Quick Tips For Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Quick Tips For Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Following a healthy eating routine is what everyone should do to maintain proper intake of nutrients. When you are pregnant, the body requires more of certain nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, potassium, folate, protein, iron, choline, and iodine. Making smarter food choices can ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. In this article, we aim to give you some quick dietary tips to help you eat healthy while pregnant. 

Before we get started, the basic principles of healthy eating remain whether you are pregnant or not. Make sure that you consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. A few nutrients during pregnancy deserve special attention, though. To maintain a healthy pregnancy, the following components come into play:

  • A balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Appropriate and timely vitamin/mineral supplementation
  • Appropriate weight gain

Get The Right Amount Of Calories

The amount of calories you need will change during the course of your pregnancy. Generally speaking, most pregnancies require the following caloric needs:

  • First trimester (first 12 weeks): no extra calories
  • Second trimester (13 to 26 weeks): about 340 extra calories per day
  • Third trimester (after 26 weeks): about 450 extra calories per day

Weight gain is completely natural during pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat everything in sight. How much weight you’ll need to gain, in addition to the number of calories, will depend on a few things. Ask your doctor or midwife how many calories you need and how much weight is necessary for you to have a healthy pregnancy. 

Follow A Healthy Eating Routine

Ideally, you want to consume a wide range of healthy foods while pregnant. Choose a mix from the following food groups to enjoy daily:

  • Whole fruits: berries, apples, mango, bananas, and more
  • Whole grains: such as brown rice, bulgur wheat, millet, oats, and multi-grain bread
  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, okra, beets, spinach, bell peppers, jicama, broccoli, and more
  • Healthy oils: olive oil, avocado oil, and virgin coconut oil
  • Lean protein: eggs, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, salmon, lamb, and skinless chicken
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy: yogurt, lactose-free dairy, cheese, soy yogurt, or fortified soy beverages

Should You Take A Prenatal Supplement?

Most health care providers or midwives will prescribe a prenatal supplement either before conception or shortly thereafter. This is to ensure that you meet all of your nutritional needs. Please note that a prenatal supplement does not replace a healthy diet. Whether or not you decide to take a prenatal supplement is up to you. Just make sure that you get enough of the following nutrients: 

  • Iron: Many women do not get enough iron during pregnancy. Iron helps your baby develop, so consult your healthcare provider to see if you need a prenatal supplement with iron, or a separate iron supplement. 
  • Choline: An important nutrient for the developing baby’s brain. Foods that contain choline include lean meats, seafood, beans, lentils, eggs, and fat-free dairy. Most prenatal supplements do not have choline, so if you don’t think that you are consuming enough, consult your healthcare professional.
  • Folic acid: Keep in mind that folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which exists in many dark leafy vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts. You can also obtain folate from oranges, lemons, strawberries, melons, and bananas. If you take a prenatal supplement, make sure that it contains 400 to 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. 
  • Iodine: Another nutrient that is integral for the baby’s brain. If you use salt to season your food, make sure it is iodized salt. Prenatal supplements typically do not have iodine, so ask your doctor whether you need an iodine supplement or not. 

Avoid Certain Foods

During your pregnancy, please note that you should stay away from certain foods. The following foods may contain bacteria that can harm the baby:

  • Lunch or deli meats, smoked seafood, and hot dogs
  • Raw (uncooked) or rare (undercooked) meats, poultry, or eggs
  • Raw sprouts, including clover, radish, alfalfa, and mung bean sprouts
  • Unpasteurized juice, cheese, or milk. Make sure you see “pasteurized” on the label.
  • Raw or rare fish or shellfish, such as sushi or raw oysters. (You can eat fish because it contains healthy fats, but some seafood is high in mercury. Generally speaking, you can eat eight to 12 ounces of seafood per week, so long as it is low in mercury and high in healthy fats).
  • Refrigerated pate and meat spreads



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