New-Mom Kitchen Checklist: Do You Have All These Ready?
When it comes to preparing for your baby’s arrival, like most mothers, you are likely to focus more on baby-related errands, such as getting a baby cot and buying your baby’s diapers and clothes. While having these items in place is essential to give your baby the best care, your baby’s overall health is highly related to your wellbeing as a mom.
To take care of your postnatal wellbeing, one of the most effective ways is by having a proper diet. Not sure what food ingredients you should have in your kitchen? Here’s a handy list to help, and keep reading below to understand their health benefits:
- Sesame Oil
- Black Vinegar
- Bok Choy
- Certain Types of Fish
- Red & Black Dates
- Dried Longans
- Dang Shen
Aromatics & Seasonings
Let’s start with some aromatics that you’ll find in most confinement food. Although they will not be the main ingredients in your confinement meals, having these ingredients in your food can make them more appetizing and hence help with your recovery.
Ginger is probably one of the most popular ingredients used in Chinese confinement meals for its warming effects, as well as its ability to clear phlegm, heal coughs and help with detoxification. For best results, use old gingers that are drier and spicier than young ginger. When using ginger in your dishes, retain the skin as its fibre can aid in relieving swelling and constipation.
Consuming garlic can bring a list of benefits for breastfeeding moms. For one, having garlic stimulates breast milk production, as it contains galactagogue, a milk-boosting ingredient. Furthermore, when your breast milk contains compounds of garlic, it helps to strengthen your baby’s immune system too. Other goodness of garlic includes easing blood circulation, fighting infections and promoting better digestion. Consume garlic in moderation to avoid allergic reactions in your baby.
- Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is definitely another classic ingredient that you will find in most Chinese confinement food menu. You can even get creative and use them in Japanese fusion confinement food too! Sesame oil is frequently used in these Asian cuisines for its anti-oxidation effect and expelling “wind” from the body. In terms of nutritional benefits, sesame oil is rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin E, which are crucial for your bone, joint and overall health.
- Black Vinegar
Black vinegar is used to cook a classic Chinese confinement dish—Black Vinegar Pork Trotter. This dish is considered the must-have in a Chinese confinement diet for good reasons. Black vinegar is believed to be able to enhance digestion, fight fatigue, detoxify the body, relieve soreness, and provide energy.
More often seen in Indian cuisine, turmeric can actually help new moms fight infection. Since it is not recommended for mothers to consume spicy food during confinement, you can add a teaspoon of turmeric powder into your warm water to harness its benefits. Furthermore, coating a thin layer of turmeric powder on your fish before grilling them can make your dish more aromatic and flavorful too.
Eating vegetables during confinement speeds up your recovery by ensuring you get all the essential nutrients you need. That being said, you should avoid certain vegetables like bitter gourd and cucumber that are “cold” in nature. Here is a list of vegetables that you can safely consume.
Broccoli is rich with vitamin K that is essential in blood clotting, and regulating blood calcium levels. Among all its other benefits, the high levels of vitamin C in broccoli particularly helps with building collagen, which helps wounds to heal. Moreover, the high fiber in broccoli helps to promote digestion and lower cholesterol level.
Spinach is high in carotenoids, which your body can turn into vitamin A to enhance your immune system, bone health and eye health. Another notable mineral in spinach is folic acid, which is crucial for cellular function and tissue growth among pregnant moms.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world for its high level of nutrients and relatively low level of calories. Like broccoli and spinach, kale is rich in vitamin A, K and C. Moreover, kale is filled with many antioxidants, which helps in protecting the heart, lowering blood pressure, anti-inflammatory and many more.
- Bok Choy
Bok choy is one of the leafy greens that contains folate, which is essential for DNA production and repair. Among all its many nutrients, bok choy contains iron, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium that contributes to building and maintaining the structure and strength of your bones.
Carrots do more than just adding colours to your dishes, they are great sources of beta carotene, several B vitamins, vitamin K and potassium. All of these nutrients aid in reducing cancer risk, lowering blood cholesterol, losing weight and improving eye health.
Poultry & Seafood
Meats are often the main and essential part in a confinement diet due to their high levels of proteins and iron, which are great in healing new mother’s postnatal wounds. You can keep your confinement meals interesting by switching between different kinds of meat. However, keep in mind that you should go for non-processed meats and avoid processed meat such as canned meat or sausages.
Chicken is a great source of protein, which is essential for new mothers to recover postnatal wounds. Not to mention white meat like chicken contains lower fat content compared to red meats. For easy preparation, you can buy pre-cuts chicken parts such as whole chicken thighs, chicken fillets or chicken breasts.
Pork is one of the most comprehensive dietary sources of protein, and it contains nine essential amino acids that are especially helpful for moms who are recovering from labour. You can buy some lean pork slices or minced pork to stir-fry together with your leafy greens, and of course, get pig trotters to make the classic black vinegar pig trotters.
- Certain Types of Fish
Seafood like fish has high levels of proteins and Omega 3 fatty acids, which boost brain development. That being said, you should avoid fish with high levels of mercury. Fish that are suitable during confinement include salmon, grouper, snapper and threadfin. Papaya fish soup is a popular comfort dish among mom to boost breast milk.
The usage of Chinese herbs in food and bath water is what makes Chinese confinement culture so effective in speeding up recovery. Chinese herbs are loved by many moms in Singapore for their ability to replenish nutrients in the body, improve “qi”, expel excess “wind” and boost the immune system. There are more than 10 types of commonly used confinement herbs, but here are some of the essentials:
- Red Dates and Black Dates: Make tea or add dates into your soup to speed up your recovery.
- Dried Longans: Dried longans can give extra flavour to your red dates tea or herbal soups. Aside from keeping you warm, it has a calming effect too.
- Wolfberries: Wolfberries are known for protecting your eye health and boosting your energy. You may add them into your red dates tea or your soups.
- Cordyceps: Cordyceps are good for nourishing your lungs.
- Dang Shen: Dang Shen is widely used to restore “qi” and encourage blood circulation.
Eating a well-balanced diet during confinement is an important step to protect you and your newborn’s wellbeing. If you are looking for a hassle-free alternative to maintain a proper diet, Tian Wei Signature is here to help! We are an award-winning food delivery service in Singapore that offers a wide variety of MSG-free and breastfeeding-friendly traditional & fusion confinement meals. We even serve complimentary ‘Sheng Hua Tang’ or ‘Sheng Hua Soup’ for the first two days! Book to enjoy your early bird discount now!