The following tips approved by Registered Dietitians will ensure that you will remain healthy and fit while losing weight during breastfeeding:
1. Eat a variety of foods from all five food groups. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to get a personalized eating plan for breast-feeding women.
2. For protein, choose lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and seeds. Eat no more than 12 ounces per week of fish and shellfish and no more than 6 ounces per week of albacore tuna. Avoid fish with high mercury levels, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
3. Eat colorful fruits and vegetables. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at lunch and dinner, and include fruit and vegetables in snacks. Whole fruit is better than juice, so limit juice to 1 cup per day and make sure it’s 100-percent juice.
4. Include three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese each day. If you don’t think you can tolerate milk, try lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soy milk.
5. Choose whole-wheat bread, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta more often than refined grains.
6. Use healthful oils, such as olive oil, canola, soybean and corn oil, but in small amounts since they can amount to extra calories.
7. Drink enough water and decaffeinated unsweetened beverages to quench your thirst. While you are breast-feeding, your need for fluids increases. Limit caffeine-containing beverages — including coffee, tea and soft drinks — to one or two 8-ounce cups a day.
8. Make smart food choices that are low in “empty calories.” Empty calories are found in foods high in added sugars and fats including soft drinks, desserts, fried foods and fatty meats.
9. Vitamin and mineral supplements cannot replace a healthy diet. Talk with your doctor before taking any vitamin or mineral supplements.
10. If you have special nutrition needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist for a customized eating plan.
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