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A Nutritionist’s Perspective on Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

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Healthy eating during pregnancy is important to ensure the health of both mother and baby, and most expectant mothers know that they need to be especially careful when eating certain foods like sushi, deli meats, soft cheeses, hot dogs, tuna and more. But did you know that there are some foods you can eat during pregnancy that provide some great benefits to your unborn child? Keep reading to find out more about these foods and how they can help with the development of your baby!

Eat a variety of food

While you’re eating for two, it’s important to not forget that you are still just one person. Don’t go crazy and start snacking on handfuls of trail mix and kale chips—while they may be healthy, they won’t do your baby any good.

Instead, continue to eat a variety of foods and keep to well-rounded meals. If you were already a health nut before getting pregnant, you probably don’t need to change much about your diet; if you have never thought about nutrition before now, take some time to educate yourself about which foods are best for baby-to-be.

Check out the Nutrition2change course on pre and postnatal nutrition which provides information and guidance on achieving optimal nutrition through three stages of pregnancy – prenatal, during pregnancy and postnatal.

Drink plenty of water

Staying hydrated during pregnancy is super important. Without enough water, you’re more likely to experience constipation (which can be uncomfortable) and urinary tract infections (which can harm both you and your baby). You also need more water than usual to avoid developing dark yellow or brown urine, which happens when your pee contains too much urobilin—the chemical that gives urine its characteristic color.

When it comes to healthy eating for pregnancy, plenty of water may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial for optimal health, so don’t forget about it!

Keep track of your calorie intake

When you’re pregnant, it’s not only important to eat healthy foods, but also to be aware of your calorie intake. Your weight gain and nutrition should be tracked by a doctor throughout your pregnancy. If you find yourself gaining more weight than is recommended, speak with your nutritionist about healthy ways to reduce caloric intake while still maintaining proper nutritional profile. There are many things that you can do to reduce gaining too much weight, but it is best to discuss these further with a healthcare professional.

Supplements are essential

Vitamins and minerals are essentials for a healthy diet, but if you’re pregnant you’ll need to up your intake. One of your primary goals during pregnancy is to minimize risks to you and your baby, so it’s especially important that you meet all of your vitamin requirements. If you can’t get enough nutrients from food alone, talk with your doctor about taking supplements in addition to a well-balanced diet.

Note: Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements during pregnancy. Some supplements may be harmful for certain conditions or not safe for women who are breastfeeding. You can learn more about this in the course we mentioned earlier.

Another great read: 4 Nutrient-Filled and Healthy Recipes for Pregnancy and Postpartum

Try new foods!

Research shows that when we try new foods, even if we don’t like them at first, we’re more likely to accept those foods in future meals. So take a chance! You may find something you like even better than your old standbys. And if not, at least you can say that you tried it and didn’t hate it! It’s also a good idea to try new recipes. If you usually get stuck in a dinner rut, try branching out by consulting with friends or trying one of thousands of recipes online. You never know what your next favorite dish will be!

If you’re a student of Nutrition2change Academy, you are going to love our Rewards4change loyalty program where we provide a variety of useful tools and resources as well as delicious recipes every month! To get access, you just need to enrol in one of our curses.

Another great read: How to lose weight after pregnancy?

Vegetables first!

When you think of eating healthy during pregnancy, one word comes to mind: protein. The truth is, you don’t need more protein in your diet; in fact, too much protein during pregnancy can cause problems for your baby. You’ll also want to steer clear of undercooked meat or fish; raw or undercooked eggs; unpasteurized milk and dairy products; fish with high mercury levels (like swordfish); soft cheeses such as feta and brie; alcohol—and unpasteurized juices (including fresh-squeezed).

Instead, focus on vegetables first! Choose something fibrous like broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and more.

Healthy fats are important too.

It’s important to get enough healthy fats, including omega-3s, to support your growing baby and make sure you have enough energy. You can find omega-3s in nuts, seeds and fish, as well as in supplements (but be careful about taking too much of these). Be sure to avoid all seafood known to be high in mercury—such as swordfish or tilefish—and also limit albacore tuna, which is higher in mercury than canned light tuna. T

o play it safe, take a prenatal vitamin that contains 1 gram of fish oil daily during pregnancy. Note: Eat no more than 2 servings per week of albacore tuna while pregnant.

Snack smartly

While there’s no question that pregnant women need to pay more attention to what they eat than everyone else, it doesn’t mean that eating for two is a free pass to consume whatever you want. While snacking can seem like an easy way to fill in gaps in your diet, it’s important not to do so with fatty or high-calorie foods.

Instead, look for low-fat, high-protein snacks like yogurt or nuts. It also may be helpful to have protein shakes or bars around for times when you just can’t make yourself a proper meal. There are plenty of good options out there and many online retailers sell them at affordable prices.

Summary

In recent years, medical professionals have discovered that proper nutrition during pregnancy can greatly impact a baby’s health for decades to come. Pregnant women should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, but cutting out junk food completely is also important. Cravings are natural during pregnancy, but many junk foods (i.e., doughnuts and potato chips) contain high levels of sugar that can be harmful to both mommy and baby. Diets rich in sugar are associated with weight gain, pre-term labor, gestational diabetes and higher rates of Caesarean births.

Make sure to speak to a nutritionist or a dietitian to help you achieve optimum nutrition or enrol in the pre and postnatal nutrition course.

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