If you're a woman who has just given birth, or are about to give birth, a meal plan comprised of healthy and nutritious meals is probably not what you’re looking for at the moment, especially if you tried to eat healthy during your 9-month gestation – as you should! Instead, you probably couldn’t wait to taste your favorite food once again.
Ms. Fia Batua, a medical nutritionist from The GoodBox PH, a service that offers customized diet plans for weight management and medical-related diet programs, says, "The best meal plan for women who have just given birth and hope to recover quickly—plus breastfeed—should be balanced, energy-loaded and nutritionally healthy," Batua explains. "Diet plans for new moms are crucial, especially when they need to maintain their own well-being, as well as that of their newborn babies."
Batua emphasizes, though, that moms who wish to lose their pregnancy weight must not restrict their diet "because over-restriction may lead to lack of calories consumed, poor breastfeeding milk and total nutrition deficiency for the mother and the baby."
"If you are nursing, the breastmilk you will provide your baby will have the same quality as the type of food you choose," she expounds, “so make sure your diet can provide enough energy and nutrients for you and your baby."
To help moms get started, Batua prepared a sample 7-day meal plan, with the reminder that all diet plans should be well-customized and designed, as each person is different based on their sizes and needs. "Always consult a licensed nutritionist dietitian, especially if you have a medical condition" she cautions.
Day 1 Breakfast: 1 cup whole grain cereals with skimmed milk Lunch: 1 cup brown rice, 1 piece chicken breast, vegetables on the side, 1 banana (like Tinolang Manok; see recipe below) Dinner: 1 piece grilled tuna/chicken sandwich with vegetables (like Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich; see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Whole grain cereals are a good source of fiber, and are enriched with essential nutrients. Brown rice served with lean meat like chicken breast, plus vegetables and fruit comprise a balanced meal, which helps provide maximum energy throughout the day. In the evening, when you are probably already tired from a full day of caring for your baby, sandwiches are an easy way of providing a balanced meal.
Day 2 Breakfast: 2 pieces of whole wheat bread,1 boiled egg and 1 piece of fruit Lunch: 1 cup brown rice, 1 piece grilled salmon and vegetables (like Grilled Salmon with Pepper and Onion Salsa; see recipe below) Dinner: 1 cup brown rice, 1 piece steamed fish and vegetables (like Steamed Fish with Green Onions and Cilantro; see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Eggs—especially the DHA-fortified ones—can help boost the essential fatty acids in the mother’s milk. On the other hand, salmon is rich in DHA, which is important for your breastfeeding baby's development. Salmon is also low in mercury content compared to other types of fish. Brown rice is low in energy density, so it helps fill you up with fewer calories, compared to white rice.
Day 3 Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal with low fat milk and fruit Lunch: 1 cup brown rice, 2 pieces roasted chicken breast, served with vegetables (like Roast Chicken; see recipe below) Dinner: 1 cup brown rice, 1 piece fish fillet, plus green leafy vegetables (like the 15-minute Fish Fillet; see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Oatmeal is heart-friendly and can help lower cholesterol and fat deposits, and is a good source of energy and fiber. It's also known to be a galactagogue. Chicken breast meat is low in saturated fat, and is a good source of protein. Green leafy vegetables are full of vitamins A and C, iron and antioxidants, and are a good source of non-dairy calcium.
Day 4 Breakfast: 3 pieces whole wheat pandesal, 1 egg and tomato omelette, plus fruit Lunch: 1 cup brown rice, 2 pieces fish (Avoid those that are high in mercury content), vegetables and fruit (like Mustasa-wrapped Tilapia in Gata; see recipe below) Dinner: 1 cup brown rice, 1 piece chicken breast served with green leafy vegetables (like the One-pan Roast Chicken with Vegetables; see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Eggs are generally known to be high in nutritional value, and are an excellent source of protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids. Fish that are low in mercury content—like anchovies, tilapia, catfish and salmon—are a good source of protein, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
Day 5 Breakfast: 1 cup whole grain cereals with low fat milk and berries Lunch: 1 cup rice, 2 pieces chicken breast, served with vegetables and fruit (like Hainanese Chicken; see recipe below) Dinner: 2 pieces whole grain bread, served with lettuce-orange salad (like Mandarin Chicken Salad; see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Berries are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, while oranges and other citrus fruit provide a much-needed vitamin C boost.
Day 6 Breakfast: 1 cup brown rice, 1 scrambled egg white, 2 slices papaya Lunch: 1 cup tomato tuna whole wheat pasta, fruit, 1 glass fresh orange juice (like Tuna Pasta with Garlic and Tomatoes, see recipe below) Dinner: 1 cup brown rice, 2 matchbox-sized pieces of lean beef, plus green vegetables (like Easy Nilagang Baka; see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Egg whites are a good source of protein, while whole wheat pasta is great for moms because it's low in fat but high in fiber. Papayas, on the other hand, are an excellent source of vitamin C — according to Medical News Today, one single medium fruit provides 224% of your daily needs! Lean beef is high in iron, though Batua advises that you make sure to consume only 1 to 2 matchbox-sized portions of it at one meal. “Red meat should only be eaten 2 to 3 times a week,” she adds.
Day 7 Breakfast: 1 cup whole grain cereal with low fat milk and fruit Lunch: 1 cup brown rice, 2 pieces of fish, 1 cup of vegetables and fruit (like Baked Fish with Vegetables and Coconut Cream; see recipe below) Dinner: 1 cup brown rice, 3 to 5 pieces boiled/steamed shrimps, and 1 cup green vegetables (like Steamed Shrimps in Young Coconut Milk, see recipe below)
Why they’re good for you: Shrimps are a good source of protein, vitamin B3 and zinc. Zinc helps regulate your body's energy expenditure. “However, as with other kinds of food, don't overeat [them],” Batua cautions.