Pregnancy is one of the most draining life episodes a woman can experience. While pregnancy is also a beautiful experience, it is challenging and power-draining, too. Not only does a pregnant woman have to care for herself, but she also must care for the child that is growing inside her as well. Now, everything she eats will be directly consumed by the child, and that is why she has to be as careful as possible with what she’s eating.
Healthy Pregnancy Guidelines
Many parents, especially pregnant women, have questions about a healthy diet for their unborn baby. Many people will have advice ready for you, so it may be hard to decide whom you should listen to. The most important thing you have to consider is prenatal nutrition throughout every piece of advice you will hear. Prenatal nutrition has to be taken into account before and during the pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, keep the following facts in mind:
Variety is Essential
Fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods should be part of your diet when preparing for a pregnancy. These foods will solidify your nutritional health and the baby’s as well. The more vegetables and fruits on your plate, the better. Are you feeling snacky? Grab a baby carrot, celery or apple!
Remember That You’re Eating for Two Now
It’s common for women to have a larger appetite during pregnancy—you’re not the only one that needs food anymore. A pregnant woman needs more and more calories as the unborn child develops. So, to support the baby’s growth, try adding an extra snack or small meal to your diet as much as possible. Although you may not feel like having another bite, remember that the healthy growth of your baby depends on it.
Eat Fish with Low Mercury Levels
The mercury found in certain fish can be detrimental to your pregnancy.
Opt for fish with low levels of mercury, such as salmon and anchovies. Besides the low mercury level, they are a great source of protein, iron and zinc.
Switch Beverages with Water
Although not food, water is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Besides the nutrients it carries, water keeps your body cool and prevents constipation. It also controls swelling, a typical symptom of pregnancy. Try keeping a water bottle next to you at all times.
Foods for a Healthy Pregnancy
A healthy diet equals a healthy pregnancy. Although a healthy diet should be followed by everyone, it’s crucial for a pregnant woman. Try and shape your diet by including the following foods and nutrients into your diet:
Carbohydrates, found in starchy foods, are essential for a healthy pregnancy because they contain a high energy source, vitamins and fiber. If you’re trying to cut on some calories or having a bad day and don’t feel like overeating, starchy food will make you feel full quickly.
Foods such as bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, pasta, oats, yams, cereals, millet and corn are all high in carbohydrates and healthy for your pregnancy. Choose whole grain and higher-fiber foods over refined white food such as brown rice and whole-grain pasta. Try to add these foods into your diet until they make about a third of it.
Calcium, folate and iron from dairy products are necessary for the healthy development of the unborn child. These nutrients are all found in products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Always pick the low-fat varieties such as 1% fat milk, skimmed milk, semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yogurt and low-sugar yogurt. Also, soya milk and yogurt are great choices.
The safe choices are cheddar, stilton and parmesan when talking about cheese. Although these cheeses are produced with unpasteurized milk, they don’t contain as much water, so bacteria are less likely to develop. Instead, try to choose cheese made with pasteurized milk, such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, paneer, halloumi and cream cheese.
Your diet has to be as rich in protein as possible but within the healthy limits. Proteins are essential for a healthy pregnancy as the nutritional demand on a pregnant woman is enormous. Foods such as beans, some fish, eggs, meat (without liver), nuts, pulses and nuts are all packed with protein for you and your baby.
Are smoothies healthy for pregnancy? Besides water, smoothies are an excellent choice for a healthy pregnancy. They are a splendid way of consuming as many vegetables and fruits. Because women experience nausea and vomiting during the first trimester, smoothies are essential to take the vitamins you need and keep you and your baby healthy. They are easy and fast to put together, can be taken on to go, and are pleasing to the eye.
Food and Meal Ideas for a Healthy Pregnancy
It may be challenging to prepare healthy food three times a day without even thinking about snacks. It becomes even more complicated when experiencing crazy carvings, usually consisting of unhealthy foods that mess up your diet. Yet, it’s imperative to stay on course for the healthy development of your baby, and certain healthy pregnancy food recipes will help you stay on the right path!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives you the energy you need to start your day and, as you just woke up, the nutrients you are in much need to function throughout the day.
- You can never go wrong with a bacon and egg frittata—a warm and delicious way to start your day. You can even take it with you to work!
- Maybe you need something sweet? Answer: pumpkin spice parfait! Besides being tasty, it’s low in fat and cholesterol.
- You don’t even have to be pregnant to crave Mexican food, so imagine how much you’ll want it when pregnant. So, prepare a delicious egg wrap for your next breakfast. It has everything you need for a much-needed boost: eggs, baby spinach, cheese and salsa!
- As we were just talking about Mexican food, you don’t have to enjoy it just at breakfast. Have a fiesta salad with salad, black beans, corn, sweet potatoes and diced tomatoes. Besides being low in sugar, the taste is fantastic!
- We are all carving for a tasty burger from time to time. Maybe a veggie burger will settle down your appetite.
- You are now realizing how delicious veggies are and how many meals you can prepare with them. A veggie and hummus pita with eggs, tomatoes and cucumber will leave you wanting more.
- No one can stay away from lasagna. It’s just impossible. For the next dinner, prepare a skillet ravioli lasagna with fresh mozzarella and, if you’re not in the mood for beef, swap the meat with ground turkey.
- Are you tired of preparing meals that take hours upon hours to finish? The hearty chickpea and spinach stew is your answer. This meal, loaded with chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach, is low in sodium and rich in flavors.
- Are you still craving Italian food? Don’t shy away from creamy mushroom and spinach pasta. Simple to prepare, healthy and easy to eat!
- We can’t forget about snacking during pregnancy. A sweet and savory hummus plate can keep your cravings settled for a long while—fresh veggies, delicious fruit and some crackers on the side.
- Preparing plates for snacking is always a wise choice, as they will keep you occupied and always satiated. Try a mozzarella and melon plate next time you’re preparing a snack.
- Maybe you’re in search of something easier to digest. Prepare a whole-grain cereal bowl with some bananas and non-dairy milk.
Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy
- Sodium, saturated fats and sugars in moderation or as little as possible;
- Unpasteurized dairy products;
- Soft, semi-soft and surface-ripened cheese (brie, ricotta, feta, blue cheese and camembert);
- Avoid eating more than two servings of oily fish a week (trout, mackerel, and herring);
- Raw or partially cooked eggs;
- Shark and swordfish;
- Refrigerated and uncooked seafood;
- Refrigerated pates and meat spreads;
- Excessive amount of caffeine;
- Herbal tea;
A Parting Reminder
Remember that you first have to visit a doctor that will tell you what you can and can not eat during your pregnancy since diets for pregnant women differ from person to person. Make your diet something you’ll enjoy as you experience the incredible time of pregnancy.