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Health, Wellness and Nutrition

Carolyn T.
CAROLYN T.
Nutrition and Fitness Specialist
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Join Carolyn Tallents, health coach and personal trainer for a Q&A all about nutrition, fitness and health. Carolyn specializes in pre and postnatal nutrition and fitness, and is joining us to answer your questions about healthy eating while breastfeeding, healthy snacks, postnatal exercise, and more!

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CAROLYN ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Eating and Working Out
PAULA, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD

Hi Carolyn, if I work out first thing in the morning then I eat when I get home but I am finding it hard to squeeze that in with getting my daughter to school and myself to work by 8am. I have been trying to set aside time at lunch or just after work but I’m finding that I am either starving or lack the motivation and energy. Do you have any tips on eating the right foods during the day so that I have the energy to get in a workout before heading home to my family? Thanks in advance!

Carolyn
CAROLYN

Hi Paula! Thank you so much for your question. Finding time to work out as a working mom is no easy feat! In order to keep your energy levels up through the end of the day, I would suggest making sure you don't let yourself get too hungry at any point, and also try and move around as much as you can. Keeping your blood sugar stable by eating a hearty lunch and then a late afternoon snack filled with protein and complex carbs (for example - whole grain crackers & hummus, an apple & peanut butter or a small turkey wrap) will ensure you don't crash at the end of the day. Moving around as much as your job allows during the day will also keep your energy levels up as it keeps your body "awake." I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions!

CAROLYN ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Meal Planning
STEPHANIE, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD, 3 MONTH OLD

Hi Carolyn, I was wondering if you could give some ideas for meal prepping/planning for the week for dinners. I find it to difficult to find time to cook while also trying to put my 7 month old to sleep, clean up, do laundry, etc. I would really like to prep on Sunday’s for meals that will stay fresh, taste good, and are healthy. I also don’t want to be so repetitive with what I make.

Carolyn
CAROLYN

Hi Stephanie! This is such a great question. Meal prepping is so great and can be easy with a little time and planning. My prep strategy is to make a few things in bulk that I can combine in different ways throughout the week or freeze if we don't end up using them. For example - quinoa and/or brown rice, turkey meatballs, a soup or chili, roasted veggies and baked chicken breasts. I try and make sure to have pantry staples such as whole grain pasta, tomato sauce, salsa and canned beans at the ready, as well as fridge staples such as peppers, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli and avocados to be added in. With these ingredients you can make an easy/healthy baked chicken parm, turkey meatballs and sauce, fajita rice bowls, etc. if you have any questions please let me know! Thank you!

CAROLYN ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Proper nutrition while working out and breastfeeding
CATERINE, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

I’ve been nursing my son for one whole year and we’re slowly weaning nursing until we’re both ready. I love to workout and eat healthy but I noticed that since nursing I crave to eat a ton of food since I’m burning more calories nursing. My portions have gotten bigger and if I miss a snack or didn’t eat enoug my body craves breads, cookies, carbs all day long! My question is: how to properly get the nutrients my body needs while I workout (5x a week usually) breastfeed, and run around like a crazy mom all at the same time ?
I feel like my body is retaining water.

Carolyn
CAROLYN

Hi Caterine! Congratulations on a whole year nursing! It sounds like you have a very active lifestyle and it's no wonder that you are craving the extra calories. Nursing moms generally require approx. 500 additional calories per day but that is different for every mom depending on their activity level. Your body will naturally crave carbs when your blood sugar gets too low because they are the first thing your body will use for energy. I would focus on two things 1) make sure you don't let yourself get too hungry during the day - aim for either 5 smaller meals or 3 meals with 2 snacks - to keep your blood sugar stable 2) focus on foods that deliver the biggest "bang for your buck" nutritionally speaking. Choose foods and meals that are high in protein, healthy fat and complex carbs (veggies, fruits and whole grains). Oatmeal is a great breakfast option to fuel your day and my favorite quick snacks as a new mom myself are hummus and whole grain crackers, avocado on toast, mixed nuts and for a grab and go option - RX bars. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any follow up questions. Thank you!

