A healthy diet is imperative no matter what time of life you may be in, and even more so when you are pregnant. Your diet is the baby’s main source of nourishment and vitamins, and you want to feel your best as much as you want the best for baby. A healthy diet during pregnancy isn’t complicated, but there are a few things to pay special attention to, as your needs and the baby’s needs for certain vitamins and minerals increase. For example, pregnant women are recommended to have at least 70mg of Vitamin C. Folic acid is a big one as well, with a recommended 400 micrograms per day. While many prenatal vitamins contain these things, they are also found in healthy foods as well!
They say that you are what you eat, and when you’re pregnant, your baby is what you eat too! Summary: A balanced, healthy diet is important – with some important DO’s and DONT’s to remember. Read on to find out what foods to enjoy and which ones will need to wait until after pregnancy.
1. Fruits & Vegetables
Try to eat 2-4 servings of fruits and 4 or more servings of vegetables every day! Fruit and vegetables are a no-brainer. We already know these are healthy for us, and they contain plenty of Vitamin C and Folic acid. Specifically, citrus fruits will give you a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc! Folic acid comes in leafy greens like spinach and swiss chard, and can also be found in some beans and meats. 2. Protein
At least three servings of protein per day should do the trick! Protein is important in your pregnancy diet to promote healthy growth of fetal tissue, including the brain. It also helps with breast and uterine tissue growth for you! The main sources of protein are obvious – lean meats like poultry and seafood (making sure it’s fully cooked, of course!). Other sources include beans, tofu, and lean red meat.
Healthy carbs are the body’s main source of energy, and during pregnancy, you need a lot of that! Your body is working on overtime to grow the life within you, so you can enjoy those healthy carbs freely. Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal also include iron, which you’ll want to get about 30mg of daily. You’ll consume about that amount in 2-3 servings of whole grains.
When dealing with cravings, these healthy foods are most likely not going to be the ones to pop into mind. Chicken tenders, french fries, ice cream and tacos? Sounds more like it? Of course, whenever these cravings hit, it’s usually your body’s cry for the vitamins and micronutrients contained in those foods! By keeping yourself well-fed with a healthy, balanced diet, you’re less likely to experience cravings. However, no one quite knows exactly why they happen, so if they do and you can NOT live without that certain food, it’s okay! The only issue is when the cravings take place of actual real, nutritional food.
Foods to Avoid
While pregnant, certain foods are (sometimes, unfortunately)definitely considered off-limits. For example, raw or undercooked meat. Sorry, sushi. See you in 9 months. Also included are alcoholic beverages, unpasteurized dairy, and foods containing high levels of mercury. Many of these things can transfer toxins to the baby, cause growth problems, or be extremely harmful to healthy development.
When putting together your diet during pregnancy, just remember that you are now responsible for the nourishment and nutrition for two! A healthy, well-balanced diet containing vitamins and nutrients recommended for expectant mothers, and a few extra calories added to your plate as well (about 300 calories per day).