10 Nutrition Tips for Moms

photo: e_pics via Flickr

photo: e_pics via Flickr

Nutrition is a hot topic for moms everywhere, but mostly it’s about nutrition for their children.  It’s a valid concern, but nutrition for mom herself is just as important.  While Mother’s Day is a good time to reflect on mom’s nutrition, this isn’t a one-a year concern.  It’s an everyday concern.  It’s easier to be a mom if you’re in top shape.  Parenting is rewarding but it’s also exhausting, demanding, emotionally draining and stressful.  It’s a 24 hour a day job that goes on for years, in addition to your other jobs.

Here are 10 key nutrition tips to help keep moms healthy all year long:

  1. Exercise.  Yes, exercise is a nutrition topic.  You burn calories, rev your metabolism and improve your mood.  Humans are built to move, not sit all day.  The good news is that all movement is legitimate.  Walking for transportation is just as good as scheduling a walk in your free time.  If you have any.  Walk the kids to school, walk to parks and other destinations like the library with your kids.  Model walking or biking as transportation to help them learn about a healthy active lifestyle.
  2. Build meals on vegetables.  We’re accustomed to focusing on meat.  What’s for dinner is usually about what piece of meat is for dinner.  Make vegetables the focus, whether as salad or saute or casseroles.  Serve vegetables with snacks, for yourself and your kids.  And make life easy by purchasing pre-cut vegetables if you don’t have time to cut them up yourself.
  3. Convenience foods are your friends.  Not frozen pizza or fast food burgers.  Think pre-cut veggies and pre-sliced fruit chunks, frozen unsweetened fruit, yogurt and all manner of healthy foods that make life easier and cut down on the time you need to prep food and clean up after meals.
  4. Speaking of convenience, don’t let the Cooking Police make you feel guilty.  If you don’t have time or skills or energy to cook, make use of healthy convenience products to put dinner on the table.  There’s nothing magical or particularly special about slaving in the kitchen after a long day, to make from-scratch food.  The purpose of a meal is to share food and have family time.  It’s not to prove you can cook and it’s not live up to the sniffy expectations of some elitist author or celebrity chef.  If cooking isn’t your thing, buy healthy take out food, or use healthy convenience foods.
  5. Key nutrients for moms: calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, iron, and, well, just about everything frankly.  A balanced diet loaded with plant foods will help get you there.
  6. Have some high protein food at all your meals.  You need protein, and it helps control appetite.  But you don’t need huge amounts.  And you can get protein from nuts, legumes and beans, as well as from steak or cheese.
  7. Don’t make excuses for keeping tempting junk food around the house, if you can’t resist it.  You don’t need to offer that to guests and your kids don’t need it either.
  8. Enjoy all foods in small portions.  Remember, a professor lost a lot of weight on the famous Twinkie Diet.  He did this by eating nothing but junk food, but he kept to strict calorie limits.  Not that you should follow that example.  The message is: small portions allow you to enjoy a large variety of foods and still keep your calories under control.
  9. Don’t get hooked on fad diets.  Just don’t.  They drain your energy and make you crabby and they DON’T WORK!  Worse, you’ll be modeling very bad dieting behavior to your children.
  10. Nutrition is not a religion.  You don’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to be preachy.  Enjoy the food you eat and treat yourself to the occasional serving of quality ice cream, really excellent chocolate or holiday dessert.
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