After giving birth, your body goes through quite a bit of change as it heals itself. One of the most common issues that arise is weight gain, and it can be hard to keep track of how much you’ve put on after giving birth and how much you’ll need to take off. That’s why it’s so important to focus on eating healthy foods that will not only help you recover from pregnancy, but also encourage weight loss in the long term. Check out this list of 10 delicious foods that will help you get back into shape after giving birth.
1) Fruit and Veggies
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, it’s important to keep up your intake of fruits and vegetables. Not only are they rich in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain nutrients that have been shown to help with postpartum recovery. Many of these nutrients (like folate) are crucial during pregnancy, but if you missed out on getting enough of them when you were expecting, now is a good time to make up for lost time. So go ahead—slice some veggies!
Fats can be tough for new moms. If you’re breastfeeding, you may not feel hungry and thus may not be consuming enough calories. And if your caloric intake isn’t high enough, it’s going to be tough for your body to lose weight. So make sure you are eating enough food—healthy fats included—to fuel your workouts and keep you energized during pregnancy so that post-pregnancy weight loss is a breeze.
Dairy products, including milk and yogurt, are packed with calcium. Getting enough calcium is one of the best things you can do to support healthy weight loss after pregnancy because it helps boost your metabolism and allows you to better utilize fat for energy. Just make sure you stick with low-fat or fat free dairy options, as full-fat dairy could actually be holding you back in your weight loss efforts. Look for low-fat or fat free cottage cheese and nonfat sour cream too!
4) Nuts & Seeds
Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Not only do they taste great, but they also aid in weight loss. Mix some nuts into your oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast or have a handful as a snack during the day. Adding seeds like chia and flax will provide additional nutrients along with added health benefits.
5) Whole Grains
While whole grains are still controversial in some circles, most nutritional experts agree they’re an important part of any healthy diet. Whole grains have more fiber and nutrients than processed cereals. Sprinkle brown rice or quinoa into your salads; add a handful of whole grain cereal (like oatmeal) to your yogurt; throw some whole wheat pasta into boiling water and cook it as directed on package directions.
Packing in lots of protein is important for postpartum weight loss because it boosts satiety, which means you’ll be less likely to snack on other foods. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that women who consumed 100 grams of lean beef lost almost twice as much weight after just eight weeks compared with those who ate an equal amount of carbs (think: crackers, chips). But don’t worry about packing on extra pounds from all that meat.
7) Legumes & Pulses
High in protein and fiber, legumes and pulses are a great weight loss food because they keep you full for a long time. Try eating some beans with every meal for a week. If you find yourself feeling bloated or gassy, head off your discomfort with an over-the-counter antihistamine. Alternatively, opt for lentils instead of other veggies — they’re smaller than other pulses and easier on your digestive system.
8) Eggs & Dairy Products
Eggs are one of nature’s best proteins, with all nine amino acids your body needs for muscle growth and energy. They’re also rich in choline, a powerful nutrient critical for fetal development. Research has found that healthy moms who consume an extra 300 milligrams of choline per day have a lower risk of giving birth prematurely.
Shrimp, oysters and salmon are all low in calories, but high in vitamins and minerals. Seafood is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which studies suggest can reduce symptoms of depression and prevent you from overeating. Fish oil can help you lose weight after pregnancy too; researchers believe it works by keeping your insulin levels steady so you don’t store fat easily.
10) Healthy Oils
A diet rich in healthy oils, such as olive and canola, is thought to help decrease inflammation. Just be sure to moderate your use of these fats—they are calorie dense and easy to overdo it on if you aren’t careful. Canola oil has a mild flavor, making it ideal for salad dressings or drizzling on cooked vegetables or fish.