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Healthy Diet during Pregnancy: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Woman lying down eating fruit

For pregnant women, it’s important to know what foods to eat for a healthy pregnancy. Also, it’s important to ensure your body is healthy to handle the changes that occur when pregnant. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you need a diet rich in the right balance of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Facts During Pregnancy

To know how to prepare for a pregnancy diet, you should understand a few facts about eating during pregnancy:

·         The calorie intake of a woman grows during pregnancy.

·         The body absorbs iron more efficiently when pregnant. Blood volume increases, so you can consume more iron to ensure both you and the baby have sufficient oxygen supply.

·         Typical weight gain expected. This varies considerably depending on different factors, including pre-pregnancy weight.

Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

Fruits and Vegetables: Pregnancy diet vegetables provide essential minerals and vitamins. Aim to consume up to five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. These could be in dried, canned, fresh, frozen, or juice form. Fresh vegetables and pregnancy diet fruit is recommended as they usually have higher levels of nutrients and vitamins. Consider fruits low on sugar. Vegetable juices like wheatgrass or carrot offer dense nutrition.

Protein: animal-sourced proteins like lean meat, fish, eggs, and chicken are all good for pregnant women. If you’re vegan, you should consider foods like quinoa, tofu and soy products, lentils, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, and nut butter. These offer good quality protein and are a source of iron.

Carbohydrate-rich foods: You also need to add a good amount of starchy carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, rice, and bread. Carbohydrates offer high energy, so they’re an important component of a healthy diet for pregnant women.

Fats: Fats should comprise over 30% of your diet when pregnant. Ensure a balance as too much fat could pose health risks for you and the baby. You need monounsaturated and omega-3s, which should comprise the primary choices. Foods high in healthy fats include peanut oil, sesame oil, seeds, nuts, avocado, and olive oil.

Pregnancy

Fiber: You also need fiber in your diet when pregnant. For a healthy pregnancy diet, consume wholegrain foods, such as wild rice, wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta, lentils, pulses like beans, and vegetables rich in fiber. Plenty of fiber minimizes the risk of constipation. It lowers the risk of hemorrhoids, which are common as the fetus grows.

Calcium: It’s also important to have calcium in your diet when pregnant. Top Mom recommends dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt. If you’re vegan, consume calcium-rich foods like calcium-fortified soymilk and plant milk like soybeans, collards, okra, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, and soynuts.

Zinc: A diet comprising of foods high in zinc for pregnancy plays a key role in the development of the baby. It reinforces cellular integrity and supports several biological functions, including protein synthesis and nucleic acid metabolism. Foods under this category include shrimp, ham, turkey, crab, meat, oysters, dairy products, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, onions, wheat germ, eggs, tofu, lentils, bran, and ginger.

Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

If you’re looking for what foods to avoid for a healthy pregnancy, here is what you should consider.

Partially cooked or uncooked meat: Your food should be cooked right. Uncooked meat like shellfish comes with the risk of viral or bacterial contamination, which will cause food poisoning.

Raw eggs: This includes foods with partially cooked or raw eggs in them. Always cook your eggs through to prevent salmonella infection.

Empty calorie foods: Cookies, cakes, biscuits, candy, and chips should not feature majorly in your diet. Most of these are high in fat and sugar and contain little nutritional content. Empty calorie foods could undermine your efforts at achieving healthy body weight.

Conclusion

When pregnant, you need a diet that supports the growth and development of your baby and also helps you cope with changes in your body. A good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables, and fruits will offer the nourishment you need to stay healthy and support the developing fetus.

What can advise expectant mothers on adopting a healthy diet? Leave a comment below.


Author Bio: Rachel Hudson is an enthusiastic researcher who focuses on topics that highlight personal development, the welfare of women, and children. She holds a BA in communications and loves publishing content to help women find answers to different problems. Also, she explores subjects dedicated to health and wellness. 


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