Whether you’re a mama-to-be or not, it’s important to avoid processed foods, never skip breakfast, and get the right amount of the right type of calories. Here are ten nutrition tips that are especially important when you have a bun in the oven:
1.Take a prenatal vitamin (discuss the best option with your doctor). However, don't rely too heavily on it. You can't pack all the goodness of healthy, fresh food into a pill.
2. Increase your calorie intake by about 300 calories daily. This is a lot less than many women assume. Listen to your body. Overeating during your pregnancy can cause problems for you and your baby and the extra weight will be more difficult to lose after delivery.
3. Increase your intake of fiber to about 25 to 35 grams a day. This will help counteract the extra progesterone your body is producing that can lead to heartburn, constipation and indigestion. Flaxseed oil is a light, natural supplement that can also help with these symptoms.
4. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure to wash them thoroughly.
5. The protein, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids in fish are very important for the development of your baby. However, their nervous system can be damaged by fish high in mercury. It is safe to eat two average-sized portions of low mercury fish per week. Safe fish includes shrimp, salmon, catfish, cod and canned light tuna (avoid albacore or tuna steaks).
6. Dairy can be a great source of protein and calcium — both are especially important when you are pregnant. Stock up on milk, yogurt, and cheese but avoid any unpasteurized dairy products or juice. Soft cheeses such as brie and camembert are usually made with unpasteurized milk. Play it safe — don't eat soft cheese unless the packaging specifically says it was made with pasteurized milk.
7. Cook all eggs and meat thoroughly before consumption (that means no sushi). If you just can’t live without deli meats and hot dogs, cook them until they are steaming before consumption.
8. Discuss drinking herbal teas with your doctor. The effect of many herbs on your baby is unknown, and some can cause contractions.
9. Avoid drinking too much caffeine. Studies have shown correlation between caffeine intake and delayed child development.
10. Avoid raw sprouts (like alfalfa) because they can contain harmful bacteria.
Preggy Power Breakfast Smoothie
1/2 cup all natural low fat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup skim milk
1 medium pink grapefruit, quartered and peeled (remove any large seeds)
1 medium/small banana
1/2 cup Kashi Crunch! Honey Almond Flax cereal
Combine milk, fruit, and yogurt in blender until smooth. Pour into glass. Top with Kashi cereal. Enjoy.
Dairy: protein and calcium
Grapefruit: naturally occurring folate, fiber and immune system enhancing vitamin C
Banana: vitamin C and fiber
Cereal: protein, fiber, omega-3 and iron
For more information on pregnancy nutrition, click here.
Jessica is a nutrition expert and aspiring chef. Check out her blog here.