Why Having Healthy Meals is Good For Your Baby
Some people may assume that becoming pregnant results in an entire change of diet. However, many women plan out “pregnancy diets” to get extra nutrition.
You absolutely will have to make some changes in order to better strengthen the health of your baby, but in most cases, pregnant women stick to their normal diet and just add and subtract minor foods. Just being informed on what foods you put in your body and how they nutritionally benefit you is a big step in the right direction.
Getting pregnant implicates that for the time being, you’re going to be eating for two. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to literally double your food intake, but you may develop some unusual cravings and eating habits, and even so, this probably won’t affect you until after the first trimester. During the second trimester, only an additional 340 calories is required and 500 calories in the third trimester.
What to eat While Pregnant
When trying to figure out the best meals to eat while pregnant, it’s easier to know ahead of time what foods will benefit you in healthy ways. Pregnant or not, it’s always recommended to get a daily dose of the 5 food groups. Now that you are pregnant though, it’s even more important to add/keep these foods in your diet.
Top Five Food Groups to Make Healthy Meals While Pregnant
So what are the 5 five food groups and what’s included in each?
Protein is considered a macronutrient, which means you need rather large amounts of it to stay healthy. Protein does alot for your body such as regulating your hormones, helps food digestion, and build up bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. Here’s some foods high in protein that are great to eat while pregnant:
- Fish (Salmon in particular)
- Lean Meat
- Tofu (meat substitute)
- Edamame (vegetarian source of protein)
- Nuts and Nut butters
- Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- Almonds contain lots of calcium
- Peanuts and peanut butter are loaded with folate
Dairy provides the body with a big source of Calcium, which is important for the growth of strong bones and teeth. Calcium intake is especially necessary for pregnant women younger than 25 years, because their bones are still growing. A think to look for on the label of dairy products is “pasteurized” which means it has been heated to kill germs.
Before you run out to the store, let’s go over a couple top rated healthy dairy products to eat while pregnant:
- Eggs (two in one- protein and dairy)
- Yogurt (Greek Yogurt especially)
- Hard Cheese
Pro Tip: picking dairy products that are low in fat would be ideal.
Fruits carry lots of essential nutrients that provide great health benefits, especially when pregnant. They can also be easier to add to your diet because then can be included in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even desert! The good thing about fruit being on the sweeter side is that it may help reduce unhealthy pregnancy cravings. Here’s a few fruits you can either eat plain, or add to a smoothie:
- Berries (best ones for pregnancy are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and acai berries)
- Citrus Fruits (oranges are great)
- Dried Fruit
It is recommended that someone who is pregnant should eat at least four servings of vegetables per day. It is understandable that some people may not be the biggest fans of vegetables, but there a wide list to choose from that will help you stay healthy during your pregnancy. Let’s check them out:
- Peppers (Red Bell Peppers in particular)
- Dark Green Lettuce
When shopping for fruits and vegetables, try to choose organic whenever possible as some have more pesticide residue than others.
Grains are an important part of a balanced diet. When pregnant, eating around 6-11 servings of breads and grains is suggested. Whole grains, in particular, bring a lot of health benefits to your meals. When deciding what grains to put on your plate, think of these options:
- Rice (Brown is best)
- Whole Grain Bread
- Whole Wheat Pasta
Food to Avoid While Pregnant
Now that you are aware of the foods that can assist in creating a healthy diet while pregnant, it’s crucial to also know the foods you should stay away from.
A big thing to avoid eating while pregnant is anything raw, undercooked, or processed. Whether that be fish, meat, sprouts, eggs, or milk, stay away. This includes food that contain these raw ingredients.
As mentioned above in the dairy foods section of healthy foods, hard cheese is something you should intake, while on the flip side, soft cheeses you should avoid. Steer clear of feta, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, and Mexican-style cheese, such as queso fresco, panela, and asadero, as their is a possibility they are unpasteurized.
Healthy Meals While Pregnant Do Not Include
Another thing to avoid consuming is honey. Not only should you stay away while your pregnant, but also refrain from giving it to your child during their first year of life. Although honey has many great health benefits, babies before age 1 are unable to digest the spores of honey, which can cause botulism, a type of food poisoning, which can be fatal to infants.
A common asked question is “can I eat butter while pregnant?” If you are lactose intolerant, you should completely avoid butter during pregnancy, and any other dairy products for that matter. However, if your body digests lactose normally, than butter is okay to intake as long as it is in moderation, as too much can lead to heart disease. Lard, which is sometimes used as a substitute for butter, is suggested to be avoided completely during pregnancy.
Preparing Meals While Pregnant
Best practice is to have one food from each group on your plate when making a healthy meal. Now that you have some knowledge on what foods are/aren’t good to eat when pregnant, you can confidently start thinking of fun ways to make a healthy meal.
On top of the fact that everyone’s bodies ingests and digests food differently, there are alot of picky eaters out there, so maybe not everything on the lists above will work for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good meals to eat while pregnant. There is an abundance of options out there to ensure that everyone is able to discover healthy eating during their pregnancy.
Have More Questions About How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy?
Midwife360 is a Holistic Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OBGYN) in West Palm Beach, FL. We are a passionate and very experienced team of midwives ready to help provide you with the best plan for eating healthy during pregnancy.