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Nutrition

  • 5 Meal Prep Secrets for the New Mom

    These tips will make cooking nutritious meals so much easier, even with a newborn around.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    As a new mom, we often forget about ourselves during the newborn phase. It usually takes a few months of parenting to figure out the balancing act of caring for your newborn, taking care of yourself and managing domestic responsibilities. Often times, finding the time to cook a healthy meal is easier said than done. So we don’t blame you for succumbing to the temptation of premade meals that you can heat up in mere minutes.

    But before you go reach for that take-out menu hanging on your fridge, we want to help you get all the nutrients that you, as a new mom, need. So here are 5 tips that will help you prep healthful homemade meals that will answer all of your nutritional needs.

    1. Time it well. If you’re tired and focused on baby, meal prepping will seem like a bigger chore than it actually is. But once you get into the groove of (new mom) things...

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  • Plant-based Proteins for Pregnancy

    Four “low-steaks” ways to up your protein intake.

    Article & Photo Courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    We all know that eating adequate protein is important–not only for us but also for the growing baby.  In recent years, there has been a shift towards incorporating dietary plant protein consumption versus animal protein due to the nature of our food supply and food quality.

    One of the biggest reasons health professionals are advocating plant protein during pregnancy and also why concepts such as #meatlessmonday are gaining popularity is due to the fact that animal protein has to be cooked and thus denatured (food safety protocol) before consumption–therefore you’re not getting the total protein from the original piece of meat. Because food safety is especially important during pregnancy, it is important to cook thoroughly before consumption. In addition, it’s harder on the body to digest animal protein, which could cause discomfort during pregnancy since our GI system slows down as the pregnancy progresses. Therefore, increasing plant protein during pregnancy is encouraged!

    Believe it or not, plant protein sources are abundant.  The most common ones are legumes, nuts and seeds.  So If you’ve been following a vegetarian or vegan diet, have no fear! You could continue the dietary pattern healthfully during your pregnancy and here’s how:

    1. Incorporate legumes into your soups or baked dishes.  Consider chickpeas instead of lean ground beef or turkey for a burger patty.  Use black beans as a base for your brownies. Add kidney beans or white cannelloni beans to your soups and stews.  Whip up some hummus for a snack.  Incorporating legumes into a variety of dishes will keep you full and provide adequate dietary protein.

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  • How to Build Your Toddler’s Independence for School

    10 tips to send baby off confident and prepared.

    Article & Photo Courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Whether you’re a first time mom or a veteran parent, sending your toddler off to school for the first time can be scary and emotional. Maybe you’re worried your kid will be shy, or the teacher won’t care for your baby the way you do. Maybe your child is experiencing some sad or anxious feelings about school….or maybe you are! After all, going off to school is not just a new adventure for them, but a new one for parents as well.

    As a parent, though, it’s your job to get your kid excited for the first day of school so they can feel confident and prepared. And whether you want to believe it not, most kids are more independent and ready for school than you think.

    Here’s 10 expert tips to help you send your kid out into the great big world confident and prepared.

    1. Make a Pre-First Day Visit: Prior to the first day of school, visit the school and check out your kid’s classroom. Get your kid familiar with what the building looks like and let them play on the school playground or sit in the front yard. You can even let your child wear his or her new backpack as “practice.” These visits increase your child’s comfort in their new setting.

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  • 10 Summer Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

    Beat the heat with these 10 summer foods.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    If you’re pregnant, the idea of a barbecue-filled summer is probably making you sweat. Well, good news mamas: hot weather may be uncomfortable and, well, hot, but it comes with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are refreshing and that contain essential nutrients for your health and baby’s. What’s more, they keep you satiated and hydrated during the warmer months. So summer is actually the perfect time to pack your meals with healthier, more nutritious foods. To help you get the most out of your summer feasts, we’ve compiled a list of summer pregnancy must-eats.

    Here are 10 summer foods that every pregnant women should eat.

    1. Microgreens are part of the leafy green family. They are tasty, versatile and nutritious. Microgreens contain Vitamin C and E (antioxidant), which will help you keep your...

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  • Crab Cake Recipe for Pregnancy

    There’s a new cookbook to feed your pregnancy symptoms away.

    Article & Photo courtesy of Well Rounded NY

    Every new mother-to-be gets a laundry list of things that she can’t eat when she’s pregnant. What about all the yummy things that she can (and should!) eat? Proper nutrition during pregnancy and after delivery is so critical — your body’s working so hard! Eating healthy foods not only makes sense, but also can lessen some major pregnancy discomforts, like nausea, water retention and cramping.

