Looking after Mum this Mother’s Day

Guest blog by Sarah Schenker

If this is your first Mother’s Day you are no doubt looking forward to being spoilt, be it with a bunch of flowers, a cup of tea in bed or just an hour to yourself to paint your toenails! It’s really common for new mums to put everyone else and their demands first and put their own needs to the bottom of the pile. As understandable as it is, you could actually make life a little easier by taking some time to look after yourself and in particular think about your diet. What you eat can have a big impact on your mood, energy levels, health and wellbeing and the happier and more energetic you feel the better equipped you are to deal with broken sleep, smelly nappies and constant feeding.

Photo © Adrian Lawrence Photography

To maintain a balanced mood and a sense of wellbeing ensure your diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, good quality protein and all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Along with all this you need plenty of water to maintain good hydration.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of relying on sugary drinks and snacks as a quick energy fix when your energy levels are flaking. But this temporary fix can actually do more harm than good as fluctuations in blood sugar levels can have a negative effect on mood and energy. After eating sugary foods or refined carbs, blood sugar levels can rise rapidly which may cause feelings of stress and anxiety, only to crash soon after, which can then leaving you feeling lethargic and in a low mood.

Rather than grabbing biscuits and fizzy drinks to keep you going through the day, aim to eat three balanced meals and eat with your baby as this provides a great opportunity to bond over food and your baby will pick up on good eating habits. Share nutritious foods such as avocados and bananas, while you can mash these for your baby, you can throw into a salad or chop into yogurt for yourself.

Photo © Adrian Lawrence Photography

You may have a little baby weight to lose, but this is not the time for fad diets. Try to eat plenty of fruit or veg at each meal and include some carbohydrate and protein. Wholegrain carbohydrate foods such as brown rice and quinoa are a much better choice as threes foods releases energy slowly, keeping blood sugar levels steady and maintaining a more balanced, calm mood. Protein foods such as lean meat, fish and eggs can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer which can help to control appetite and reduce cravings for sugary and fatty snacks between meals. Feeling more in control of your appetite can reduce stress levels and help you make healthier choices at meal times.

Going sugar free doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a treat, so try this naturally sweet recipe to indulge yourself this Mother’s Day.

Butter Bean Brownies

Butter beans may not be the first thing you think of for a brownie, but the addition of the beans provides a lovely moist texture and boosts the fibre content making them filling and satisfying.

Photo © Adrian Lawrence Photography

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 40-45 mins
Makes 16

Ingredients
Butter or oil, for greasing
400g canned butter beans, rinsed and drained
1–2 tbsp (15–30ml) water
250g apple sauce
200g self-raising flour
2 tsp (10ml) baking powder
3 tbsp (45ml) cocoa powder
3 eggs
A few drops of vanilla extract
6 dates, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas 4) and lightly grease a 26 x 18cm baking or traybake tin.

Place the beans and water in a food processor and whizz together until smooth – you are looking for the consistency of mashed potato. Add more water if the mixture looks too dry. Add the apple sauce and process again for 1–2 minutes, until smooth and well combined.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add one-third of the bean mixture to the egg mixture together with one-third of the flour mixture and fold in carefully. Repeat twice more until all the ingredients are gently incorporated.

Add the vanilla extract and dates and gently fold through. Pour the mixture into the baking or traybake tin and spread evenly.

Bake for 40–45 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting the brownie into squares.

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2–3 days, or open-freeze the squares on a baking sheet before transferring to a freezer bag. To thaw, remove however many squares you require from the freezer and let them defrost at room temperature.

For more delicious recipes for you and your baby to share, order My Sugar Free Baby and Me at discount from www.bloomsbury.com

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