Pregnancy is a time for self-care and being mindful of your eating habits. Your nutritional choices affect your overall prenatal health, and they directly impact the growth and development of your baby. Eating healthy while pregnant is all about balance. So, you should eat sensibly by choosing nourishing foods that are going to support you and your baby throughout every stage of your pregnancy. Here is how to maintain healthy eating habits during your pregnancy.
Healthy Eating During Pregnancy is All About A Well-balanced Diet
- 6-11 servings of whole grains: Breads, cereals, pastas and brown rice. The carbohydrates found in breads and grains are an essential energy source for your body. Eating the recommended servings of whole grains will provide your body with important nutrients like iron, Vitamin B, and fiber.
- 2-4 servings of fruits: All types of fruits, including fresh, frozen or canned without added sugars. By eating a variety of fruits, moms-to-be can get many of the vitamins needed by to maintain healthy eating during pregnancy.
- >4 servings of vegetables: For the best prenatal nutrition, a variety of colorful vegetables should be eaten. Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables, with no added salt, should be included.
- 3 servings of lean protein: Choose lean protein from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and peas, peanut butter, soy products and nuts. Proteins increase blood supply and positively affects the growth of fetal tissue, including the brain.
- 4 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy: This includes milk, cheese and yogurt. Dairy products give your body calcium and other needed nutrients. Your developing baby requires a considerable amount of calcium. If you do not consume enough calcium through your diet, your body will actualy take calcium from your bones which could cause physical problems later in life.
- Healthful fats: You will want to get your healthy fats from foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds as well as vegetable oils including canola and olive oil.
See Also: What to Eat to Give Your Brain a Boost
Getting Key Nutrients Daily is Essential for Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
- 600 mg of Folic acid: Folate reduces the risk for neural tube defects. Natural foods that obtain folate include legumes, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. Some cereals, pastas and breads can be a source of folic acid.
- 27 mg of Iron: Iron is a mineral used to make more blood which enables your body to carry oxygen to your baby. Foods with iron include red meat, chicken and fish, fortified cereals, spinach, some leafy greens and beans.
- 1300 mg of Calcium: Calcium is key to helping your baby build strong bones, teeth, muscles and nerves. You should eat at least three daily servings of calcium-rich foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese or calcium-fortified plant-based beverages, cereals and juices.
- 15 mg of Zinc: Nuts, whole grains and legumes are great sources of zinc. However, it is best absorbed from meat and seafood. Zinc is a nutrient needed to stay healthy, and it boosts the immune system and helps fight off bacteria and viruses.
- 220 mg of Iodine: Your body needs Iodine to make thyroid hormones. It is a necessary aid in your baby’s brain and nervous system development. Iodine is found naturally in some foods, and it is also added to salts labeled “iodized”.
While the main source of vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from the variety of healthy foods you consume, a daily prenatal vitamin can help supplement your body with an deficiencies.
Extra Tips To Maintain Healthy Eating During Pregnancy
- Overeating is a common issue for many pregnant women. Although you are technically eating for two, your caloric intake does not actually increase as much as some may think. In fact, it is recommended that no extra calories should be consumed during the first trimester. Only an additional 300-400 calories per day is recommended in the second trimester, and an extra 450 calories a day is suggested for the third trimester.
- Caffeine and sugary drinks should be minimized or avoided all-together. If you choose to drink coffee or tea, go with the decaf option. Also, try to pick unsweetened options and don’t add sugar.
- Don’t consume foods considered unsafe to eat while pregnant. Some fish, raw foods, soft cheeses, deli meats, and alcohol are can cause serious health problems and should be avoided.
- Drink more water. Staying hydrated helps your body absorb nutrients and aids in proper digestion.
Remember, every pregnancy is different. Most things in moderation are fine. So, if you are having an intense craving for a doughnut, then eat the doughnut. Just don’t go overboard. Listen to your body. Always consult with your physician or nutritionist. Focus on yourself. Take it easy, and go have a spa day. But when it come to your healthy eating during pregnancy, mix it up, and eat a variety of wholesome, nourishing foods. Your body and baby will thank you.