By Toronto Nutritionist, Theresa Albert
What every mom really wants to do is to drop the baby weight safely, easily and once and for all. Any calorie restriction process (aka “diet”) will allow you to lose weight but they are not all the same. Cutting back from your ravenous baby growing days isn’t easy when they lead directly into your sleepless, time strapped months. And, the last thing you want to do is to ignore the food groups that will help you recover from pregnancy. Make no mistake; pregnancy itself takes a huge toll on the body. You need nutrients to put all the pieces back together again. If Humpty Dumpty only knew...
The simplest and smartest diet by far is called the DASH diet which was developed for those who have hypertension or high blood pressure. The acronym stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension and it is a sound, whole foods based approach to do just that. And a lot more. If your intake shifted to this simple, grandma’s advice type way of eating, you could also see a reduction in weight, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, fatigue... No matter which new piece of nutrition evidence arises, it still stacks up against this plan. And it is a lot like the infamously touted Mediterranean Diet.
The DASH diet allows all foods and food groups but it focuses on whole foods while removing sugars and bad fats. Removing these items necessarily avoids convenience and processed foods which is a good thing. The trick here is to keep a tally all day, every day of the kinds of foods you are eating. You want more from the top of the list below and less from the bottom. Vegetables are unlimited and everything else is measured.
In order to achieve success, your slow cooker is your best friend right now in terms of time and vegetable management. Each week load it up with virtually no calorie foods like canned tomatoes, chopped peppers, onions, carrots, celery and let vegetable soup nourish you all week long and whenever you are hungry.
Print this off and keep it on your fridge, do a tally for a few days and see if you can get:
Vegetables: 8 servings per day (unlimited)
½ cup cooked vegetables
½ cup raw vegetables
1 cup green salad
Keep going until you hit 8 servings and beyond!
Fruit: a maximum of 3 servings per day
1 small piece fresh fruit (plum to peach size)
½ cup berries
¼ cup dried fruit
Poultry, fish, and meat: exactly 1 serving per day
120 grams cooked (deck of cards 4-5 ounces)
Legumes, tofu and nuts: exactly 2 servings each day
½ cup cooked beans
¼ cup nuts
5 ounces tofu
Grains/starch: a maximum of 4 servings each day
1 slice of bread
½ cup cereal or rice
½ cup pasta
1 small potato
Oils and Fats: a maximum of 2 servings per day
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter or mayo
Desserts and Sweets: pick any 2 servings per day
1 small cookie
1 tsp sugar
5 ounces wine/ 12 ounces beer/1 ounce spirits
Wild Card: 1 serving per day (about 120 calories)
1 Extra protein or
1 extra tbsp oil
1 extra piece of bread
1 extra cookie
Tip: start your weight loss efforts with this typical day, if you are not losing weight, drop items off the list from the bottom up.
Beyond that, here are some tips and tricks to keep you from over indulging out of sheer exhaustion.
Try some of these recipes to make a different vegetable soup each week to keep you motivated and your taste buds inspired.
About the Author:
Theresa Albert is a nutritionist and food communications consultant. Her Food Network show,Just One Bite! aired for 5 years on both Food Network and BBC Kids. She is currently a trusted on-camera correspondent for CTV Newschannel as well as CBC and regular health expert on the daily lifestyle show, Steven and Chris which airs internationally.
Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Tweeters by Today’s Parent Magazine and one of Savvymom.ca’s 35 Favorite Bloggers, she is called for comment from every major magazine, newspaper and television outlet in Canada. She has a weekly column in the Metro Newspaper and regularly writes features for Today’s Parent, Canadian Family Magazine and blogs at Huffington Post.