Feeling more hungry than usual? You don't have to eat for two. Just eat healthy, nutritious food to keep yourself fit and healthy, and to help your baby grow and develop inside you.
What you eat and drink will influence the growth and development of your baby. Consume a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods.
Ensure the following -
6 to 11 servings of breads and grains,
2 to 4 servings of fruit,
4 or more servings of vegetables,
4 four servings of dairy products, and
3 servings of protein foods.
Whole Grain Cereals
Eat plenty of whole grain
cereals such as whole grain wheat and breads, pasta, oats, rye and barley and brown rice. They are high fiber foods
. You need to consume 28g of dietary fiber daily. Fiber is important for digestive health and helps prevent constipation, which is a big problem during pregnancy. Fiber also helps regulate blood sugar and helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Complex carbs in whole grains and legumes help fight nausea because of their starchiness.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain lot of fiber. In addition, they are good source of vitamin A (beta carotene) needed for tissue development, vision and development of immune system in the baby; vitamin C, so important for bone and teeth development in the baby; and folate which is crucial to prevent neural tube defect and for healthy birth weight. Studies have shown that even 20 percent increase in fruit consumption can increase birth weight by about 14.6g. Choose fruits like grapes, guava, kiwi, mango, papaya, blueberries and other berries, pineapple and watermelon
. Include leafy vegetables and vary the colors of your fruits and veggies.
Milk and dairy products
Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are very important in pregnancy because they contain calcium
and other nutrients required for development of your baby. You too need calcium to avoid the risk of osteoporosis. You need 1000mg to 1300mg per day of calcium during pregnancy
. During the third trimester of pregnancy, the baby needs calcium for bone development and strengthening. If your calcium intake is inadequate, your baby will draw calcium from your bones, paving way for osteoporosis late in your life. To avoid the fats, go for low fat dairy. If you are lactose intolerant, opt for non-dairy calcium sources such as greens, broccoli, sardine and tofu.
Seafood is great source of protein, iron and zinc that is necessary for the baby's growth and development
. Moreover, seafood is high in omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for the baby's brain development
. According to the FDA recommendations pregnant women can safely eat up to 12 ounces or 340g of seafood a week. Choose from fish such as shrimp, salmon, sardine, and trout
Poultry and Meat
Protein in poultry and meat
is an important nutrient for you during pregnancy. Try to eat 100 to 150g of properly cooked meat or chicken each day. They are good source of iron and the main source of vitamin B12. But cut down on red meat and processed meat to 70g. Red meat is high in saturated fats, upping your risk for heart disease. Avoid liver or liver products. They contain high amount of vitamin A and excess of this vitamin can harm your baby.
Beans and legumes
Beans and legumes are also a good source of protein. They contain no cholesterol and are low in fats. They are also rich in fiber, calcium, iron, thiamin, and niacin
. Soybean provides more protein than any other legume. A study conducted in animals found that isoflavones found in soybean not only protect the mother from cardiovascular disease, but also afford protection against this disease to the baby as well.
Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and iodine
. Iodine is important during pregnancy because it is associated with the brain and nervous system development
in the baby. A study published in the journal Lancet revealed that even a mild deficiency of iodine may lead to lower IQ in the child later in life. You need 0.22mg of iodine in your daily diet.
However, take care to store and cook eggs properly. Raw eggs or eggs with runny yolk can cause food poisoning due to salmonella infection.
Iron Rich Foods
You need 27mg of iron daily from your diet to fight iron-deficiency anemia
. Eat at least 3 daily servings of iron-rich foods. Here's the amount of iron you get from per serving of the following -0.7mg in 3 ounces of chicken and fatty fish, 3.5mg in half cup of tofu and one ounce of pumpkin, sesame, and squash seeds, 2.1mg of non-heme iron in one medium baked potato and one medium stalk of broccoli, 0.7mg non-heme iron in a cup of spinach, half cup of dried fruits such as peach or prune, one ounce of nuts (cashew, pecan, walnut, almond)
and sunflower seeds.
Feel like snacking?
If you feel hungry between meals, nibble on fresh fruits, ready to eat apricots or prunes, baked potato,
baked bean toast, hummus with bread, currant bun (with or without low fat cheese spread)
, or unsalted nuts.
Avoid Sugary Foods
Sugary foods and sugary drinks
do not contain any nutrients. So, they are not healthy for you or your baby. Choose unsweetened fruit juice
or milk instead. When sugar craving sneaks up, go for fresh berries drizzled with a little honey or half a banana with almond butter or maybe some roasted sweet root vegetable chips.