Fit Pregnancy Diet
Warning… Warning… your fit pregnancy diet is NOT a license to start eating for two! Did you know your body doesn’t require any extra calories in the first trimester? When you get to your second and third trimester you only need an extra 300 calories per day. That’s right, your pregnancy diet only increases by 300 calories… heck, that could be one large cookie. Bottom line, eating for two is not the green light to start consuming all of your favorite treats!
Having said that, when you find out you’re pregnant, it is important to fulfill all of your nourishment needs. By no means is it a time to diet or try to lose weight. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to make the most of you caloric intake by making healthy food choices…after all, your baby’s development, brain development to be more specific, depends on it! I hate to sound harsh, but it’s true.
So, you may ask,how do you start your pregnancy diet? Well, do you remember learning about the food guide pyramid and how we’re supposed to incorporate fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and whole grains into our meal plans? Yep, back to the basics. Believe me, I know even the smell of food can make your stomach turn during those initial months. Below are some guidelines, as well as some helpful hints, to help you consume a well balanced diet, ease that dreaded morning sickness and keep you and your baby healthy.
If you still have questions regarding your diet, don’t hesitate to “just ask” and speak with a dietitian directly regarding your pregnancy diet.
Fit Pregnancy Diet Guidelines
- First order of fit pregnancy diet business...start taking a prenatal vitamin that has at least 400mg of folic acid. Not only does a prenatal vitamin provide nutrients for the development of a growing baby but the folic acid can help to prevent birth defects. Your doctor can prescribe you one or help you pick out an over the counter prenatal vitamin.
- More on Folate (folic acid)…it’s important! According to The Ohio State University, “all neural tube defects occur between the 17th and 30th days following conception.” Just 600mg of folate from fortified foods and/or supplements can help guard against neural tube defects such as spina bifida (malformation of the spine) and anencephaly (malformation of the brain). So where can you get folate… green leafy vegetables, chicken, oranges, liver, legumes (black beans, kidney beans etc) and fortified whole grains. Remember, that first month is crucial. So, even if you are just thinking about getting pregnant start taking a prenatal vitamin. Many recommend taking it for up to a year before pregnancy…can’t be too safe!
- Consume 25-35g of Fiber…or you’ll wish you had! Fiber helps to ward of constipation and hemorrhoids that often plague expecting moms. Warning…increase intake slowly over time to help with tolerance. You will find fiber in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains (remember, not all whole grains are high fiber…check nutrition labels). Some high fiber foods: ¾ c Raisin Bran (5g), medium pear with skin (4g), medium sweet potato with skin (4g), ½ c garbanzo beans (6g)
- Make sure you drink at least eight 8oz cups of fluid per day and an extra 8 oz for every hour of exercise/activity. Consuming enough water helps cool the body, helps with constipation and cushions/protects your baby. Caffeinated beverages don’t count as they actually cause your body to lose fluid. Juices are generally high is sugar and can have as many calories as a soda. Still, juice, as well as mild and non-caffeinated beverages , do count toward your fluid intake. However, water is best! If you just can’t stand water, try seltzer water with a splash of O.J. or “True Lime” or “True Lemon” natural flavor packs to enhance your water. You can usually find them in the spice isle.
- Making sure you are getting 60-80g of protein (about 10oz), which is about 10g extra than pre-pregnancy, is important as the prenatal vitamin does not provided any assistance here. Choose healthy protein sources such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, cooked fish, eggs, low-fat dairy and legumes.
- You want to ensure you are consuming 1,000mg of calcium (1,300mg for teenagers) a day to meet the needs of your baby as well as yours. Calcium is essential for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. Since calcium is stored in your bones, the baby with take calcium from your bones during the pregnancy. If you fail to consume enough calcium, you may be at an increase risk for osteoporosis down the road. Dairy is your best source. However, check nutrition labels and add up your calcium intake. Helpful hint… add a zero to calcium percent to calculate calcium intake in milligrams (ex. 30% = 300mg).
- Your iron requirements nearly double to 27 mg during pregnancy. Why is iron so important? Iron is essential to the development of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to the cells. In the second trimester, the baby’s need for iron increase and can leave you deficient in iron (also known as anemic). Being iron deficient can leave you sluggish and low on energy. Even if a supplement is prescribed, consuming iron rich food is important. Good sources of iron: lean red meat, legumes, raisins, dried fruit and green vegetables. Helpful hint…Vitamin C help with the absorption of iron (orange juice, tomatoes, grape fruit, strawberries). Warning…iron supplements can cause constipation (EAT MORE FIBER!!) and nausea.
- Vitamin A is also worth mentioning. The required amount is the same whether you are pregnant or not (5,000 IU/day). It is responsible for good eye sight and the growth of tissues and cells. Good sources are sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, cantaloupe, milk. However, in this case, you can have too much of a good thing. 10,000 UI a day and higher can cause birth defects.
Remember, you have a new little life growing inside you so make the most of your pregnancy diet
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