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The Exhausted New Mom’s Workout

The Home Stretch

5:15 p.m. Chomp and cook To stave off hunger (and prevent overeating), nibble on the low-fat cheese or vegetables that you're including in your dinner. Remember to subtract what you eat from your dinner portion. (But you can eat as many veggies as you like!) 5:30 p.m. Treat your taste buds Often, our favorite snack foods are loaded with taste -- pungent salt-and-vinegar potato chips or sweet chocolate. Finding ways to incorporate these flavors into your meals can help keep cravings at bay. Use that vinegar flavor you love in tuna fish, top your chicken dish with salsa, marinate meats in lemon and rosemary before cooking, and try sweet sorbets topped with fresh fruit for dessert. 6 p.m. Use take-out smarts You can skip the guilt of fast foods if you choose wisely, says Carla Gray, the Orlando, Florida-based author of The Low Carb Fast Food Diet: Low Carb, Low Calorie Eating on the Go. "Today's restaurants recognize that over 70 percent of their customers want nutritious meals." And the ease of take-out can help new parents feel less stressed. Some smart choices for tonight, Gray suggests, include Boston Market's rotisserie turkey with sides of steamed mixed vegetables and creamed spinach; Subway's grilled chicken breast and baby spinach salad with Greek vinaigrette; or Pizza Hut's Thin 'N Crispy Cheese Pizza. As a rule of thumb with pizza, double up on vegetable toppers so it's easier to eat less of the white-bread crust. 7 p.m. Bedtime stomach slimmer To soothe your baby before bed and streamline your waistline, cradle her snugly in your arms while standing with your legs hip-width apart and your knees bent. Then gently twist from side to side while singing your favorite lullaby. Keep your abs tight and your back straight. 9:30 p.m. Rest easy As you get ready for bed, remember that it took nine months for you to put on the baby weight, it will likely take at least that long to lose it. You may not be able to drop every last pregnancy pound, but take a peek in the nursery and remind yourself that it happened for a delicious reason.

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