“Sleep when the baby sleeps, eat what the toddler eats.” That’s what they should really say.
After giving birth, I was able to get my body “back” fairly quickly. It wasn’t until weaning my son that reality hit. The “No Let-Down Let Down.” All the extra calories I was happily adding to my diet during pregnancy and while nursing him were no longer needed. Over a year after having my baby, I started putting back on the baby weight! Over two years on an increased calorie diet had done a number on my sense of what normally eating looked like. That’s when it dawned on me: “Eat what the toddler eats”.
Be a Picky Eater
Eat REAL food. I’m not going to feed my child food with ingredients he wouldn’t be able to pronounce (or that I can’t even read.) If it doesn’t die (or has a super long shelf life…think Twinkies) it probably isn’t real food. The more steps it took from being real food to being the thing I put in my grocery cart, the less likely I am to buy it. Be picky about what you buy, because if there’s not junk in your house to eat, you won’t eat junk. Try to eat quality food from all of the food groups throughout the day.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Don’t stop drinking all that water you were dutifully sipping while pregnant and nursing. My father always says, “Your body cries out for water in many ways!” It’s true. Chug your water every time your toddler sips theirs. Get out that glorious giant mug you got in the hospital and carry it with you everywhere. Your adult sippie cup should be your new best friend.
Veggies At Every Meal (even if it means sneaking them in)
I’m not a big fan of “sneaking” veggies into food. I prefer hyping vegetables up as normal and yummy rather than something we have to survive. But, when that doesn’t work, we do what we have to do. Even at breakfast there WILL BE vegetables on our plates. Have your little one rip spinach for their scrambled eggs or make smoothies jam packed with veggies and flax seed. You would be amazed at the flavor masking power of just a few frozen berries!
Even our (whole wheat) French Toast has zucchini or squash shredded into the egg mixture. None of these vegetable are hidden in our home. He watches it all go in as he “helps” me cook and we talk about each ingredient. The great thing about toddlers is that you can convince them pretty much anything is normal or even awesome. Another easy (and cheap) way to incorporate those vegetables is to half the amount of meat in any of your ground beef/turkey recipes and bulk it back up with vegetables.
Mommy juice that is. Yes, wine has a ton of sugar in it too. We skip juice altogether, but many moms do a 3-1 ratio water to juice. That’s a little harder to accomplish with wine. Maybe just drink it one in every three times you normally would? Maybe switch out the Olivia Pope sized glass for one that holds less than the entire bottle? Maybe just ignore that you read any of this?
You Need Fat
GOOD fats. More of his diet should be made up of fat than mine, but either way it needs to be good fats. His body utilizes fats in a way that my body just doesn’t anymore. Specifically his brain. His brain is running mental marathons while mine is just getting out of bed. We use good fats for all of our sautéing, and I’m not shy when it comes to adding it to his meals. It’s harder than you might think to add fat to your diets without also adding sugar or sodium. Fish, avocados, and nuts are great staples, but keep looking. My hunt for his full-fat yogurt that didn’t also have added sugar actually had me audibly grumbling in the store. I know this because a lady looked over at me like I was crazy.
Maybe I am crazy. But maybe I’m not. There are a lot of lessons our toddler’s diet can teach us. More so, there are a lot of lessons we are trying to teach our kids about food that we should really be teaching ourselves.
weight gain after weaning