It is always important to develop and maintain healthy eating habits but it is even more important during pregnancy or when you are planning to get pregnant. Apart from leaving you feeling energized the food that you eat is the number one source of nutrition for your unborn child. And so what you eat will affect the growth and development of your baby directly.
Coming up with a diet plan for pregnancy should not be difficult because you only need to keep the meals balanced with the right portions from all the five top food groups. Check out the five vital diet tips for pregnancy below for some ideas on what you should eat when pregnant.
#1 Grains and Bread
Cereals and bread are the number one source of energy for the body as they provide it with essential carbohydrates. Whole grains such as wheat, cornmeal, oats and barley provide pregnant women with essential nutrients like B vitamins and iron. Fortified cereals and bread can also help mothers get an adequate amount of folic acid.
A bowl of fortified cereals can cater for most of your daily grain requirements, but it is also an excellent idea to have a whole wheat bread sandwich in the course of the day. The golden rule when it comes to grains is to make sure that at least half of what you eat (grains) every day are whole grains.
Protein is vital for the growth of a fetus, and this is more so during the last two trimesters. Eggs, poultry, and fish, contain the protein, B vitamins, and iron that a pregnant woman needs. Experts recommend that you should take at least 27 mg of protein every day.
Chicken, lean beef, liver and lamb are some of the beast sources of proteins during pregnancy. But, if these traditional sources do not appeal to you there is still another good option which is taking fish and other seafood.
#3 Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetables and fruits should form part of every meal for a pregnant woman because they contain some vital nutrients. They provide mothers with different kinds of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber which aids in digestion. You can have them as salads or steam them (vegetables), and the best idea is to have as many types as possible.
The dark green vegetables also have folate, iron, and vitamin D and so you should make sure that you have them several times every week. An interesting way to consume fruits is to top your cereals with some slices of your favorite fruit while a vegetable pizza is also an interesting idea.
#4 Dairy Products
A pregnant woman requires at least 1000 mg of calcium every day. Calcium helps the body in many ways including building healthy bones and teeth, blood clotting and for nerve/muscle function. Dairy products like yogurt and cheese are an excellent source of calcium, and so they should also form part of your daily diet.
Nutritionists and other health experts recommend that a pregnant woman should consume a minimum of four servings of dairy products every day. There are endless ways of meeting your dairy product needs such as having milk with your whole grain cereal and eating some yogurt as an afternoon snack.
It is almost impossible for a pregnant woman to resist the urge of snacking on something. Whether it is because of the typical pregnancy cravings, or you just feel hungry, you will want to snack on something every few hours or in between meals. But, it is important to ensure that you always go for healthy snacks as they are better for you and your unborn child.
If you cannot wait for lunch or dinner make sure that you do not eat bites that are high in fat or sugar. Things like sweets, chocolates and biscuits are not good for your pregnancy as they will lead to an unhealthy weight gain. Instead of going for fatty or sugary treats you should snack on fruit slices, vegetable salads, soups or porridge with milk.
Ensuring that you maintain a healthy diet during your pregnancy is the best gift you can give your unborn child. It is important to eat food from all the main groups, but you also need to be careful with your servings or portions. A nutritionist or your doctor can help you with the servings.
Although your diet will be the primary source of vitamins and minerals, it is still important to take prenatal vitamins before and during your pregnancy as they help to bridge any nutritional gaps. Lastly, you should also avoid GMO and processed foods as much as possible.