Healthy eating seems like the obvious answer to every condition. However, many times it’s easier said than done. Despite being blessed to live in a country like Singapore where accessibility to healthy food is considered easy reach, we are not spared from the advertisements and possibly addictive flavours of high fat, high sugar foods that numerous fast-food chains and hawker stalls provide. Often, we do not realize how often we are eating fried foods throughout the week. It may be just one fried chicken this week, but we do not realize that sweet sour pork or ayam masak merah to be foods that are pre-fried before mixing with other sauces and ingredients. That’s why having a meal plan to subscribe to can be very helpful for mummies to eat healthier without much thought.
Here are some key highlights of how best lactation meals will differ from regular tingkat food:
Less Frequency of Fried Foods
Lactation meals are intentionally planned to have less deep frying cooking methods. This helps to keep daily meals for lactation less oily. It’s not that fried foods are completely forbidden, but having too much of them is unhealthy and promotes excessive calorie intake. Postpartum weight retention is a real challenge for many mummies.
Incorporating Lactogenic Ingredients
Furthermore, key ingredients that help to support mummies with breastfeeding are planned throughout the whole menu, so that such ingredients are given often. Ingredients like fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic and green papaya are interchangeably given in every meal almost every single day. These are traditionally known and anecdotally known to improve breast milk supply.
Providing Breastfeeding Supporting Meals
The foods prepared for lactation meals are chosen because it contains nutrients that are important for mothers to have so that breast milk has these nutrients. Nutrients like omega 3-DHA, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Iodine. Lesser intake by mothers would mean lesser content of such nutrients in the breast milk. So that’s how the best meals for lactation are planned in such a way that foods that are rich in these nutrients are chosen and served often to mummies.
Limiting Processed Food
Many tingkat foods will have the occasional fish balls, crab sticks or luncheon meat. Not that these foods are illegal, but it’s important to limit such intake as much as possible. Many times foods like these are high in salt and fat. Even though your baby may not be weaning and is still being breastfed, remember that flavours of the foods can actually be transferred from a mother’s diet to her breast milk. Your baby is not only obtaining all the nutrients needed to grow, but they are also learning and taste preferences starting even during pregnancy! So if a mother eats processed foods often while breastfeeding, then it may be highly likely for the baby to grow a stronger taste preference towards such foods as they grow older and wean. Teaching your child to eat healthily comes way before they start putting the first solid food in their mouth. It starts all the way from the womb!
Adding Colourful Vegetables
Colourful vegetables are always hard to come by, especially when you eat out. Colourful vegetables are important in a healthy diet. Different colours represent different antioxidants which help to support health. We are advised to eat the rainbow! Not only do the colours make the dish pleasing to the eye, but vegetables are also rich in fibre which helps to build a healthy gut to support the immune system. For our lactation meals, we would provide two to three colours consistently every meal so that mummies can reap the benefits of eating different types of vegetables.