Food to keep your energy levels up as a new parent

Hunger is just going to hit and you’re going to need to feed it. That’s the reality of being a new parent. With a kid to focus on, there’s rarely any time for long drawn out meals, cooking or eating them. A lack of sleep may leave you craving junk food and an empty cupboard may have you tapping up Uber Eats for another takeaway order. A bit of advance planning and arming your partner with a shopping list each time they leave the house is going to make a world of difference. We’ve jotted down some things that ought to be on that list. While you’ve probably usually got all these food groups covered, it’s important to check-in with yourself when you’re looking after a newborn. Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself; it will not be too long before you’re getting back into a routine.

We’re aiming for balance

Balance will get you far. Top up your fruit bowl when it’s getting low. Sign up to a fruit and veg delivery. Make sure each of your meals has a bit of this and that from each of the different food groups. You know the drill.

Carbs are your friends (well, most of them)

The complex ones — think wholegrain rice, bread and pasta — are where the most part of your energy is going to be coming from and looking after a baby requires a lot of that. Starting your day with overnight oats and adding a side of quinoa or buckwheat to your dinner is just what your body needs. Skip white-flour based food and white pasta, these can make you feel more tired.

Get in on the grains and oily fish

The last thing you need is to start feeling deficient in something while you’re caring for your kid. Stay on top of your protein intake by factoring beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat into your diet. This will keep your body ticking over and lower your odds of getting sick.

Don’t miss out on iron-rich foods

Iron is another essential for staying healthy. You’re going to get it from dark-green leafy vegetables, red meat, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereal. Don’t stress about it too much; if you’re eating a balanced diet, you should be getting the right amount of iron.

Eat regularly

Yes, you still have time to eat at least three times a day. Don’t push through the whole day without a meal, only to eat a huge dinner in the evening. If you’re not feeling up to more substantial meals, try smaller ones and healthy snacks. Don’t skip breakfast either; this can make you feel more tired and make you more likely to overeat later.

Consider taking supplements

Feel like you’re eating all the right things but still exhausted? Speak to your doctor. While most people don’t need supplements when eating a balanced diet, you may be missing something you don’t realise and a supplement might help.

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