Pregnant women must make the right choices over what is safe to eat during pregnancy. As you know, this is a very important time in your life, and you will certainly want to make the proper and best choices regarding your nutrition.
You need to ensure that your diet provides enough nutrients, energy and it is safe for your baby to develop properly. You will also need to keep your body healthy to deal with the changes that are occurring for you and your little over the next nine or so months.
You should follow a safe, varied, nutritious and balanced diet which include:
Fruit and vegetables: you should aim for five portions of fruit and veggies each day. Your portions may be in the form of juice, frozen, dried or fresh. Frozen and fresh portions have higher vitamin intake. You should wash them first because of the Salmonella and E.Coli can leave possible traces on the skin. Even if you do not eat the skin you should wash them.
Protein: good protein sources are non-polluted lean meat, fish (only salmon, catfish, Pollack, shrimp, and canned light tuna), and chicken including completely cooked eggs. Mothers who are vegetarians may consider the following foods: tofu, soy products, quinoa, beans, legumes, nuts, lentils and the nut butter.
Fats: your fat intake should not be more than 30% of your daily calories. The monounsaturated fats are preferable to saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, avocadoes, nuts, seeds and canola oil which are safe to eat and contain the necessary fats that your body needs.
Deli meats: as long as you heat the deli meats and make sure they are steaming before you eat, they are safe to consume during pregnancy. This is the only way you can protect yourself from Listeriosis. This is a bacterial infection and you can read more about the dangers of Listeriosis here.
Fiber: wild rice, wholegrain pasta, fruits, veggies, pulses and bread are rich in fiber. Women during pregnancy are at higher risk of developing constipation but by eating fiber, they can minimize that risk. Fiber helps to reduce the severity of hemorrhoids, prevents obesity and aids in digestion.
Dairy products: you should increase your calcium intake during pregnancy because calcium takes a huge part in your baby’s development. Foods rich with calcium are the dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Non-soft cheeses, pasteurized milk and yogurt are your best bet to eat during pregnancy.
Zinc: zinc plays a vital role in the normal growth and development of your baby. It is a vital trace element that takes its part in several biological functions during pregnancy including the nucleic acid metabolism and protein synthesis. The best and safe source for zinc are shrimps, crab, steamed deli meat, fish, beans, pasteurized milk, peanut butter, nuts, ginger, bran, wheat germ, rice, pasta, cereals, lentils, eggs, onions and tofu.
If you have any concerns about your zinc intake you may talk to your doctor about taking additional supplements.
Iron: you need extra iron during pregnancy to prevent having a:
- Preterm delivery
- Low-weight baby
- Miss abortion
- Tiredness, irritability, depression
An iron rich diet will help your baby’s proper development and complications related to anemia during and after pregnancy as stated in this article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Here are some safe rich sources of iron that you should know about:
- Dried beans
- Canned Light Tuna
- Lean meat
- Cooked oysters
- Legumes: Lima beans, soybeans, dried beans, peas, and kidney beans
- Veggies: well washed and fresh broccoli, dandelion leaves, asparagus, collards, kale and spinach
- Wholegrain: Millet, wheat, oats and brown rice
In conclusion, be careful and aware of what you are handling and eating during this precious time in your life. You probably know you are now eating for two, but that doesn’t mean you should be eating “fast food” or “unhealthy” food for two.
Make sure your nutritional selections not only taste good, but will also be beneficial for you and your developing baby. You will not only look better during this time, you will feel much better. Add in a regular exercise routine and enjoy this special time you are experiencing.