When you are pregnant, you hear a lot about eating healthy. Your body requires more nutrients like iodine, iron, folic acid, and protein, as well as enough calcium. It becomes important to make healthy food choices that can help the healthy development of your baby.
How Important Is Your Diet During Pregnancy?
Healthy eating pattern
Follow a healthy pattern of your diet that includes all the necessary nutrition. This can include vegetables, whole grains, protein foods, fruits, and dairy products. Consume foods and drinks that do not contain saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium. It is advisable to restrict the intake of foods like white bread, cookies, and some snacks.
Consuming enough calories
During the first 12 weeks or the first trimester, you do not need more calories. When you are in your second trimester, which is between 13 to 26 weeks, you would require 340 calories daily, till you enter your third trimester when your body will ask for 450 extra calories.
Which foods should you consume?
When there is a little one growing inside your body, it requires extra protein and calcium to meet the healthy growth requirements. That is why dairy products come into play. Your diet should include cheese, yogurt, and milk. Greek yogurt carries calcium more than other products of dairy.
These can be deliciously cooked in several ways and are full of a compound that converts vitamin A, known as beta carotene. This is advised as vitamin A is important for the development of your baby. But foods with excessive vitamin A sourced from animal-based products like meat are not advised.
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber too, which helps in improving digestion and keeps you fuller.
This includes chickpeas, peas, lentils, soybeans, beans, and peanuts. These are enriched with iron, protein, folate, and many vitamins. They also contain fiber and some are rich in magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Eggs carry little from every essential nutrient that your body requires. One large egg carries 80 calories, fat, protein, and many other essential vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are rich in choline which is an important nutrient during pregnancy. It helps in developing the baby’s brain and prevents spine and brain abnormalities. One full-size egg contains around 147 mg of choline.
Salmon, found in seafood carries a whole load of benefits. It is an essential source of omega-3 fatty acids. It helps develop the baby’s eyes, brain, and gestational length. It is also a great source of vitamin D, which almost all of us lack. Vitamin D is essential for immune function and bone health.
Berries contain fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and healthy carbs. They do not cause spikes in the rate of your blood sugar as they have a low glycemic index value. They make good snacks, and also provide water and fiber with flavor with fewer calories. You can eat raspberries, strawberries, acai berries, and goji berries.
Dark Leafy Greens And Broccoli
Vegetables like spinach and kale contain many essential nutrients. If you do not like how they taste, you can simply add them to your favorite dishes. They are rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, folate, and iron. They help in fighting constipation too. Adding them to various servings can boost your health.
They are full of vitamins, fiber, and plant compounds. Instead of pasta, white bread, and white rice, consume brown rice, barley, oats, and quinoa.
Foods To Avoid
There are several foods that are not recommended when you are pregnant. They contain harmful ingredients for your little one.
- Unless pasteurized, avoid consuming soft cheese like goat cheese, feta and Brie.
- It is advised to avoid eating uncooked or undercooked shellfish or fish like raw oysters or sushi.
- Do not consume unpasteurized milk or juices.
- Restrict rare or raw meats and poultry from your diet.
- Mung bean sprouts, alfalfa, radish and clover.
- Hot dogs, deli meats and smoked seafood should be avoided.
Not only foods, when pregnant you should avoid beverages with added sugar. Drink coffee or tea with decaf. Instead of soda, energy drinks, or sports drinks, consume more water and alcohol should be avoided.
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Amanda Wingfield is a certified Diabetes Management Specialist who also holds an MD in Endocrinology, with certifications from ABIM and AACE. She has a decade of experience serving thousands of patients through her independent practice and has been working in the capacity of an expert diabetes consultant for the past 4 years. Ms. Wingfield is revered by her regular readers for her in-depth research and evidence-based analysis of diabetes medications, supplements, and treatments, and her highly critical style of writing.