Following a well-balanced diet while you are pregnant is one of the most rewarding things that you can do for both yourself and your baby. What you eat will never be more important than while you are pregnant. Every decision you make about what to eat or not directly affects the well being of your baby. A healthy pregnancy diet will promote your baby’s growth and development and determine the basic nutritional health that they are born with. It is also true that what you eat while you are pregnant will serve as a model for your baby’s eating habits once they are born. Simply put, if you want your child to enjoy her vegetables, enjoy them yourself while you are still pregnant.
A healthy pregnancy diet will keep you feeling healthy throughout your pregnancy, improve your chances of having a normal pregnancy and delivery and make losing your pregnancy pounds easier after the baby is born.
With so much to do while you are pregnant and so many changes and adjustments to make, it will probably feel like a full-time job to ensure that you are always eating right; for both you and baby. But it doesn’t get to be therefore arduous.
If you have already been eating healthy, then you know that you can never go wrong with lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, when you are pregnant, you need to give some foods extra attention.
So, first, it is important that you understand which nutrients you need most and where to find them. A nutritionist can guide you through a healthy pregnancy diet but you will probably find it more beneficial to simply become acquainted with the food groups and nutrients and work out a diet that works for you. That way your healthy diet can extend beyond pregnancy.
Learning about food groups, minerals, and vitamins that you can sometimes barely pronounce can be a tad daunting at first but this is one instance where the end totally justifies the means. You will be glad you took your pregnancy nutrition into your hands when you see all the evidence in the baby that you hold and when you come out of gestation captivated and conditionally hating your body and its state.
Doctors recommend that while you are pregnant, you increase your usual servings of a variety of foods from five basic food groups to include the following:
o 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables
o 9 servings of whole-grain or enriched bread, cereal, rice, or pasta for energy
o 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese for calcium
o 3 of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, dried beans, and peas for protein
What nutrients do you need? Why do you need them? Where can you find them?
Vitamin A & Beta Carotene (700 mcg daily)
For the development of strong teeth and bones
Spinach, broccoli, liver, milk, Pumpkin, eggs, carrots, spinach, green and yellow fruits & vegetables,
Folate / Folic Acid ( 600 mcg daily)
Supports the placenta, Reduces risks of neural tube defects, including spina bifida
Green leafy veggies, oranges, strawberries, peas, nuts, beans, spinach, beets, cauliflower, fortified cereals, pasta
Thiamin/B1 (1.4 mg daily)
Regulates nervous system and improves your energy levels
Pork, nuts, pasta, eggs, berries, legumes, whole grain, fortified cereals, rice
Zinc (11-12 mg daily)
Helps produce insulin and enzymes
Dairy products, whole grains, and fortified cereals, beans, red meat and nuts
Vitamin D (5 mcg daily)
Development of strong teeth and bones
Milk and fatty fish
Riboflavin/B2 (1.4 mg)
Improves eyesight and appearance of healthy skin
Eggs, fortified cereals, dairy products, fish, poultry
Vitamin C (80-85 mg)
Helps the body to absorb iron, Builds a healthy immune system, Protects tissues from damage
Broccoli, citrus fruits, green beans, strawberries, papaya, potatoes, tomatoes
Calcium (1,000-1,300 mg daily )
helps build baby’s bones and tooth buds, Helps prevent blood clots, Helps your body regulate fluids, Helps the function of muscles and nerves
Yogurt, milk, store cheese, calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, juices, bread, cereals, dark green leafy vegetables,
Protein (60 mg daily)
Helps in the production of amino acids, Improves blood supply and repairs cells
Most animal foods, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, veggie burgers, beans, legumes, nuts
Vitamin E (15 mg daily)
Helps body type and use red blood cells and muscles
Vegetable oil, nuts, spinach, fortified cereals
Iron (27 mg daily)
Helps in the production of hemoglobin, Increase your blood volume and prevent anemia, Prevents low birth weight, and premature birth
Beef, pork, dried beans, spinach, dried fruits, wheat germ, oatmeal or grains fortified with iron
Pyridoxine/B6 (1.9 mg daily)
Helps type red blood cells helps with morning sickness
Chicken, fish, liver, pork, eggs, soybeans, carrots, cabbage, peas, spinach, flower seeds, bananas, beans, broccoli, brown rice, oats, bran, peanuts, walnuts
Niacin/B3 (18 mg daily)
Promotes healthy skin, nerves, and digestion
High-protein foods, fortified cereals, and bread, meats, fish, milk, eggs, peanuts
During pregnancy, some foods can cause harm to your developing baby so be sure to thoroughly cooked all your meat to avoid exposure to salmonella and other harmful bacteria.
Learning about food groups, minerals, and vitamins that you can sometimes barely pronounce can be a tad daunting at first but this is one instance where the end totally justifies the means. You will be glad you took your pregnancy nutrition into your hands when you see all the evidence in the baby that you hold and when you come out of pregnancy
Remember that it is never too late to start a healthy pregnancy diet, no matter how close you are to d-day!