Nothing changes your life like having kids. And kids can cause major changes to your diet if you’re not careful. From the moment in pregnancy when that queasiness starts and the only thing you can stomach is carbs to that postpartum ravenous hunger that can’t be squelched. Then there are the toddler years and snacks 24/7 and…you get the idea.
For me, pregnancy cravings were ferocious. If left unsatisfied, my brain was convinced that my baby was missing a key nutrient that could only be found in s’mores. I tried to keep my splurges in moderation, but there is just no arguing with pregnant hunger. Now that I’ve got two kids ages 3 and under, it’s all too easy to fall into their snack-all-day eating habits. I’ve found myself reaching for sweets as an afternoon pick-me-up. And it’s easy to outsmart a kid to steal a nugget or three (Is that Elmo!?).
But knowing the mommy diet pitfalls can help you be aware of what to watch out for when it comes to your post-baby nutrition habits so that you only have to worry about the pregnancy weight—not any pounds you gain from eating too many goldfish crackers!
9 Mommy Diet Traps To Avoid 1 of 10
Want to be a healthier mom? You'll want to avoid these nine diet traps!
Eating For Two 2 of 10
The excuse that you're eating for two is just that—an excuse. While you are eating for two, you're eating for yourself and a teeny tiny baby. That's no reason to double up on entrees or to order dessert with every meal. Sure, treat yourself. You deserve it! But don't use pregnancy as an excuse to eat what you know is way too much. Your body only needs between 300 to 500 extra calories to support that baby. Besides, if you overeat, you'll just contribute to that heartburn that wakes you up in the middle of the night. I know from experience!
Photo credit: genue.luben, Flickr
Eating Whatever You Want When Pregnant 3 of 10
Besides watching how much you eat during pregnancy, be mindful of what you're eating. It's not that the s'mores or milkshake splurges will hurt if you eat them in moderation, but be mindful that these splurges can become habit. And the last thing you want when you're trying to get rid of the baby weight is a sugar addiction or a nightly s'mores habit.
Photo credit: Michael Bentley, Flickr
Drinking Too Many Calories 4 of 10
When the baby comes, a couple of things happen that might ramp up your liquid calorie intake. First, the sleep deprivation might drive you to Starbucks for a caffeinated jolt to get you through the day. And second, you may be driven to drink alcohol because you're celebrating the ability to do so now that you're not pregnant. But beware of the liquid calories. Keep your coffee simple to keep the calorie count down for your cup of Joe, and watch the alcohol (which you'll only be drinking in moderation if you're breastfeeding anyway.)
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Sugar Pick-Me-Ups 5 of 10
I'm a morning coffee drinker always, but I rarely hit the coffee for a caffeine boost later in the day. Instead, I got into the bad habit of a hit of sugar to give me a pick-me-up from my sleep deprivation. It took me a while to break the habit, so go for healthy snacks when you need a boost, and save your splurges for occasional treats, not everyday musts.
Photo credit: TALMADGEBOYD, Flickr
Eating The Leftovers 6 of 10
Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, so it often seems like they're not even touching any of their food. And why throw away perfectly good steamed broccoli or a piece of chicken? It's totally fine to munch on the untouched leftovers, but make sure you're accounting for that when you sit down to your meal.
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Eating Food Marketed To Kids 7 of 10
Speaking of fish crackers, watch the types of foods you eat. Some of the foods kids munch on are high in sugar and low in fiber and protein, and thus will add calories without sticking to your ribs. Along the same lines, watch out for kids' juices, which pack a lot of calories and sugar with little nutritional benefit.
Photo credit: meddygarnet, Flickr
Snacking Constantly 8 of 10
Kids are always hungry. My 3-year-old's favorite thing to say is "I'm starving," usually within 15 minutes of a perfectly balanced meal. When growth spurts hit, though, kids are hungry all the time. They snack often. So don't get in the habit of snacking with them each time they need half a banana or a bucket of fish crackers. Check in with your own hunger to see if you're truly hungry or if you're just eating because the food is there and it looks kinda tasty.
Photo credit: anotherlunch.com, Flickr
Hitting The Drive-Thru 9 of 10
When exhausted, dinner can seem an insurmountable obstacle. That can quickly lead to hitting the drive-thru for the whole family. But having a few healthy staples that you can make within minutes available at all times can mean the difference between a gut-busting, high-calorie meal and a healthier one. Even low-sodium soups, healthier microwave meals, and pre-washed salad mixes with pre-sliced cooked chicken can be great fast meals in a pinch. Or, have low-cal options in mind when you do hit the drive-thru.
Photo credit: dickuhne, Flickr
Not Making The Weaning Adjustment 10 of 10
All women are different but weaning your baby can do a couple of different things to your weight. With my first child, I held onto 10 pounds until I stopped breastfeeding, well past 12 months. Then, the pounds fell off. With my son, I dropped the weight within 6 months and gained weight when I weaned him. Breastfeeding requires an additional 300 to 500 calories each day, but when I weaned, I didn't really pare down my eating habits. I quickly learned that yeah, you can't eat like you're breastfeeding when you're not and not gain weight!
Photo credit: bardgabbard, Flickr