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post-natal sports nutrition special: Part 3

Welcome to our third instalment of our post-natal sports nutrition special. As you know, Leah from Body Positive Athletes initiated this collaboration after coming face-to-face with the inappropriate nutrition messages for new mums. Leah wanted to make sure that she was nourishing her body, helping it repair and feeding it the best foods to sustain the high energy levels required for a new mum that was looking at recommencing her athletic lifestyle.

So for this instalment we explored the best snacks that not only taste good, but provide optimal nutrition in order to prevent that dreaded 'sugar trap.' 

Leah: "What are some food examples of the extra calories that breastfeeding mums need in those early stages?"

Breastfeeding mums will certainly burn more kilojoules (energy) and have other nutrient demands (such as iodine) than usual.  Most breast feeding mums will need an extra 2000 kilojoules (approximately 500 calories) on top of their usual intake. These extra kilojoules should be from healthy foods that will also give you a nutrient boost (not just ‘empty’ kilojoules). Some food examples providing 2000 kilojoules include:

  • Half a cup of oats, cooked in 1 cup of milk with a tablespoon of nut butter stirred through.
  • Half a cup of mixed nuts and a piece of fruit.
  • Two Ryvita crisp breads with half an avocado and a small tin of tuna.
  • A multigrain roll with avocado, cheese and tomato and a small glass of milk.
  • Two slices of grainy toast with 1/3 cup of hummus and tomato.
  • A smoothie made with 300ml of milk, 3 tablespoons of yoghurt, ¼ cup of oats, banana and a drizzle of honey.
  • 200g of yoghurt with 1 cup of fruit salad and 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds.

Leah: "How can we tailor our daily nutrition to maximise our energy and not fall into that ‘sugar’ trap?"

Using a lot of the tips that we have already discussed can be really helpful to maintain energy levels, preventing that energy slump and those sugar cravings. Some key things as already discussed include:

  • Enjoy regular, balanced meals containing plenty of vegetables, some good quality protein and some low GI carbohydrate such as quinoa, barley, oats, corn, wholegrain bread, low GI brown rice, legumes, milk and yoghurt. Leaving one of these components out can really lead to an energy slump.
  • Use healthy fats to keep you feeling full, including oily fish, olive oil, hummus, avocado, nuts and seeds.
  • Have nourishing snacks on hand that will help to stabilise energy and hunger levels. Healthy snacks include chopped up apple with a spoon of nut butter for dipping, 200g Greek yoghurt with berries, wholegrain crisp bread with avocado, nuts and dried fruit, boiled eggs with veggie sticks and hummus, a bowl of oats, cubes of low fat cheese with dried fruit and a slice of fruit loaf with ricotta cheese and pear.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking with each meal and while breast feeding (if relevant).
  • If you have sweet cravings just ask yourself if you really actually feel like your fav sweet treat or if you are actually hungry or thirsty. If you do really feel like a sweet treat, just have it.  Eat it slowly, really enjoying it and savouring the moment – all foods can be included in a healthy balanced eating pattern.

What are your favourite nourishing sacks that help you dodge the energy slump?