber. Some legume examples are: red kidney beans, lima beans, chickpeas, black beans, lentils, soybeans, green beans, green peas and snow peas. Add them to chili, salsa, salads!

3. Blueberries. These little low calorie morsels are a great source of fiber and contain iron as well as vitamins B, C and E to give you an energy boost! They also contain anthocyanins, which is the pigment that gives the blueberry it's blue colouring, which may help to prevent cancer, heart disease and memory loss. Some suggest that they also help eye sight. Another interesting study from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center suggests that blueberries may help to reduce belly fat (great news for new moms trying to lose a baby belly!).

4. Eggs. Eggs contain 5-6 grams of protein which is going to give you energy and as well as help to keep you feeling full longer. They have been shown to be great for weight management which is going to be great for you if you are attempting to lose post pregnancy weight. A large egg contains only 5 grams of fat and 70 calories. When considering what foods give you energy, it is best to eat the whole egg (yolks and all!) to get the full effect of its energy potential. Eggs also contain choline, which is great for brain function and development. They also contain nutrients such as folate, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B12, D, and E.

5. Hummus. Hummus is a dip with chickpeas as the main ingredient. It is a great source of fiber, protein, iron and vitamin C. Use it as a dip for veggies such as carrots or whole grain crackers or whole pita slices.

6. Vitamin C. Eating foods rich in vitamin C are great for keeping your energy levels up. Some examples are papayas, strawberries, kiwi fruit, apples, oranges, bell peppers, broccoli and pineapple.

7. Trail Mix. When thinking about what foods give you energy post pregnancy, trail mix is an excellent choice! You can combine ingredients like dried fruit, nuts, seeds and whole grain and/or high fiber cereals. Your boost of energy will come from the carbohydrates in the dried fruit and you get sustained energy from the protein and mono and polyunsaturated fats in the nuts. You also get a good dose of fiber with trail mix. Some examples can be: dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, raisins), nuts (almonds, pistachios, peanuts), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower) and cereals (Multigrain Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats Bite Size).

Basically, you want to stick to complex carbohydrates and foods that contain protein and/or iron and vitamins and minerals when needing to know what foods give you energy. Here are some examples:

Complex Carbohydrates - brown rice, whole wheat pasta, vegetables, fresh/dried fruits, whole grain breads/cereals, etc.

Protein - milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, chicken, fish, beef, tofu, legumes, etc.

Iron - soy products, red meat (lean), spinach, figs, etc.

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