Breastfeeding jump starts your post-baby weight loss, burning 300 to 500 calories every day. However, to regain your pre-baby figure, you want to design a healthy and balanced meal plan to help you meet your weight-loss goals. A balanced diet does not interfere with successful breastfeeding. Discover healthy meal options for your unique dietary needs as a breastfeeding mother.
Meal Planning Tips
Healthy eating is important for breastfeeding mothers, who should make a few considerations when devising a smart meal plan. First, do not drastically cut calories. Because you are burning calories while breastfeeding, you can eat more. Breastfeeding mothers should eat at least 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, according to KellyMom. La Leche League International encourages breastfeeding mothers to wait until their baby is two months old to actively try to lose weight. When you start dieting, drop calories gradually to avoid an impact on your milk supply.
Breastfeeding mothers require a nutrient-rich diet to ensure both mom and baby are getting the nutrients they need to thrive. A weight-loss meal plan should include calcium, which is depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Yogurt, milk, cheese, oranges and tofu are good sources of calcium. Turkey, chicken, beans, peas, whole grain bread, and broccoli can increase your iron levels. Fruits, green leafy vegetables and dried beans offer healthy doses of folic acid.
Dietary changes should be your focus as you meal plan. KellyMom suggests a high protein intake -- 65 grams a day -- and a low fat intake -- less than 25 percent of your total daily calories. Balanced meals include foods from a variety of food groups; in addition to protein, your meals should include fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates and whole grains. Eliminate empty calories from your meals -- such calories come from greasy fast foods, high-calorie soft drinks, fatty meats and desserts.
As a breastfeeding mother, you're burning more calories and, thus, noticing increased hunger. Consider eating smaller meals and snacks in between rather than two to three large meals to help you combat your hunger and prevent your body from going into starvation mode. In between well-balanced small meals, you can enjoy healthy snacks such as raw vegetables and dip, granola and yogurt, trail mix, smoothies, cottage cheese or hard-boiled eggs. You can feel satisfied, eat healthily and lose weight at the same time.