Expecting a baby implies a lot of changes in your lifestyle if you want to give the best to your child, and what mother doesn’t? Besides giving up the small guilty pleasures like smoking, caffeine and alcohol you will also have to make sure the food you eat is healthy enough for your baby.
The benefits of a pregnancy diet plan
However, why is it so important to have a plan regarding diet during pregnancy? Well, the truth is that there are plenty of benefits not only for the baby but also for you. First of all, by eating healthily, you’ll make sure the baby is born in good condition as it will boost his/her brain development and reduce the risk of any malformations. Moreover, it can also influence you child’s later eating habits.
Second of all, you can avoid complications while making the pregnancy experience more comfortable, reducing morning sickness, fatigue and mood swings. As hard as it may be for you to believe it, having a diet plan can also influence your due date, by improving the chances of giving birth at the right time.
Anyhow, having a diet plan is not only important during pregnancy but also after giving birth, especially if you struggle with losing your baby belly. If you need help with that, consider ordering Sara Dean’s 6-week pregnancy weight loss program, and you will have the chance to consult a successful nutritional plan that’s helped a lot of women to lose extra weight gained during pregnancy.
When should you eat for two?
It’s true that when expecting a baby you’ll need to eat for two, but not through the whole period. In the first trimester of your pregnancy, there is no need to load yourself with food. The number of calories needs to be supplemented only from the second trimester, the average being an extra 300.
As your baby grows, during the third trimester you will need to add even more calories, somewhere near 500. To give yourself an idea, two ounces of almonds, one apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter or one bagel with one tablespoon of cream cheese are all quick recipes that contain 300 calories.
Read on the find out what you need to include in your diet plan to make sure you and your baby are as healthy as possible.
You will have to eat a wide variety of foods to make sure you get all the necessary nutrients. Overall, you will need to include six to eleven servings that contain bread and grains, at least four servings of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and three servings of protein.
Bread and Grains
If you weren’t used to including bread in your diet before, now it’s time to do it as you will have to eat at least six servings. Nevertheless, it’s not only bread but also cooked oatmeal, quinoa, beans, edamame, lentils, pasta, brown rice, English muffins, whole-wheat pita or granola.
The foods in this group are very helpful with morning sickness, so it’s a good idea to alternate them in your breakfasts. Moreover, white rice, oatmeal, and whole bread are very effective for mothers who struggle with diarrhea, thanks to their dietary fibers which are helpful in absorbing excessive water.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have always been healthy, so now it’s even more recommended to add them to your diet. With doctors advising pregnant women to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day, fruits and vegetables are good ways to vary snacks between meals.
A salad with broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, cooked kale and a medium bell pepper is one option. If you are into fruits, then add peaches, apricots, and papaya to your shopping basket, but try to avoid citrus fruits as they can cause stomach acid and heartburn.
Pregnant women need 70 mg of Vitamin C daily, so you’ll need to find different sources to acquire it. Don’t worry, there are plenty! In the fruit category, kiwi, pineapple, grapefruit, blackberries, raspberries and watermelon are all exceptional sources of Vitamin C.
As far as vegetables are concerned, kale, broccoli, tomato, raw spinach, edamame and romaine lettuce are not to be disregarded. Those of you who suffer from constipation shouldn’t hesitate to eat even more fruit and vegetables and remember to drink water – at least six to eight cups a day.
When expecting a baby, you will need at least 27 mg of iron a day. Lean beef, turkey, beans, peas, cooked spinach, cooked shrimp, chicken legs, quinoa or baked potatoes with skin are good sources to supplement iron deficiency.
Calcium is an essential element that gives your body strength by improving the condition of your bones, teeth and nails. Thus, you will need a large amount of calcium when you are pregnant. At least 1000 to 1300 mg a day. The most common sources of calcium are the dairy products like low-fat milk, frozen or low-fat yogurt,and kefir.
However, if you’re lactose intolerant, there are other foods from which you can get your daily calcium. Such as cooked edamame, hard cheese or canned salmon with bones.
Three servings of protein is mandatory every day. Besides meat, you can find protein in fish, cheese, eggs, pumpkin seeds or soy milk.
What you shouldn’t eat (or drink)
Alcohol and cigarettes are the most dangerous during pregnancy. Because you can risk giving birth to a baby with serious defects. Another thing you should be careful with is chocolate. Normally, you should limit your caffeine intake to 300 mg a day. So pay attention to how much coffee and chocolate you eat.
Also in the sphere of limitation stand the amount of fat and cholesterol. Plus, avoid eating soft cheeses like feta, Brie, blue-veined or Mexican-style cheese as they can cause Listeria infections.
The foods described above are meant to give you an idea of what your diet plan during pregnancy should contain. For detailed information on the exact amounts, you should consult your doctor or ask the advice of a nutritionist.