A healthy diet is the most important building block for a healthy pregnancy. Good nutrition is needed to meet the increased demands of your body as well as the demands of the growing baby. Pregnancy is a great time to change old habits and develop healthy new ones.
I know when I was pregnant eating healthy was a conscious decision, I had to make some changes in my diet which took a little effort. Although we may be under the impression that we need to ‘eat for two’ let me assure you, you don’t! A pregnant woman who has a normal BMI only need to add about 300 calorie/day- the amount in a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich. If you already eat a balanced diet, all you have to do is to add some extra well-chosen calories to meet the demands of your body and growing baby.
Here are some tips to ensure a healthy diet during pregnancy.
The food is broken down into the following five food groups.
Grains During Pregnancy :-
Bread, Pasta, Oatmeal, Cereal, and tortillas are all grains. Whole grains are those that have not been processed. They include Oats, Barley, Quinoa and Brown rice. Make one-half of the grain you eat whole grain.
Fruits During Pregnancy :-
Fruits can be fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
Vegetables During Pregnancy : –
Vegetables should include a mix of dark green and other vegetables including beans and peas.
Dairy During Pregnancy :-
Milk and milk products like cheese, yogurt make up the dairy group. Make sure dairy products are pasteurized.
Protein During Pregnancy:-
Food includes meat, poultry, seafood, beans/peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Lets put it all together to make sure you are making healthy food choices.
-Make one-half of your plate fruits and vegetables.
-switch to skim milk or 1% milk.
-make one-half of your grains whole grains
-Vary the protein sources. Choose lean meat and poultry. Eat fish 2-3 times a week. Choose fish that are lower in mercury, such as shrimp, salmon, catfish, canned light tuna (not albacore, which has a higher level of mercury). Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish, which have the highest level of mercury.
Vegetarians can get proteins from a wide range of plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, beans, soy products and Tofu.
– Limit foods which have “empty” calories. These are the foods which are high in calories but no nutritional value like candy, chips and sugary drinks.
-Take a vitamin supplement that contains 600 micrograms of folic acid and 27mg of iron.
– Add snacks which are nutritious and provide extra calories. Fruit, cereal, and yogurt are healthy snacks.
– Later in pregnancy, when a lot of women experience indigestion, you may find it easier to eat six smaller meals over the day instead of three larger meals.
Eating well during your pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Start now on balancing healthy eating with maintaining a healthy weight to give your baby the best start in life.