When considering tips for healthy eating during pregnancy, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider. Always remember that choosing healthful foods while pregnant is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your unborn child. Eating nutritionally-dense foods will have you looking and feeling your best during this special time, but most importantly, they will enable your baby to grow and flourish. Follow these simple guidelines for optimal health while you are expecting.
Plant-based foods are a nutritional powerhouse, and now you'll need them more than ever. Not only do these foods contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3's, they also taste great. Savor a spinach salad for a healthy dose of iron, munch on some carrots for beta carotene, or choose an orange for immunity-boosting Vitamin-C. Ideally, it is best to sneak a fruit or vegetable in with every meal or snack. Keeping dried fruit in your desk drawer or a bag of veggie chips in your purse may help you to meet your daily requirements.
Can't make it through your morning without a donut? Now is a great time to think about switching those unhealthy eating habits for more wholesome ones. Trade morning pastries for whole grain cereal bars, ditch the greasy chips and snack on baked crackers with your favorite (pasteurized) cheese, and choose fruit-sweetened snacks over refined sugar. This isn't to say that you can't occasionally give in to that Cheetos craving, but remember that everything you eat goes to your baby.
Did you know that within the first few weeks of pregnancy, your body will increase its blood volume by around 30-50% (The Mayo Clinic). All that extra fluid should come from excellent hydration. Aim to drink around eight full glasses of water per day to keep from becomming dehydrated. Keep water handy on your desk at work, at the gym, and when you're out and about. This will ensure that you'll be sipping on it all day.
Protein is a building block of life, and you'll need plenty of it while pregnant. Choose lean sources such as chicken breast, lean beef, beans, eggs, and skim or 1% milk. Fish is acceptable in moderation, but avoid tuna, swordfish, shark, and mackeral. These may contain high levels of mercury which can be harmful for you and your baby. Cheese also offers a great source of protein. Avoid unpasteurized and soft varieties (such as French Brie, Feta, Bleu, and Gorgonzola) as these may pose a risk of literiosis poisoning.
Alcohol should always be off limits in every stage of pregnancy. If the thought of giving up coffee unbearable, try limiting your intake to around 200mg per day (about one small cup). Beware that soft drinks, chocolate, and even medications can contain caffiene. Excessive caffiene consumption during pregnancy has been linked with increased risk of miscarriage (March of Dimes). ) Beware ChooThe best beverages to choose while pregnant are water, milk, and 100% fruit juices.
These tips are generally considered acceptable for healthy eating while pregnant, however, it is always best to consult with your doctor for your specific dietary needs.