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Taking Care of Your Diet After Pregnancy

When youíve just given birth, your body has accomplished a major feat Ė you need to eat well to replenish your energy stores and help your body heal. If youíre breastfeeding, you also need to consume healthy foods so that you can heal and make enough milk for your baby. If you try to lose weight too soon after pregnancy, you wonít have enough energy to take care of yourself and your baby.

Many women are anxious to return to their pre-pregnancy size once the baby is born. Celebrity mothers make it look easy, but itís important to remember that those mothers have the resources to hire personal trainers, personal chefs and nannies to watch their babies while they work out for hours each day. You can use them as inspiration, but you canít realistically expect to emulate their results.

You should also keep in mind that pregnancy can make changes in your body that are permanent. For example, your hips and your waist may be slightly wider and these changes may stick around. Some women also gain a half or full shoe size while pregnant. Itís also likely that your bra band size may go up. Accept these changes with the knowledge that your body worked hard to take care of your baby and that a healthy baby is far more important than achieving any particular size or number on a scale.

If you want to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy, remember that the safest way to do so is to eat a healthy diet and be physically active once your doctor says itís OK for you to exercise. And as an added bonus, breastfeeding your baby isnít only good for your baby's health and for yours, but will also help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight more quickly.

Most women need between 1,200 and 2,000 calories each day to be healthy. To lose weight, you should reduce your calories by about 500 per day; however, you should never eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day. Consuming less food than that can cause your metabolism to slow, making it harder to lose weight and easier to regain weight once you start eating normally again. You may find that just by eating a little less and moving a little more, you can start to see a difference.

Low fat foods that are high in fiber are a good choice for any healthy eating plan, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is a good way to improve your health and lose weight. You can chose from fruits like apples, berries and citrus fruits, while vegetables like carrot, jicama and broccoli can make a healthy snack with some low fat dip. Try eating grilled vegetables as a side dish, or you can include vegetables in soups and even use vegetable sauces, like salsa and chutney, with your main dish.

Studies have shown that drinking milk can help you lose weight. Milk is also good source of calcium, which every woman needs. Low fat or fat free milk, cheese and yogurt are good choices. Avoid drinking calories in other forms, such as juice, coffee, hot chocolate and soda.

The remainder of your diet should be made up of whole grain products, protein and healthy fats. Donít try to eliminate all fat from your diet Ė your body needs fat to maintain your skin, feed your brain and absorb essential vitamins. Healthy sources of fat include avocados, nuts, nut butters and oils, and olive oil.

Eat regular meals and snacks. Do not allow yourself to become too hungry, as this can lead to binge or out-of-control eating. Take your time with meals and focus on enjoying your food rather than using food as a distraction.

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