What you eat during pregnancy is especially important. Your number one concern should be the health of both you and your baby. For this reason, you may need to make a few essential changes to your diet at this time. A healthy diet helps ensure your baby grows and develops properly in your womb.
To start with, you need to avoid fatty foods, junk foods, and sugary foods, but you will also have to consume 300 calories more than what you normally take in (though, to put this in context, 300 calories is about the amount found in a bowl of cereal containing one cup cereal, 8oz 2% milk and 1 banana; or two slices of buttered toast – so don’t be thinking you’re “eating for two”, you’re just taking in one extra small meal each day or two small snacks, which you might find you’ll need in between meals, especially if you’re experiencing morning sickness).
Filling your body with proper nutrients can be achieved by eating the right types of food. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of essential nutrients, which will be good for you and your baby. Fruits like oranges, strawberries, apples, bananas, melons, peaches, and grapes contain a lot of healthy vitamins that will be good for you and your baby’s health. And vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, lentils, and peas are also recommended. These contain folic acid and iron, which are both crucial during pregnancy.
The key to healthy eating is to practise a balanced diet in pregnancy by having a little of all the essential nutrients. Meat is a great source of protein. Red meat in particular contains iron, which is especially needed during pregnancy. When eating meat, make sure it is cooked thoroughly, as raw or undercooked meat, fish or eggs can be especially dangerous for pregnant women. Chilled cooked meat should also be heated right through to avoid bacteria which poses a risk to you and your baby. Avoid shellfish too, as the dangers of food poisoning during pregnancy are much higher than in normal adults, so the risk isn’t worth posing. Meat, as with most foods, should be eaten in moderation too.
Adding dairy products to your diet will contribute to you and your baby’s good health. Stick to certain dairy products such as small portions of cheddar cheese, pasteurised milk, and yoghurt. These foods are rich in calcium, which is something you and your baby need. Certain dairy products should be avoided, such as soft cheeses like brie or camembert or blue cheeses, which are made from unpasteurised milk (read the label – some cheeses are made from pasteurised milk, which is okay).
There is nothing wrong with a pregnant woman eating dessert, just be sure to eat sweets in moderation.
You might think the list of foods to avoid is rather long, but don’t worry – there are many tasty foods available to you, and there are great recipes you can try to boost your nutrient intake and get lots of variety and flavour. Healthy eating in pregnancy is all about eating the proper foods for you and your little one. By eating foods full of nutrients, you are helping your baby grow properly and boosting your own health and energy levels too.
Eating a variety of foods every day is recommended to be able to get the essential nutrients and right amount of calories. To help you achieve this, create a list of your favourite foods that you are allowed to eat. As the months pass, you will need more nutrients and to consume more calories to cater to your growing baby in your womb.