LUNCHBOX

Sarah Brown, 29, a single teacher Baguette filled with roast beef and salad, glass of orange juice with lemonade
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The Independent Online
"I'm trying to eat well at the moment because I've just had a baby and have been breastfeeding for the past three weeks," says Sarah. "I'm also slightly anaemic, so I'm trying to eat lots of red meat and drink plenty of orange juice."

According to Juliette Kellow, registered dietician and deputy editor of Slimming magazine, such a meal would give Sarah 790 calories, of which 46 per cent come from carbohydrate, 30 per cent from fat (of which 8 per cent are saturates), and 24 per cent from protein.

"It's very important for women to have a balanced, varied diet when they are breastfeeding in order to produce good-quality breast milk for their baby," says Juliette. "In particular, breastfeeding mums have increased requirements for calories and many nutrients including protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and most vitamins. Eating a wide variety of nourishing foods and having regular meals and snacks helps to ensure these increased needs are met.

"This lunch is a great meal for a breastfeeding mum as it includes plenty of nutrients. It also follows healthy-eating guidelines, which are important while you are breastfeeding. In general, the meal is low in fat and saturates, provides a good amount of starchy carbohydrates, and has a couple of servings of fruit and vegetables in the form of salad and orange juice.

"This meal also contains iron, almost half of which is provided by the roast beef. It is quite common for women to suffer from anaemia after they have given birth, but this can usually be helped by taking iron supplements and eating plenty of iron-rich foods. Red meat, liver, kidney and products made from these foods, such as liver pate, provide plenty of iron in a form which can be easily used by the body.

"Vitamin C helps the body to make the best use of iron from vegetable sources, so it is a good idea to eat iron-rich and Vitamin C-rich foods at the same meal. This meal was ideal because the Vitamin C in the orange juice and tomato will have helped the body to use the iron provided by the beef in the baguette"

Glenda Cooper

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