CAROLYN ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Quick vegetarian lunch ideas
MAIA, PARENT OF 10 YEAR OLD, 6 YEAR OLD

I'm a busy work from home mom (both kids in school). I rarely have time to make myself a proper lunch--even a salad requires way too much prep with washing and chopping. I don't eat much meat, and I don't know how to prepare it well so I would love some ideas for super quick healthful vegetarian lunches--rather than the usual bag of chips plus apple plus kids string cheese I've gotten in the habit of eating! Thank you!!

Carolyn
CAROLYN

Hi Maia! Lunch can be such a challenge and it's so easy to reach for the quickest thing in the cabinet/fridge when you're a busy mom! The apple and string cheese are actually great choices but I'm sure it doesn't leave you feeling full :) The goal with any meal is to have a source protein (eggs, beans, lentils, meat/fish if you eat it), healthy fat (avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds) and complex carb (veggies, fruit, whole grains) to maintain blood sugar and energy levels. If you don't have a lot of time to prep, a few great pantry staples are cans of chickpeas, lentils, salmon and tuna, and a jar of nut butter. These can be easily added to any base whether it be whole grain bread or a bed of packaged, pre-washed greens. Other staples I would include in this category are eggs and quinoa. If you have a few minutes on a Sunday to prep - hard boil a few eggs and make a batch of quinoa. These protein sources are great for a meal addition or snack and will last you all week. Add some avocado or a handful of mixed nuts and you have a balanced lunch! I hope this is helpful!

CAROLYN ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Working out with small children
SHANNON, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD

Hi Carolyn,

I have a 3yo and an 8 month old. I also work full time so my schedule is pretty jam packed and when I have down time I want to spend it with them. How can I work out with or around my children? What kind of exercises or programs can I do that my 3yo might get interested in? Not to lose weight for her obviously, but just so she can burn off some energy and feel like it is mommy and me time? Thanks!

Shannon

Carolyn
CAROLYN

Hi Shannon! Such great questions! With your 3 year old, I would say the best form of structured exercise you could do together would be yoga. At that age they are still figuring out their bodies but are able to follow directions and take cues from you. If there are no toddler yoga classes around you, you can find some on YouTube that you can follow along with at home - maybe while your 8 month old naps! When you have them both, it sounds simple, but just being outside and playing a game of tag or going for a long walk will ensure you and your 3 yr old burn some energy while the 8 month old is along for the ride. If you have any follow up questions don't hesitate to ask!

CAROLYN ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Starting a workout plan while pregnant?
SUSAN, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD, 11 MONTH OLD

Hi Carolyn! I've been neglecting the gym since I had my first (eek!) but as I think about trying for baby #2, I'm wondering if it's ok to start a workout plan after you get pregnant if you hadn't been working out before? And if so, any suggestions on how to ease in? Thanks!

Carolyn
CAROLYN

Hi Susan! Thanks so much for your question. It can be so hard to find time to get to the gym with a new baby and especially hard to get back into it if it's been a while. Generally speaking, it is perfectly safe to exercise while trying to get pregnant and after you get pregnant (provided your doctor gives you the okay) and it's actually encouraged! To ease back in, aim to do some form of movement for 30 mins a day. This doesn't mean you need to go to the gym - it can be walking around the block, chasing your child around the playground or even walking around the mall. If you do make it to the gym, start off walking on the treadmill or with a light resistance on the elliptical and play around with the speed and incline to get your heart rate up. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions!

Welcome!
TINYHOOD, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Welcome, Carolyn! Need help finding a workout routine that jives with your busy schedule? Looking for tips on how to nourish your body pre- and post-baby? Interested in putting together healthy (kid-approved!) meals that don’t take hours to make? Carolyn is ready to help you tackle these questions and more. Check in, ask a question, and get expert advice your way, on your time!