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  Recovering from pregnancy and birth – Food  faux pas
Maybe it would be easier for me to eat healthily if I knew what not to eat. Can you give me some guidelines?

The first thing to avoid is missing meals, or sticking to very restrictive, fashion diets. Yes, most of us have tried the banana and milk diet, the grape diet, the cabbage soup diet. This is really not the time for that kind of craziness! You need to eat regularly, even if it is small snack type meals every few hours, in order to keep your energy steady. You also need to try and match your nutritional needs by eating a wide range of healthy foods.

It may be hard to believe, but the average person in Britain eats their own body weight in sugar annually. Think of the strain on teeth, digestive system and skin. It’s a horrible thought. Sugar is empty energy. Try and avoid it as much as possible. If you need a sweet snack, try and opt for fruit rather than cakes, biscuits or sweets. Fruit takes longer to digest, releasing sugar in a steady stream into your blood, instead of the instant sugar rush that sweets and cake give. Fruit contains fibre, which is vital for the health of your digestion, as well as vitamins and minerals. Look out for sugar in unexpected sources, such as soups and salad dressings. It adds up surprisingly quickly.

The more processed the food the less likely it is to contain much nutrition. These types of food also often contain all kinds of things that aren’t good for your health. These include colourants, preservatives and flavour enhancers such as MSG. Try and choose food that is as close to its original form as possible! Complex carbohydrates are a good example of this. White bread, which is considerably more refined, is not as nourishing as brown bread. Try not to eat the white version of carbohydrates – rice, pasta, bread. The brown or wholewheat version is a much better choice.

Like sugar, salt is one of those additives that you can overdo without realizing it, especially if you are eating ready prepared foods. These are likely to have quantities of salt in as taste enhancers. If you are doing your own cooking, it should be fine to add salt to the food in small amounts. (Of course, you should not use salt if you have been medically advised not to) Never add salt to baby’s food. Their systems are not able to cope with much of this additive, and also it is better to let them get used to the natural taste of food.

Remind yourself when you make good food choices that growing up in a home where healthy food is the norm really gives your baby a good start in life. Not only will baby be more healthy though a healthy diet, but will also be learning eating habits to last a lifetime. That’s a good reason as ever to start making wise food choices now!

See also:

Recovering from pregnancy and birth

Recovering from pregnancy and birth - Healthy food choices

Recovering from pregnancy and birth - Role of diet

Recovering from pregnancy and birth - Role of husband

Recovering from pregnancy and birth - Simplifying healthy eating

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