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Food Choices for a Healthy Pregnancy

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Food choices for a healthy pregnancy

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much food, but it should mean making your food work twice as hard. Make every calorie count by choosing nutrient-dense foods, in other words get more bang for your calorie buck. By choosing a variety of food from all food groups, you can be assured of a well-balanced diet. But what if you have no appetite some days or occasionally feel nauseous? Remember, a quality diet over several days is what counts, not meal by meal.

 

What’s the right plan for me?

These food group guidelines, are an easy way to get started on a healthy pregnancy diet. Of course, your beginning weight, height, age, stage of pregnancy and the number of children you are carrying will determine how many calories and how much food you will need.

Typically a woman doesn't need extra calories during the first 3 months of pregnancy. But she will need about 300 extra calories during the second trimester and 450 extra calories during the third trimester.

 

Nutritional recommendations during pregnancy

Fruits and/or vegetables

5/day minimum

  • At every meal
  • Raw, cooked, plain or processed
  • Fresh, frozen or canned

During pregnancy, make sure that they are carefully washed to eliminate any soil traces, and avoid unpasteurised juices.

Breads, cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta

At each meal

  • Choose wholegrain foods
  • Choose a variety of carbohydrates: rice, pasta, semolina, wheat, corn, potatoes, dry beans, chick peas etc.

Milk and dairy products

3/day

  • Go for variety
  • Choose unflavoured products & the best sources of calcium with the least fat and salt: milk, yoghurts etc.

During pregnancy, only eat pasteurised dairy products. Cheese: melted or with the rind removed.

Meat, fish and eggs

1-2/day

  • Try to eat a smaller portion than that of the side dishes (vegetable, pasta, rice etc.)
  • Meat: try to eat a variety of different meats and choose the least fatty cuts.
  • Fish: at least twice a week, either fresh, frozen or canned.

During pregnancy:

  • Fish: at least twice a week, including at least one fish rich in fat and try a variety of different fish.
  • Avoid cold cuts and liver.
  • Avoid fish that contain high levels of mercury , smoked fish and seafood, and fish from contaminated rivers. 360g/week of low- mercury, fish or seafood are safe.
  • Avoid raw meet, smoked meat or marinated and cold cuts (unless they are well cooked).
  • When cooking meat and fish, check the temperature to ensure the meat is well done.

Fats and oils

Limit consumption

  • Try to eat a variety of vegetable oils (olive oil, canola oil etc.)
  • Limit animal fats (butter, cream, etc.)

Sweets

Limit consumption

  • Try to limit sugary drinks (sodas, sugary fruit drinks & nectars)
  • Limit foods with a high fat & sugar content (pastries, pudding, ice cream, chocolate bars, etc.)

 

Drinks

Limit consumption

  • During & in-between meals, tap water or bottled water.
  • Try to limit sugary drinks (sodas, sugary fruit drinks & nectars)
  • Limit caffeine intake to 200 mg per day.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding: No caffeinated beverages.

Salt

Limit consumption

  • Use iodised salt.
  • Try to limit addition of salt while cooking, and do not add salt before tasting.
  • Limit salty foods: chips, salty appetisers.

Physical activities

(check with doctor)

At least 30 minutes’ walk everyday

  • During pregnancy, maintain your normal physical activity, except those which represent a risk of falling or injury. Avoid competitions.

 

 

SURPRISE!

Healthy fats, in moderation, are good for you. Choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil and nuts, seeds, avocado and salmon for their omega-3 fatty acids.

 

What is in your plate?

Here is a quick reference table which summarizes what these key nutrients do and in which foods to find them

 

Nutrient

For

From

Protein

Important for growth and development

Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans

Carbohydrates

Supplies energy

Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, vegetables, fruits

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

Important for brain and eye development

Fish, supplements

Probiotics

Gut immunity, allergy prevention

Probiotic product, such as probiotic yogurt, supplement

Vitamins

Folic acid

Prevents from neural tube defects

Dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, nuts, wholemeal

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Important for muscle function and growth

Meat, potatoes, wholemeal products

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Important for metabolism

Dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, wholemeal products

Vitamin B12

Important for maturation of central nervous system

Fish, meat, poultry, dairy

Vitamin C

Important for immune system, collagen synthesis

Citrus fruit, peppers, tomatoes

Vitamin A

Important for growth and visual function

Carrots, spinach (as beta-carotene)

Vitamin D

Building bones

Fish, eggs yolks

Vitamin E

Muscles, antioxidant

wholemeal products

Minerals & trace elements

Calcium

Important for bone and teeth formation

Milk, cheese, dairy products, broccoli

Magnesium

Regulates energy metabolism, nerve transmission, muscular contraction

Nuts, seed, wholemeal, vegetables

Iron

Important for increase in blood volume

Meat, spinach, lentils

Iodine

Growth metabolism

Fish, iodized salt

Selenium

Antioxidant

Meat, egg, lentils

Zinc

Growth, immune system

Meat, dairy products, fish

Read more

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