Mmm! Good (and Bad) Food During Pregnancy

MonBabyVegMmm! Good (and Bad) Food During Pregnancy

It’s so easy to justify eating more junk food when pregnant. But eating healthy food during pregnancy – along with getting plenty of exercise – makes a big impact on the overall health of you and your growing baby. A healthy diet can help you feel good, give your baby the vitamins and minerals he needs, and help you achieve healthy weight gain.

Servings per day

You’ve probably heard people say that when pregnant you’re “eating for two.” But that doesn’t mean you should double the calories you consume; you only need an additional 300 calories per day. And that’s not 300 extra calories of cake or chocolate, either; your body needs a variety of nutrients to fulfill the growing demands of pregnancy. Each day, you should try to include the following amount of servings from each food group:

  • Protein – 3 servings
  • Vegetables – 4+ servings
  • Fruit – 2-4 servings
  • Grains – 6-11 servings of whole grain
  • Fat – Limit to occasionally
  • Dairy – 4 servings

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Our bodies are pretty good at removing toxins and fighting bacteria that can make us ill. However, risks of some types of infection are greater for women during pregnancy and can prove fatal for babies. While pregnant, you should avoid consuming:

  • Fish high in mercury – It is possible that your baby could have developmental delays or brain damage if mercury is consumed during pregnancy. Fish containing mercury include shark, swordfish, tuna, tilefish, and others. These should be avoided completely.
  • Raw meats, eggs, shellfish – Eating these foods may cause infection due to a possible contamination from coliform, salmonella, or toxoplasmosis.
  • Deli meat – Deli meat and hot dogs can be contaminated by listeria, a bacterium that can cross the placenta and create serious problems, including death, for your baby.
  • Unpasteurized milk and soft imported cheeses – Some imported cheeses are not made with pasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk can contain listeria. Check labels before consuming imported soft cheeses.
  • Alcohol Do not drink ANY alcohol during pregnancy as this can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, a lifelong disease for your baby.
  • Caffeine – Caffeinated beverages have been linked to premature birth, low birthweight, and miscarriage. It’s especially important to refrain from drinking caffeine during the first trimester and throughout your pregnancy, if possible. Any caffeine should be limited to 200 mg per day.
  • Unwashed produce Be sure to wash your fruits and veggies before enjoying, as the soil they were grown in can contain toxoplasmosis.

Tips for eating well while pregnant

Eating well during pregnancy is totally possible; it just takes is some planning and preparation.

  • Include foods from every food group daily.
  • Half your plate should be fruits and veggies.
  • Compare your meals to the rainbow – the more color, the better!
  • Keep portions under control.
  • Start small. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to eat a healthy diet. Begin by including veggies in every meal, eliminating sweets, or incorporating whole grains into your diet, then build from there. Every step you take towards eating nutritious foods is beneficial for you and your baby.
  • Have healthy snacks available – and take some with you! Sometimes a little nibble can suspend feelings of nausea.

Pregnancy simply requires more of your body. When the vitamins and minerals gained from the foods you eat are not enough, your doctor or midwife may recommend a prenatal vitamin as a supplement to healthy food choices.

What motivates you to eat healthy foods during pregnancy? Share with us in the comments!


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