How to Eat Healthily During Pregnancy

 Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Being pregnant means eating for two and you simply cannot afford to nosh on unhealthy foods! You want to make sure your baby is getting all the nutrient he or she needs to develop properly. When it comes to development, the first trimester is the most crucial for the developing fetus. That’s why you have to develop the right diet plan to promote proper development. In today’s post, we are listing down healthy diet tips during pregnancy:

Take Prenatal Vitamins

In a perfect world, the baby gets all the nutrients he or she needs from the food the mother eats. Unfortunately, eating healthily does not guarantee meeting a developing fetus’ nutritional needs. As such, you have to take good prenatal vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Choose prenatal vitamins loaded with important nutrients for development such as folic acid, iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A. A pregnant woman should never be deficient in iodine, folic acid, and vitamin B. Nutrient deficiency during pregnancy could lead to birth defects, mental and behavioral disorders in children.  We also recommend taking prenatal vitamins formulated with choline. You need to take 450 mg of choline every day during pregnancy. Most prenatal vitamins do not contain choline so you’d have to take an extra supplement or eat choline-rich foods.

Watch Your Weight

Pregnancy and weight gain goes hand in hand. Because you are eating for two, you should never go on a diet at this point. That said, you should maintain a healthy diet to prevent gestational diabetes and obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight also makes it easier to reduce post-pregnancy weight gain.

Talk to your health care provider to determine the healthy amount of weight to gain according to your body type. A woman with a normal weight should gain 20 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. On the other hand, overweight pregnant women should only gain 15 to 20 pounds. Start by consuming an extra 300 calories every day to support baby’s development. Do not go beyond 300 calories so you do not gain a lot of weight. Eat foods that are rich in nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. Avoid junk foods to manage your weight. Remember, eating healthy does not mean eating more.

Take Mini Meals

One of the best ways to manage weight during pregnancy is to break down a day’s meals into six mini meals. Breaking down your meals rather than consuming 3 square meals, help regulate cravings and reduces weight gain. As you progress from your pregnancy, full-sized meals may seem too much because the developing fetus is taking more space in your belly. You can eat whenever hunger strikes but be smart about your diet choices. Again, opt for fresh, whole foods instead of processed meats or junk food so you do not consume empty calories.

That said, do not beat yourself up if you caved in on your cravings once in a while. A slice of cake, a piece of cookie or a cupcake will not hurt the baby!

Reduce Fat Consumption

Finally, reduce your fat intake to promote proper development. Fat should not account for more than 30% of your daily calories. Some of the fattiest foods are meats, dairy products, salad dressings, and gravy. You need to consume less of these foods to keep your fat consumption in check.