Expecting a child is both a blessing and a nerve-wracking experience. You’ve gotten pregnant, but now what do you do? Particularly for first-time moms, it can be a little difficult to develop a healthy eating routine. Women often tend to think that pregnancy means raking in more calories. That is a huge misconception. You only need only 350-500 extra calories every day. If you happen to be very slim, aim to gain 28-40 pounds, 25-35 pounds if you are averagely weighted, and 15-25 if you are overweight. Gaining a lot of weight will result in bigger babies and also leave you with a lot of weight to shed.
But that doesn’t mean you start counting calories. What you put inside your body is more important and today we’ll give you a complete round up of what you should eat. If you eat healthy, homemade food in your daily routine it won’t be such a stretch for you. However, if you tend to rely on store-bought stuff and junk food most of the time, you’ll have to change those habits. During this time your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins, and mineral and if your diet lacks all this it will not only negatively affect you but the child as well.
Here are all the things you need to include in your diet in order to have a healthy pregnancy and not go overweight. But remember, this is merely advice from our side and you should be in touch with a gynecologist or dietician for an expert opinion as well.
Since people often forget to drink enough water, we’re putting it at the top spot. And when you’re pregnant it is even more important to stay hydrated because your blood volume goes up by 1.5 liters. Hence it is recommended to drink anywhere between 1 to 2 liters of water or else you may start to notice symptoms like headaches, anxiety, tiredness, bad mood and reduced memory.
2. Lean Meat
Lean Meat, the one that does not contain excess fat, is the best source for iron. Iron is an essential mineral and is used by to transfer oxygen throughout your bloodstream. Pregnant women need it even more particularly in their third trimester. An iron deficiency can cause amnesia which may result in birth complications. So incorporate lean meats like chicken, mutton, and beef in your diet.
Fish is the ultimate source for Omega-3, a fatty acid that has multiple benefits including child development during pregnancy. It contributes to the brain development of the baby. However, there is a catch. Some fish types tend to accumulate mercury deposits in their body which can have adverse effects on the child’s nervous system. So during your childbearing years, you may want to avoid fishes like swordfish or tilefish. Other fish like salmon, tuna, and shrimp will work just fine but try to limit it their intake to only twice a week.
4. Whole Grains
As your pregnancy progresses your calorie intake will also have to increase and whole grains like wheat, oats, quinoa, rye, and barley can help meet that need. But they are not just calorie-fillers they are also full of nutrients like B-vitamins, fiber, magnesium, fiber, and vitamins. Try to include whole grains like oats in your breakfast and consume wheat bread for more fuller lunch or dinner meals.
5. Beans and Lentils
Legumes like chickpeas, black beans, chickpeas, and lentils are natural sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate (B9), and calcium. Folate is an essential nutrient for both the mother and the development of the fetus. Women who do not consume enough folate tend to give birth to babies who have low birth weight and are more prone to developing diseases later on.
6. Green Vegetables
Leafy greens should be your best friends during pregnancy. Vegetables like broccoli and spinach are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. They also contain antioxidants and their high-fiber content will help prevent constipation.
7. Fresh Fruit
Women tend to eat a lot during pregnancy and it is only natural. Some people do not have higher self-restraint and so constant snacking is a must for them. However, snacking on junk food results in empty calories and weight gain. Snacking on fruits like apples, bananas, berries, and oranges will not only keep you fresh but will also provide you with healthy nutrients like vitamin C, iron, potassium, and fiber.
8. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits like almonds, pistachios, and cashew nuts, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are another great snack not just for pregnant women but for anyone who’s looking to lose a little weight. Dry fruits are high in calories, vitamins, mineral, and fiber. However, don’t go overboard. A handful of dry fruits is enough for one day.
Eggs are the best item for breakfast, although you can have them any time of the day. It is good to start your day with them because they give your body a boost of energy with its 77 calories, high-protein, vitamins, and healthy fat. Boiled eggs can also serve as a great healthy snack if you feel hungry at any time of the day.
10. Dairy Products
For pregnant women, calcium and proteins are one of the most important nutrients to have in their diet and dairy products are the easiest source. Dairy products are not just heavy on calcium, obviously, but they also contain a good amount of protein. Moreover, dairy products are packed with other nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, and numerous vitamins. Yogurt can also provide you with a healthy dose of probiotics. However, if you are lactose intolerant you can take vitamins and probiotics supplements to reduce the risk of any complications.
There you have it, our detailed guide on which food items to include in your diet while pregnant. This doesn’t mean you have to go out of the way to alter your meals. Make sure what you’re eating also includes these food items. Also, don’t be afraid to give into your occasional cravings as well. Have a bar of chocolate, fries, or ice cream here and there so that you don’t go overboard!