Monthly Archives: March 2017

easy snacks for busy moms on the go

My first 3 months of motherhood taught me one thing about food. You never know when you will have a chance to eat or for how long.

I vividly remember one morning a few weeks in when I put the babe down for her nap and practically sprinted to the kitchen and started grabbing things out of the fridge and cupboard to put together a meal. I was starving and had no idea how long she would say asleep.

I inhaled my meal that I put together in minutes and she stayed asleep for another two hours. Ha! But it could have been one of her 15 minute cat naps, you just don’t know.

I have become even fonder of snacking than I was before but if I don’t play the snack game right I will end up snacking for hours on end, a few crackers here, a few raisins there, and never really feel the least bit satisfied.

With that I put together a few of my favorites snacks that are so easy and convenient that you don’t even have to think about anything, you just grab and go.

Yogurt.

My two favorites are Siggi’s yogurt and Fage 2%. Both are higher in protein to help keep you full and satisfied. Top with granola (Purely Elizabeth is my fav), chopped apples or berries, shaved chocolate or whatever sounds good to you.

 

Protein Bars.

The whole food foodies and clean eaters are angrily reading this right now about to say that protein bars are not healthy and are glorified candy bars. Maybe some of them but the idea with protein bars is that they are super convenient. If you are looking to add more protein to your diet and you like the way they taste then these are a great option for you.

 

Protein snack packs and such.

I have not eaten a snack pack since 5th grade but recently I am loving this quick and easy done for you option. These are from Costco and could practically be a meal but have apples, sunflower butter, cheese, and hard boiled eggs. Other varieties have grapes and apples, pretzels and cheese, veggies, and hummus and pita chips.

 

Meat and Cheese plate.

This one you actually have to open some containers, unless you put them in baggies in advance. Here I have a piece of salami, a couple slices of garlic chicken breast from the deli, and some cheese. Crackers are a good addition too to round out this filling snack.

Banana and nut butter.

A good old banana and peanut butter or in this case almond butter in an on-the-go packet. Some carbs to give you an energy boost and some fat to sustain it.


Lastly one that you actually have to prepare but will be so happy you did.

Egg veggies muffins.

  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup of egg whites
  • ⅓ cup of broccoli
  • 4 mini sweet bell peppers
  • ¼ cup of onion
  • 2 tbsp of feta cheese
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the veggies in a food processor (or chop finely if you don’t have one).

In another bowl whisk the egg and egg whites together.

Line your muffin tin with muffin liners, spray with a non stick spray and fill cups about ¾ full.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Freeze extra if you can’t use them all at once.

How I returned to exercise 0-5 months post baby

Daily walks from 10-40 minutes were my go-to during pregnancy and after.

Returning to exercise postpartum is more than just about getting clearance from your doctor and returning to your normal routine. It is more than just about dropping the baby weight, more than just kegals, and more than the general advice to just strengthen your core.

If I had been pregnant even just 3 years ago I would have felt the need to push my body more during and after pregnancy but I have learned so much in the past couple years and want to share some important guidelines and how I returned to exercise 0-5 months postpartum.

I do understand that many pregnant women want to “get their pre baby body back” and lose the “baby weight” and I don’t discount those goals and desires but there is a lot more to consider that your body will thank you for in the long run.

Regaining function of the body is one of the most overlooked aspects when moms return to exercise and that starts with strengthening pelvic floor and your core muscles. Core muscles referring not only to the abominals but the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and glutes. All these muscles help support the spine and pelvis and help stabilize the body.

If you are not so concerned with returning to fitness within the first few months after baby is born that is totally fine too but I do recommend including some alignment and breathing exercises in your daily routine to help regain stability and function of the pelvic floor and core. 

Even if you are past 6 months postpartum and have not returned to fitness simply start from the beginning. Don’t skip steps, evaluate your body and how it responds to increased activity, and have some patience and compassion for yourself.

The first week postpartum I started with 2 exercises.

Alignment and Breathing.

Alignment.

You can think of alignment as posture and this will be extremely important especially with all the hours you spend baby carrying, picking up and putting down, and baby gear loading and unloading.

Feet hip distance apart (think hip bones not the width your hips).

Stack the ribs over the hips so your are not flaring the ribcage out or tucking them down either.

Think of a string on your bum that you gently pull to “un tuck” your bum. Imagine your pelvis is a cup of tea. If you are holding it in front of you, you don’t want the tea to spill out the backside. You want to tilt the pelvis (cup of tea) forward just slightly to untuck the bum.

I know it is hard as a mom when you have so many things to think about during the day but try to check in with your alignment/posture occasionally to ensure you are keeping form (picking up baby, holding baby, picking something up off the ground). Even if you check in 1 time per day that is 150 times over the course of 5 months which is definitely better than 0.

Breathing and pelvic floor connection.

Kegels are often recommend to keep the pelvic floor strong but a more effective way goes beyond just clenching the pelvic region repeatedly. It is teaching the pelvic floor to engage and release with the breath not in isolation.

Your pelvic floor should relax on your inhale and your ribcage should gently expand. On your exhale you should feel your ribcage relax and feel your pelvic floor lift. This is a gentle movement that should not be used at full force.

I didn’t put any pressure to myself but just practiced breathing in my aligned position throughout the day whenever I thought of it when I was nursing or picking things up off the ground.

3 weeks postpartum.

In the beginning I cannot emphasize rest to recover enough. During this time I started to add in exercises like heel slides, clams, bridges, air squats, light upper body resistance band work incorporating the pelvic floor work, alignment and breathing. These exercise were done in 1-2 sets a day on days I could fit them in.

1 to 3 months postpartum.

At this time I started low intensity resistance/strength workouts and walking a few times a week on days I had more sleep. More being 5-6 hours of combined sleep. 

I kept the sessions under 30 minutes and again paid attention to alignment, breathing, pelvic floor engagement, and how my body felt during and after exercise. I rested a lot during my workouts and took 2-3 days off in between strength workouts. On days I had horrendous quality of sleep I did not workout.

A note on getting clearance from your doctor. This is not necessarily the time to return full force to exercise. Do check-ins with how your body feels during exercise, after, the day after, etc as the weeks go by before you bump up the frequency or intensity.

4-5 months postpartum.

I have recently added different lifts back into my strength workouts like assisted pull-ups, deadlifts and front squat with lighter weight. I still keep up my walking and really don’t do any cardio.

Note on returning to cardio. Be cautious with higher impact activities like running especially if you have any issue like leaking, pain, etc.

No matter what anyone says, even a doctor, these don’t have to be the new normal. Seek help and remember that the seemingly slow path will me more effective in the long run than trying to do too much too soon.

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