Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Let’s face it, pregnancy is a life changing time in anyone’s life and eating nutritionally for the optimal health of the mom and baby is absolutely paramount. Ask any physician, expert or nutritionist and they will tell you that the average pregnant woman only needs about 300 extra calories a day!
I’m currently in my 8th month and getting into the home stretch of my pregnancy but one thing I’ve been adamant about throughout the three trimesters is healthy eating. Sure I’ve had my cravings for Chipotle, McDonald’s French fries (worst acid reflux ever might I mention) and the occasional Snickers bar. However, each time I’ve allowed myself to indulge has been in moderation and backed by a protein rich, whole foods diet.
It seems that a lot of women seem to think that pregnancy means they can eat anything they want, case in point Jessica Simpson – though really, are any of us moms getting paid a cool 4 million by Weight Watchers to shed the weight post-partum? I think not. Not to mention it’s very unhealthy to gorge on junk food when what you and your baby need are whole foods that are nutritionally dense.
So realistically, what’s the right way to eat? For starters, be sure to take your prenatal vitamin daily and drink plenty of water. I know, I know you are likely peeing every five seconds regardless but I cannot stress the importance of staying well hydrated throughout the course of your pregnancy. Remember that a well‐hydrated body will ensure better digestion, assimilation of nutrients, and a robust metabolism.
At this point you’ve probably read or received a handout from your physician, midwife or doula regarding foods you should avoid i.e. sushi, unpasteurized cheese, deli meats, etc. But has anyone told you about the foods that you should be consuming?
Protein 75-100 grams daily
- 2-3 servings of meats like cooked fish, chicken, lean beef, lamb, pork, nuts
- 2-3 servings of legumes (1 serving is approximately ½ cup)
Calcium 1000 milligrams daily, equivalent of 3-4 servings, which includes:
- Milk, eggs, Greek yogurt, pasteurized cheese, almonds, salmon, greens such as spinach and kale
Iron 27 milligrams daily
- 2-3 servings of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, collard greens
- 3 servings whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads
Folate/Folic Acid 600 to 800 micrograms (.6 or .8 milligrams) daily
- 2 servings of dark leafy greens including collard greens, kale, spinach, lettuce
- 2 servings of citrus fruits such as oranges, strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, papaya
- 2 servings seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, flax seeds, almonds, walnuts, hazelnut
DHA 12 oz (340 grams) once to twice weekly
- Salmon, light canned tuna, anchovies, herring, sardines
Remember these are just guidelines, you don’t need to go crazy trying to eat everything in the exact quantities listed but you should definitely aim to eat a healthy, whole foods based diet and rid your pantry of processed foods.
The best way I’ve found to get my daily intake of fruits and veggies has been through daily green juices, try my Live Long, Lean and Green juice. And if you have a bad day and happen to indulge in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby (it happens to the best of us), don’t beat yourself up instead plan to eat nutritionally at your next meal.
Stay tuned for part two of Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy coming soon!