You cannot underestimate the importance of a healthy diet at any stage in your life. Still, pregnancy is a stage when you have to be extra careful of what you eat because your eating habits and lifestyle will have a direct impact on the development of the foetus.
There is no special diet for pregnant women, but you should include a variety of foods to get all nutrients in the right amount. In addition to a nutritious diet, your gynaecologist can also recommend frolic acid supplements.
You may find yourself being hungrier than usual, but you do not need to eat for two. Even if you are expecting quadruplets, just eat as much as your stomach allows. Start your day with a healthy breakfast so you do not have to keep munching throughout the day.
Bear in mind a healthy diet implies incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet to get enough nutrients, so your diet must be varied rather than banned on all your favourites.
Foods to include when you are expecting
Here are the foods that you should add in your diet:
1. Fruits and vegetables
Seasonal fruits and vegetables should be part of your diet as they are not only rich in vitamins and minerals but also antioxidants. Since the outer skin of fruits consists of fibre that helps prevent constipation. Make sure you eat whole fruits because juice consists of empty calories. This is no different from sugary or carbonated drinks.
- Eat whole fruits like apples, bananas, oranges, kiwi, grapes and berries.
- Eat veggies like broccoli, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, beets, carrots and bell peppers.
Not all vitamins and minerals can be found in the same fruit and vegetable, and therefore, you should consume a mix of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits can be a better choice to satiate hunger between meals.
2. Starchy foods
Do not be indisposed to have starchy foods just because they have gained a reputation for causing a spike in blood glucose levels. During pregnancy, you should consume starchy food because it makes up a one-third portion of the food you eat. This is an important source to provide you with instant energy. There are so many healthy foods high in starch that help you feel fuller for a longer time, like oats, cornmeal, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, porridge, rice, pasta, and potatoes.
Instead of having a full bowl of potatoes, you should mix it with other vegetables. You can consume rice twice a week but with vegetables, soups, and bread. This technique will prevent you from gobbling down a lot of starchy food, and as a result, your blood sugar levels will be moderate.
Protein is an essential source to keep your muscles healthy. There are a variety of foods rich in protein, such as beans, legumes, eggs, meat, poultry, and nuts. However, when it comes to meat and poultry, you should be a bit careful. Choose lean meat. Remove skin from poultry. Make sure you do not add extra fat while cooking meat.
Meat and poultry must be cooked thoroughly at high temperatures so no pink juices are left in them. Include fish in your diet, especially oily fish like salmon and sardines. Do not eat too much fish as they may contain pollutants.
4. Dairy products
Dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk are essential sources of calcium, an important mineral to keep your bones and heart healthy. You can choose low-fat dairy products. If you are allergic to milk, you can replace it with almond milk and soya milk. Prefer plain yoghurt to sweetened yoghurt.
Add some berries for sweet flavours. Calcium-fortified versions should be opted if you are using dairy alternatives. You may have to rely on calcium supplements if your body does not absorb much calcium. Ask your gynaecologist or GP what supplements you should take. In case you do not have enough money, you can take out loans for people on benefits from a direct lender.
Foods to avoid when you are pregnant
Though you should have all fruits and vegetables, there are certain types of foods that you must avoid to keep you and your baby healthy:
- Unpasteurised milk and cheese, soft cheese even if it is pasteurised, soft blue cheese and unpasteurised goat milk. Such forms of cheese may contain infection-causing bacteria called listeria. It can lead to miscarriage in some cases and poor growth and development of your child.
- Oily fish is good, but more than two portions a week can be hazardous. They contain some pollutants or toxins. Semi-cooked eggs, including poached eggs, should be avoided. Otherwise, you are at risk of catching infections from salmonella. Infections in urine, bones, blood and joints are very common due to this bacterium.
- Do not consume liver and liver products, game meats like goose, turkey, etc, and cured meats because they are not cooked properly. Liver and liver products will not cause infections but consist of copious amounts of vitamin A that can harm your unborn baby.
- Avoid consuming eggs that have not been produced under the Lion Code. They are deemed to be less safe.
Foods and drinks with a moderate consumption
There are some foods that you cannot consume in high consumption as they can affect your and your baby’s health.
Sugary foods and drinks once in a while are good, but too much of their consumption can lead to an increased risk of diabetes. Further, they just consist of empty calories and no nutrients. Your baby is at risk of being unwell at the time of birth. A lack of nutrients is one of the causes of premature delivery.
Foods high in saturated fats and trans fats should be consumed moderately as they increase the risk of cholesterol. All kinds of spreading, salad dressings, cream, biscuits, pastries, ice cream, cakes, and puddings are all high in fats and sugar. You do not need to cut them out, but they should not make up a large portion of your diet.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is not advisable. It can affect the growth of your baby. There could be certain types of foods that you may have to cut out because of your health condition. Ask your doctor, and if they advise you not to consume something, you should follow that advice.
Caffeine is not so bad as long as you are consuming it moderately. It can disrupt your sleeping habits and patterns. Sleep is essential when you are pregnant. It will keep you and your baby healthy.
The bottom line
There is no specific diet to follow when you are expecting. You simply follow the rule of a balanced diet and avoid what your body does not digest or you cannot because of a health concern. Get supplements to get a sufficient supply of all vitamins and minerals.
Instead of choosing over-the-counter supplements, you should consult your doctor to get prescribed supplements. If you have any concerns about foods – what to eat and what not to – do not be shy about asking your doctor. Eat everything but moderately. This will help you and your baby keep fit.