- Eating habits make a huge impact on our lives. They affect our health and personality and even influence our lifespan. Needless to say, they deeply influence a newborn’s well-being. In fact, it is well known that a pregnant mother’s eating habits can influence the baby’s health significantly. When a pregnant mom has healthy eating habits, not only will the baby grow in good health throughout the pregnancy but will also be at a lesser risk of developing chronic diseases like heart diseases and obesity as an adult. Eating during pregnancy is not just about the age-old traditional recipes and satisfying pregnancy cravings; consuming nutritious, fresh and healthy foods is crucial too. Getting your fill of the essential vitamins and minerals and achieving the ideal calorie levels (first trimester: the usual amount of calories, second trimester: 340 additional calories per day and last trimester: 450 additional calories per day) is crucial for good health during the pregnancy and after birth for you and your baby. Following is a list of foods that you should include in your diet:
- Plant-based foods: Daily servings: 4 servings of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruits. This food group is vital for pregnant women as vegetables and fruits are a storehouse of essential nutrients that are a must-have during pregnancy. Getting nutrients from plant sources is any day better than popping nutrient supplements. For example – Dark greens, legumes, and black beans help achieve the daily limit of folic acid (0.4 mg), which is a major nutrient required by pregnant women. Tomatoes, grapefruits, Brussels sprouts and oranges help achieve the daily limit of vitamin C (70 mg), another essential for your health. So, refill your refrigerator with veggies and your fruit basket with fruits the next time you head to the grocery store.
- Dairy products: Daily servings: At least 4 servings of any dairy product (cheese, curd, milk, buttermilk, etc). The benefits of calcium are not limited to your teeth and bones; your baby needs it too. Your body needs at least 1,000 mg of calcium per day during pregnancy. As the baby needs calcium to develop nerve functions and bones and promote normal blood flow, it takes calcium from you. If you lack the calcium, you might experience conditions like osteoporosis. Therefore, you have to consume enough calcium for both you and the baby. If having milk sounds unappetizing, you can meet your calcium requirement from puddings, cheese, green vegetables, dried peas, soups, yoghurt and seafood. Stack your fridge with your favourite cheese and flavoured yoghurt during pregnancy.
- Protein foods: Daily servings: 3 servings of any protein-rich food. Proteins are one of the major building blocks of the body, which is why your baby needs adequate amounts of proteins, especially in the second and third trimesters. Liver, chicken and lamb meat, beans, legumes, eggs and fishes are excellent protein food choices. Avoid eating large fish that may contain high levels of mercury. Grab your daily proteins from the kitchen or in the form of a protein bar.
- Grains and bread: Daily servings: 6 to 11 servings depending on your body weight. The carb-loaded bread loaves and whole grains are a powerhouse of essential nutrients like folic acid, vitamins, iron and proteins. You can consume the grains in the form of a roti, paratha or porridge and can incorporate breads into your salads and sandwiches, perhaps with greens and veggies (getting an excellent dose of all nutrients in one meal).
However, here are some absolute no-no foods during pregnancy:
- Certain raw foods like radish, sprouts, eggs and meat (you can have them stir-fried or boiled).
- Undercooked foods – sushi, oysters and shellfish (canned, fresh white tuna, yellow fish tuna and grouper fish are great fish options).
- Frozen meat items – deli meat, hot dogs and smoked seafood (you can have fresh cuts of meat).
- Unpasteurized cheese – feta, goat cheese and Gorgonzola (choose pasteurized and hard cheeses like parmesan, Gouda and ricotta).
- Unpasteurized milk or juices (put the juicer to work; make delicious juices or smoothies).
- Packed salads like seafood salad, ham salad and chicken salad (you can make your own version of fresh salad at home).
- Do not consume too much caffeine (go for decaf).
- To add to the healthy diet plan, you can take some help from prenatal vitamins. To know more about what foods are the best option for your body and the baby, consult expert dieticians, nutritionists and gynaecologists on www.healthassure.in. To avoid the bothersome traffic and travels, you can talk to expert doctors right from the comfort of your home using the HealthAssure app. Download today and ace your pregnancy test!
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