All you need to know about how to eat during pregnancy
Keeping well-nourished is of key importance when you are pregnant – after all, you are creating a tiny human with just your own body to help you. Here’s our guide to avoiding faddy diets and getting all you need.
What’s on my plate?
Carbs should be part of your pregnancy plate, as they give you and your growing baby energy. Choose any you like, from rice, bread and pasta, yams, chapattis, cereals and of course potatoes. Ignore faddy diets that say you should stay off carbs, as this is not good advice for pregnancy. Where possible, choose wholemeal, wholegrain or high fibre varieties, which will not only stave off constipation but keep you fuller for longer.
Your plate can be as pretty as a picture if you choose different coloured fruits and vegetables and they will also give you a wide range of useful vitamins. Different coloured fruit and veg contain different vitamins – carrots have beta carotene, tomatoes and red peppers vitamin C, and so on. For each meal, aim to have at least three colours on your plate.
Packed with protein
You don’t need huge amounts of protein but you should aim for at least two portions per day, to help your baby grow properly and to give you a source of iron. Choose from lean meat, pulses like lentils and beans, eggs and various nuts. Fish is another good choice and you should try to have a couple of portions of oily fish each week as well, packed with beneficial long- chain fatty acids.
The white stuff
Calcium is important for your baby’s bones – in fact, if you don’t get enough, your baby can take calcium from you, so you might end up with bone problems in the future! So that means dairy products like cheese, yoghurt and milk – low fat versions are great.
Make every snack count
We know it’s easy to reach for the biscuits or crisps but try to make sure that snacks are nutritious – and taste great too! Vegetable sticks with hummus, smoothies, soups, fruit, bread sticks and crackers with low fat hard cheese all make great choices without piling on the pounds.
You need to drink plenty of water, as you are more prone to dehydration. Keep a glass handy and if exercising, have a bottle of water with you. Ring the changes with low- sugar squash, a small amount of unsweetened fruit juice and fruit smoothies.
The worst time to think about any kind of diet is when you are pregnant. You need a good mix of foods to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to help your baby develop.
Dietary choices and allergies
If you avoid foods due to religious or dietary needs, be careful you get all you need. Those who don’t eat meat can get protein from foods such as green vegetables, pulses like beans, peas and lentils, apricots, figs and dried fruit, seeds, cereals with added iron, quinoa and wholemeal bread.
Not all food is created equally – some kinds pack more of a punch than others. Here are some great choices to keep you and your baby in tip-top condition.
1. ALMONDS; Full of unsaturated fats (check with your midwife before eating nuts
if you or someone in your family have a history of allergies)
2. BANANAS; Contain potassium and are good for morning sickness
3. BREAD; Wholemeal varieties have fibre, iron and zinc in them
4. BROCCOLI; Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A and antioxidants – wow!
5. CEREALS; Full of fibre, folic acid and B vitamins
6. CHICKPEAS ;Contain iron and fibre
7. EGGS; As well as containing a small amount of nearly every vitamin and mineral needed by your body, they also have protein and amino acids, plus vitamins B12, B2, A and B5, plus selenium – most contained in the yolk
8. MELONS; Vitamins A and C, potassium; can boost immunity and reduce
9. LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES; With thiamine, folic acid, calcium, vitamins C, B6 and K, phosphorus, potassium and fibre
10. OATS; Filled with complex carbohydrates, which are great for slow energy release; can help lower cholesterol
11. OILY FISH ;Contains Omega 3, which is good for brain development
12. STRAWBERRIES; Iron and vitamin C – good for cleansing
13. SWEET POTATO ;Vitamin E and B6, also beta carotene, iron, potassium, folic acid
14. TOMATOES; Vitamins A and C; may help regulate blood sugar