    Taking a “food-as-medicine” approach, Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, nutrition experts for SELF Magazine and registered dieticians, have released a cookbook designed to help you take the guesswork out of what you’ll need to fuel up pre- and post-partum. The best part about Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook is that it’s organized by what you really care about: relieving those less than lovely pregnancy symptoms. I totally needed “Chapter One: I’m Gonna Hurl…But I’m Still Hungry” when I was pregnant — in fact, I probably could’ve written a book with the same title. Other chapters include “My Chest Is On Fire” (heartburn) and “I’m Officially a Walking Snack Machine” (for nursing mamas).

    I’m not much of a chef, so I really appreciated the fact that all of the 120-plus recipes in this book require just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, are fairly quick to make, and don’t call for any fancy equipment or advanced cooking skills. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:

    Barley Crab Cakes (serves 4)

    6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    ½ cup shredded carrots
    ½ cup shredded zucchini
    ½ cup shredded onion
    ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
    ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

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  • What You Need to Know About Mercury and Pregnancy

    Mercury exposure is a major concern during pregnancy because of the damage it can do to a developing fetus. Coming in contact with higher than recommended levels of mercury while pregnant can cause lasting damage to a baby’s brain and nervous system. With stakes as high as these, it’s important to understand how we come into contact with mercury, and what we can do to be mindful of mercury exposure while expecting.

    Mercury is a metal neurotoxin that’s a real concern no matter what your condition. It’s especially critical to be wary of it when you’re expecting. You can be exposed to mercury in a variety of ways: by touching it, breathing it in, or eating it via foods in your diet. The most common way that a pregnant woman is exposed to mercury is through the seafood she eats. And while there are guidelines around fish consumption while pregnant, almost no one is advocating for full seafood abstinence. So how can you safely consume fish, and steer clear of other mercury exposure?

    Watching your seafood intake is critical. Mercury collects in streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans and also collects in the systems of the fish that inhabit these bodies of water. It will be passed on to you, and your growing baby, if you eat those exposed fish. Of course, many fish also contain brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and have other benefits for your health. The FDA states that eating fish is the best way to get healthy fatty acids, while also loading up on lean protein, iodine, and vitamin D. In that case, what’s the safest option? According to the most recent recommendations by the FDA, women can eat 8-12 ounces of seafood a week. However, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that pregnant and nursing women consume 1-2 four-ounce servings of designated “safe” fish each week. It’s important to note that serving size isn’t the only thing to watch: the type of seafood you eat is just as relevant as the amount you eat per week.

    The seafood sweet spot is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. As a pregnant woman, you are officially on Seafood Watch. Fortunately, there’s a lot of help in determining the best seafood to eat. EWG has created a fantastic digital tool called the Seafood Calculator. It takes in a few pieces of information like age and weight, and serves you a highly detailed, custom seafood list. It gives you the kind of fish, the recommended quantity per week of that fish, the projected mercury amount, and the omega-3 amount and shows you the Best Bets food for your diet.

    Another helpful tool is the Seafood Watch mobile app, which gives you the most up-to-date advice on eating varieties of fish. Overall, the best choices for your high omega-3/low mercury ratio will be salmon (specifically wild, not farm-raised), sardines, rainbow trout, and pollock.

    Memorize the seafood-to-avoid list while pregnant. Fish like swordfish, marlin, shark, and tuna should not make it onto your plate during pregnancy. These fish are larger and higher on the food chain, so they tend to collect more mercury than other fish. Tuna steak is on the list, and the safety of canned tuna is debated back and forth. The FDA places canned tuna on the “good choice” list for pregnant women, meaning that one serving per week is deemed safe. However, EWG urges pregnant women to avoid canned tuna completely. And if you’re eating fish that’s been caught from local waters, you should look up the local advisories. If you can’t find that information, then limit your intake of local-water fish to 6 ounces or less per week.   

    Make sure you’re up on your omega-3’s. A big concern about pregnant women avoiding seafood is that their omega-3 fatty acid intake will be too low. According to the Mayo Clinic, “the omega-3 fatty acids in many fish, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can promote baby's brain development.” Omega-3 fatty acids have immense benefits, and there are other ways to hit your daily amount without loading up on seafood. Foods like flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and edamame are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Some foods like eggs, milk, and yogurt may be fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, too, so read the labels on these products when you’re shopping. Fish oil supplements are another choice during pregnancy, but be sure to talk with your doctor before you start taking anything supplemental. It’s also important to note that fish liver supplements, like cod liver oil, are not pregnancy safe, so pay close attention to what you’re bringing home.

    While other mercury exposure is rare, it’s still important to note. Elemental mercury can be found in the inside of fever thermometers; some antique clocks, barometers, or mirrors; some button cell batteries; and some jewelry (primarily not made in the U.S.). Be extra-aware of what you’re touching and exposing yourself to while you’re expecting. Dental fillings made from amalgam also contain mercury and other metals, so if you need a tooth filled while pregnant, be sure to discuss it with your dentist and doctor.

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