Your pregnancy Diet!!
While you are pregnant your baby will depend on you for all his/her food. Therefore it is very important to eat healthily and to be careful about food hygiene, both for your baby’s sake and your own well being. For some women it is such a struggle to keep food down at this time especially at the early stage while others eat nonstop with the impression that they are eating for two. Whatever the case may be try to eat a good variety of foods at least three times a day and never skip breakfast for any reason. You may find it better to eat little and often. To make sure that all the nutrients you and your baby need are provided eat from each of the following groups of food daily.
Milk: This group is very important for the development of your baby’s bone and teeth. Try to take 1 pint of milk a day. If you dislike milk use it on cereals, in custard, puddings and sauces, have cheese or yoghurt.
Meat and Alternatives: This group includes meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and pulse vegetables (peas, beans, lentils) they are all good sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Have one of these foods at each meal and vary them as much as possible. Liver and kidney are rich in iron so eat one of these once a week. Smaller amounts of iron are also found in red meats, pulse vegetables and spinach. Fish is an economical and nutritious alternative to meat. Oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon, and sardine also offer an excellent source of nutrition during pregnancy. As a pregnant woman try to include some tinned fish such as tuna, pilchards, sardines each week in your diet as they are good for your baby’s bones and teeth. They are also rich in long chain fatty acids that are important for your baby’s development. Oily fish ideally should be part of your diet at least two or three times a week.
Fruits and vegetables: Have three or more helpings every day. These foods will provide you with many of the essential minerals and vitamins you need. Any seasonal fruit of your choice will do, for example oranges, apples, grapes, pineapple, banana and so on. A glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice daily is also recommended, frozen vegetables are as good as fresh. Cook all vegetables quickly in small amount of boiling water because long cooking destroys the vitamins; better still eat vegetables raw as a salad but ensure that they are thoroughly washed.
Add a portion of carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, or breakfast cereals. All of these provide energy and many other important nutrients. Have at least four helpings every day, a helping simply means a slice of bread, a potato or a bowl of cereal. If you are hungry fill up with these foods. High fibre foods help digestion and prevent constipation. Remember to take plenty of fluids at least 8 cups daily. Whole meal bread, chapatti, brown rice, and breakfast cereals such as weetabix and shredded wheat are high in fibre.
Moreover, pregnancy is not a time to try to lose weight, try not to worry too much about putting on weight in pregnancy- it is perfectly natural because on the average pregnant women gain about 10-12.5kg which reduces soon after birth as you breast feed.
- Cut down on caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
- If you smoke this is a good time to give it up
- Sugar provides energy but nothing else- so cut down on sugar, chocolates, sweets, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks. You may have heard pregnant women say that they crave particular foods like ice cream. Its fine to use foods you crave as treats occasionally. Here is a suggested one week meal plan for pregnant women;