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Mothers, don’t forget to prioritise your diet

By Cherice Bronte-Tinkew, RD

It’s the best and most rewarding job in the world to be a mother. Mothers are expected to do all chores, prepare all meals, work and be there for everyone throughout the day while maintaining her health. It can be tough, but it’s crucial women maintain a healthy lifestyle with adequate nutrition daily. Here are some helpful tips.


Strive for balance when it comes to meals

Here in the Caribbean, we focus on the six Caribbean food groups to provide a variety of nutrients. The six Caribbean food groups are Staples, Legumes (peas, beans, nuts, and seeds), Food from Animals, Vegetables, Fruits, and Fats and Oils. As a registered dietitian, some of the responses for meals I hear include ‘Just a few salted crackers and a cup of tea’ or ‘a slice of bread and butter’ or ‘a potato pie’. Do they sound familiar?

These options are not complete meals. They’re not complete because they lack protein food sources which come from Legumes and Food from Animals. Women can become at risk for conditions such as decreased muscle mass, poor weight management and anaemia (low blood count) during and after pregnancy without protein foods sources.

A simple combination to complete a meal will be:


Examples: a baked sweet potato and tuna OR cooked lentil peas in a tomato sauce and noodles.


Add a variety of colours from fruits and vegetables daily

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals, but they provide excellent benefits for the body of a woman. Just having two fruits per day supports a healthy immune system. Using dark green leafy vegetables like callaloo bush, bhagi, spinach and pak choi, increases your blood count too and ensures oxygen is circulating around your body.

This means you can think more clearly and are less fatigued. This is all thanks to iron and folate/folic acid, which are present in these vegetables.

How do you use fruits and vegetables? You can add spinach or pak choi to rice or mix with a sweet potato. Carry fruit every day to work or enjoy some fruit at snack time with the children.


Healthy fats are essential

Don’t forget healthy fats in your diet. I have mentioned the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids in the past for women but consuming Omega 3 fatty acid food sources during pregnancy can ensure optimal growth for the baby’s brain and eye development.

Try adding flaxseeds to snacks or avocado oil to salads. Light canned or albacore tuna, sardines and salmon contain these fats and are safe for consumption during pregnancy twice weekly.

Keep in mind these options and continue to be the best at what you do as a mother.

If you are always on the go, keep these essentials in your handbag. You may need to keep more than one for the children. Keep hydrated with water. Nutritious snacks such as fruits, nuts, seeds, and crackers, keep you filled between meals and can help maintain a healthy weight.

Cherice Bronte-Tinkew has been a registered dietitian for over eight years. She is the Secretary of the Board of Nutritionists and Dietitians and a member of the Tobago Association of Nutritionists and Dietitians.

For more information: Facebook and Instagram pages @JustCherNutrition.