Jul 25, 2022 • 5 min read

Summer Eating for your Mom Journey: Tips from a Zaya Dietitian

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We asked one of our dietitians, Aderet Dana Hoch of Dining with Nature, to answer some of the questions our Zaya moms had about eating this summer. Aderet has advice for wherever you are in your motherhood journey. Read on for tips and have your grocery list handy.

As we navigate the summer months, what foods can expecting moms look to add to their diet? 

Summer is a great time for eating lean proteins. During pregnancy our protein needs increase to support both the mom and fetus. Choose light options such as salmon or chicken. You can even grill them as a healthy summer cooking option.

Summertime is the growing season– for moms and produce! It’s a wonderful time to eat a rich variety of fruits and vegetables. During pregnancy we concentrate on meeting all of our vitamin and mineral needs. Most notably, folic acid, or folate. Some great summer food sources of folic acid  include oranges, papaya, cantaloupe, asparagus, and avocado. 

Pregnant women also have an increased need for micronutrients such as vitamin B6, choline, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and Iodine. This list is long, but don’t worry! You can get most of these things from everyday additions to your diet that are delicious and easy to come by this summer: salmon, watermelon, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, mango, orange juice, kale, yogurt, dark chocolate, sardines, halibut, avocado, chocolate ice cream, shrimp, cod, iodized salt, green peas, and tangerines. 

Some moms  shared that popsicles were a go-to summer snack. Is there a kind of popsicle you’d recommend?

A cool treat, for sure, but beware! Most popsicles are loaded with sugar. You’re better off making your own with some freshly squeezed fruit juice.  But, I know this can be time consuming! If you’re buying, look for popsicles that have “no added sugar” and be sure to read the label for any other additives you would like to avoid. 

Are there any nutrition pitfalls to be wary of during the summer?

During the summer it is easy to forget how hot it is outside and how easily we dehydrate. Be aware of your hydration status! Keep a water bottle on you and be mindful to drink every few minutes. It may also help to set reminders in your phone for every couple of hours. 

Heat can diminish our appetite. But it’s important, especially for expecting moms, to be vigilant about meeting their energy needs everyday. Energy needs are increased during pregnancy and expecting moms should take note that they are eating enough and choosing nutrient-dense foods. 

What nutrition advice do you have for parents who are trying to conceive this summer? 

There is no magic nutrition formula to improve fertility. Couples that are trying to conceive should both be mindful of their individual health status. Some health factors to focus on:

  1. Find your healthy weight. Aim for a weight that is neither over nor under what is healthy for your height. It is easy to be tempted by fad diets and to get absorbed in what we see in the mirror, but it is important to focus on an overall healthy lifestyle. Just gave birth? Learn more about the postpartum weight loss timeline here.
  2. Eat a healthy diet. Choose fruits & veggies, healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, whole grains, lean proteins & vegetable proteins. Foods that are calcium-rich, high in fiber, full of folate, or a good source of iron are also great additions. Tip– combine your iron sources with foods that are rich in Vitamin C to increase absorption. 
  3. Engage in physical activity. Include light to moderate activity in your routine every day. This includes walking, biking, or for all you NYC-dwellers, opt for the stairs! Add some strength training to your routine 1-3 times per week. 

What snacks do you recommend the new mom have on hand as she’s juggling the first months of motherhood this summer?

Postpartum recovery when breastfeeding (and also general postpartum) requires new moms to concentrate on eating enough! You need more than you may think. Again, appetite can easily be affected by the heat as well as the hectic few months of motherhood, but one of the most important things you can do for your new little one is to take care of yourself! So keeping snacks on hand is imperative. 

New moms should take advantage of great summer food options, and focus on their protein, complex carbohydrate and fiber, iron, calcium, healthy fats (omega-3s), vitamin B12, Choline, Vitamin D, zinc, and water intake. Some foods that can help meet these needs include: fish such as salmon and sardines, beans, legumes, dark chocolate, whole grain bread, canned tuna, avocado, olives, nuts, mushrooms, yogurt, eggs, strawberries, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and bananas. This shopping list can be turned into delicious snacks such as crackers and sardines, hummus and veggies, yogurt with berries, hard boiled egg, and avocado toast.  

>> Read More: How a Postpartum Nutritionist Can Help You After Birth

Many women experience spikes of hunger (and thirst!) when they start breastfeeding. How should new moms handle this? What should they have on hand?

Hydration is a theme for everyone this summer! Buy a reusable water bottle that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Zaya mom tip– one with a straw makes for easy drinking while feeding! 

Choose to keep low sodium snacks on hand and choose fruits and vegetables with a high water and fiber content, such as cucumbers and watermelon. Make sure they’re prepped and ready for easy consumption– the last thing you need to do when hunger strikes and you can’t put a baby down is start slicing up snacks. 

On the flip side, moms have shared that they put on weight after weaning. The last thing we want this summer! Any tips for prepping for the transition away from breastfeeding?

While breastfeeding we burn more, so we need more. Once we are done with breastfeeding, we don’t need that extra caloric intake (~500 calories). Be mindful of this decrease, it’s more than you think. A few nutrition tips for weaning.

  1. Wean slowly, both for you and baby. It’s not going to be an easy transition and it’s to your benefit to take the time you need instead of rushing it. Give yourself some grace, and use the time to plan and ease your body into the next phase of motherhood. 
  2. Use an app; If you have a tracking app you like, and it’s not going to drive you bonkers, you can use it for the first few weeks to calculate needs and help you stay within range.
  3. Pay attention to your hunger & fullness cues. Your cues are going to be in sync with your lifestyle from breastfeeding. It will take some time and mindfulness to readjust to your new signaling and needs. Eat high fiber, balanced meals to increase feelings of satiety and readjust your hunger and fullness cues. 
  4. Stay active and stick to a schedule (when you can). Hormones are going to shift, some will go down and others will go up, this will affect your mood and metabolism.

Thanks to Aderet for answering our Zaya moms’ questions! For personalized nutrition support in your journey to and through parenthood, book an appointment with Aderet or another one of Zaya’s dietitians.

>> NYC Nutritionists & Registered Dietitians