Friday, August 4, 2017

My Daily Mom Diet ~ Four Months Post-Partum

A friend of mine is trying out a new diet plan. She jokingly mentioned wanting to die the first day of the diet so I asked curiously how many calories she was allowed. 1100. We are around the same height, plus she still breastfeeds her 2-year old three times a day. That sounded completely not doable for me so I started wondering how many calories I consume in a typical day

I have never been a calorie counter. I step on the scale most mornings. If I want the number to go down, I try to eat a little less and exercise a little more.

Weighing myself most days helps keep me accountable to myself. The scale is not the only number which is important, but it's an easy number to use. 

I'm not advocating calorie counting! Daily calorie counts is probably something I will never do. But this post has really helped me take stock of where my calories are coming from. My husband and I are very committed to being active and keeping our respective weights at healthy levels. But eating a healthy, varied diet has other benefits than weight control!

Luckily (I jest), being a creature of extreme habit, I eat basically the same thing every weekday so counting my calories was pretty easy...

Writing this post reminded me of the feature I always enjoyed when I had a subscription to People Magazine. They (currently?) do a daily diet of celebrities in each issue. Here's one from an old issue, I like Tia Mowry at Home on the Cooking Channel :-)

Here's my basic weekday menu with my own personal "The Verdict" for each meal...

Breakfast 7:30 a.m. - Total Calories 440
Non-fat Yogurt, 1 cup - 120 calories
   with Granola, 1/4 cup - 85 calories
Orange Juice, 1 cup - 110 calories (mixed with 1 cup water)
Black or herbal tea - 0 calories
   with Whole Milk, 1/4 cup - 75 calories
   and Maple Syrup, 1 tbsp - 50 calories

The Verdict - My breakfast is low on protein. The OJ is basically pure sugar and I'd be better off drinking plain water and eating a piece of fruit. Fruit on the bottom yogurt has added sugar along with some additives for stabilization and I don't really need the fat free version, I'd be better choosing a 2% or 4% plain yogurt (which is what my son eats!).

My Comments - I can drink tea without milk or a sweetener but I don't like it that way. I also enjoy the flavor of the OJ. I love the Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola, by far their best flavor in my opinion. I eat yogurt from a cup for the convenience. As you can see in my pic, I just put the amount of granola which will fit in the top of the cup. 

Lunch 11:30 a.m. - Total Calories 455
   Baby Spinach, 3 cups - 45 calories
   Cherry Tomatoes, 10 - 30 calories
   Bell Pepper, 1/3 - 15 calories
   Lunch Meat/Chicken, 2 oz - 70 calories
   Dried Cranberries, 1/3 cup - 130 calories
   Avocado, 1/2 - 120 calories
   Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Dressing, 2 tbsp - 45 calories

The Verdict - Oh, where to start... The bulk of the calories coming from dried cranberries is not good! I should add in other veggies - I used to really enjoy sliced beets on my salad! - or perhaps chickpeas or edamame to bulk up the nutritional content of my salad. For cleaner eating, homemade dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar would be a better choice. I rock my water intake. I keep a 16 oz glass full all day for frequent sipping.

My Comments - My husband and I both eat this same salad five days a week. Everything in it can be purchased at Sam's Club so it is partially a convenience issue. I need to stock up on other items from Target or my local grocery store. The Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings are fabulous! I find them in the produce section at Target. I started craving creamy dressings for my salads during my last pregnancy and now I am hooked.

Dinner 5:30 p.m. - Total Calories 550
Brown Rice, 3/4 cup - 150 calories
Veggies, 1 cup - 100 calories
Pork or Chicken, 1 chop or thigh - 300 calories

The Verdict - A nice balanced meal! 

My Comments - We do make more of a variety of things for dinner. Because our toddler eats the same dinner food, we always have a protein (typically meat or beans), carb (rice, potatoes, quinoa, noodles, etc), and a lot of vegetables (broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, etc). In general I think 550 calories is probably about right. We cook mostly in olive oil and season with spices or a chili paste.

Total per Day - 1445

If I stick to the above diet, I notice the scale dropping more rapidly. 1445 calories is too low considering my breastfeeding and activity level. 

But you may be wondering where the snacks are... and I do love my snacks... so here are my extras...

Extra Yogurt - 120 calories
Homemade Banana Muffin - 150 calories
Plain Tortilla Chips, 2 oz - 280 calories
Popcorn (popped in oil), 3 cups - 200 calories
Fruit, 1 piece - 75 calories
Ice Cream, 1 cup - 400 calories
Extra Decaf Coffee or Tea with Milk and Maple Syrup - 125 calories
Beer or Wine, 1 bottle/glass - 150 calories

I have at least one of these extras every day. I don't think I have ever had all of them in a single day :-)

Today... I made muffins yesterday so I had a muffin mid-morning. We have some over-ripe kiwi in our fridge so I'll probably have one of those mid-afternoon. And as it is Friday and my night off from exercising, I'll probably enjoy a beer or glass of wine after my kids are in bed.

We also eat differently on the weekends...eggs, pancakes, or waffles for breakfast, sandwiches or fried rice for lunch, with dinner being the one consistency. I definitely consume more calories over the weekend than I do on weekdays.

I'm going to put some thought into some action items that I noted in my verdicts above! I encourage you to take stock of your typical daily diet to see what you think of it! (A dietitian can also help you evaluate how you are doing on a more technical level.)

If you are breastfeeding, I encourage you to check out: Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding. I read it after my first pregnancy and found it to be a nice, rationale guide to nutrition while breastfeeding.

I feel like diet has really become a hot button topic... I like to read and watch documentaries about diet and nutrition. But the one thing I notice consistently from doing that is that diet is something which is very hard to study. Ingredients cannot be isolated and studied to produce ironclad results to a hypotheses. For example, it's been shown that countries which have the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Does this mean that consumption of dairy actually causes osteoporosis? The answer to that question depends on whose book you are reading or whose film you are watching. Is it eating meat, eating sugar, eating processed carbs, eating GMO, eating foods sprayed with pesticides...which leads to diabetes, heart disease, and/or cancer? Again, the answer depends on who is presenting the information. 

For diet/nutrition books, I read and found interesting The China Study. There is also the classic: Diet for a Small Planet.  

Please comment and recommend your favorite diet/nutrition book!


  1. Your meals look so healthy! I don't count calories or weigh myself, but I really like the idea of counting calories for a couple of days, not to keep them lower, but to see where they're coming from. I have a feeling a very high percentage of mine come from would be interesting to see! I am also definitely a creature of habit and eat the same breakfast every day and similar lunches. Our dinners vary a lot, but if I lived alone, I'd probably just eat rice and beans or eggs every night lol. Great post, I love your blog!

    1. Thanks! We get into ruts of eating the same thing every week. I really liked the post you did with your monthly meal plan. I definitely need to try new recipes more often!

    2. I just saw this reply, but thank you! I'm planning to do a follow-up post soon, I have been really liking monthly meal planning!