We all know we feel better when we eat a nourishing diet. Perhaps we have more energy, a smoother digestive system, or maybe we sleep better or experience less anxiety. Sometimes we feel really in control of our nutrition and there are times where that seems out of reach. Maybe we’re busy at work, or transitioning back to work after maternity leave, or we’re home with small ones during the day and have a hard time prioritizing our own meals. We all experience periods of less than optimal nutrition. I know this from my own personal experience and from consulting with so many women about nutrition. It’s challenging to nourish ourselves consistently well.
In busy times I really focus on simple foods that add a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals to a busy Mom’s diet. These are all foods that most of us are familiar with but can be nice to focus on when we’re busy. These ideas can nourish a pregnancy, a breastfeeding Mom or a Mom with kids of any age.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
There is actually new research linking high levels of vitamin C intake with feeling less stress! Literally people with lots of vitamin C in their bodies experience a reduction in the mental and physical toll of stress. Typically when I am so busy that I’m not eating that well, then I also feel stress. So I always reach for vitamin C rich foods which very conveniently are pretty easy eat on the go: green and red bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, sea vegetables and kale (think easy to grab kale chips).
I am in love with sprouts as they are SO easy to put on just about everything. Sprouts have an incredibly high amount of bioavailable vitamins and minerals since they contain everything a plant will need to grow. They are also rich in enzymes that aid in digestion. My personal favorites are broccoli, kale or sunflower sprouts. Also, look for sprouted nuts and seeds for a great on the go snack.
*It is common advice for women to avoid raw vegetable sprouts during pregnancy.
This tea is a wonderful tonic for pregnancy and beyond as it contains many herbs including oatstraw and red raspberry leaf and many others. Oatstraw is known as a nerve tonic to help reduce anxiety and support restful sleep. Red raspberry leaf is well known to support the female hormonal cycle. You can make a batch at night and drink it throughout the day. It’s not just for pregnancy!
These come in so many different varieties from dulse flakes to hijiki or kombu and can be used in a multitude of ways. These foods are high in iodine, iron and vitamin C (see above) but also there is new research into the positive impact of sea vegetables in supporting female hormone regulation. I use these foods in many different ways but when I am busy, I put dulse flakes on my foods or rehydrate hijiki (poor boiling water over it and let it sit for 10-20 minutes) and put it over rice or just snack on them.
This is just an easy way to get the benefits of vegetables while also getting the benefits of fermented foods. Fermentation can help break down the nutrients in food to a more bio-available form so we get more nutrients while also getting great probiotics to support digestion and the immune system. These days we can make our own varieties or get wonderful locally made store bought ones.
Coconut oil is an incredibly nutrient dense food that provides healthy highly absorbable fats. These fats support a healthy metabolism, hormone regulation, the immune system and stress relief. It’s such a great food for busy times and it’s especially nourishing for pregnant and/or breastfeeding mothers too. You can easily put it in smoothies, just melt some in a hot beverage or lather it on your skin for a great moisturizer.