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5 Principles For Eating Well During Pregnancy

 

The one time you need to get really serious in sticking to a balanced and varied diet is when you are pregnant. Do it for the baby in your tummy and for yourself, too. Here are 5 simple but solid principles to make sure you are consuming the best food for pregnancy:

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

PRINCIPLE #1: EAT A LITTLE MORE

Eat a little bit more, but do not eat for two! Food for pregnant women is about quality, not quantity. The most important thing to remember is to eat smart so that your body and your baby will get all the nutrients needed all throughout your pregnancy.

Put it in practice:

  • To meet your additional nutrition needs, you do not have to eat more than what is required during meal times, otherwise you could end up with indigestion.
  • Simply add one or two balanced snacks per day. Example: 1 Nestle fruit selection yogurt + 1 apple or 1 cup fresh milk + some fresh fruits

PRINCIPLE #2: EAT A VARIED DIET

The best food for pregnancy involves plenty of variety. By eating a little bit of everything (except for foods to avoid while pregnant) you will enjoy the benefits of each food group, plus be confident that you are not leaving out any essential nutrients.

Put it in practice:

  • Follow the rule of "5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day." Example: 1 cup fresh orange juice at breakfast, 1 cup of chop suey and 1 small piece of banana at lunch, an apple as a snack, and a bowl of squash and malunggay soup at dinner.
  • If there is a particular food that you don't like, such as pork meat, simply replace it with another source of protein such as fish or eggs.

PRINCIPLE #3: DON'T OBSESS OVER YOUR PREGNANCY WEIGHT!

During these nine months, you will be putting on some extra pounds. This is unavoidable and required so you and your baby can stay healthy. This is not the best time to go on a diet, but do be careful that you do not gain more weight than is necessary. Your weight gain will be medically monitored by your doctor every month, so you will know if you are overeating or not eating enough.

Put it in practice:

  • To ensure that you do not gain more weight than you should, foods to avoid during pregnancy include fatty and sugary foods like pastries, sweets and sodas. Why? Because they are high in calories but low in essential nutrients. Food for pregnant women should be rich in nutritional value for you and your baby.
  • Limit irregular or unplanned snacking. Three balanced meals and one or two snacks per day will help curb your craving for pastries.
  • To help you resist the temptation of sweets and other foods to avoid during pregnancy, eat starches such as cereals, legumes and potatoes. Starchy foods can keep you feeling full for longer.

PRINCIPLE #4: DON'T SKIP MEALS

The best food for pregnancy involves three balanced meals a day. Try to stick to this diet even if you are not feeling too hungry. Avoid skipping breakfast, for example, otherwise your energy levels will drop by mid-morning!

Put it in practice:

  • No appetite in the mornings? Drink a large glass of natural fruit juice and pack some breakfast for the office: a banana, crackers or a piece of bread and some dried fruit. Eat it around 10am when your tummy has had time to wake up.
  • No time for breakfast? Why not have a sandwich, provided that it contains protein (e.g. chicken, ham), veggies (e.g. lettuce, tomatoes), dairy products (e.g. cheese) and bread (preferably whole-grain). Finish off your meal with a piece of fruit.

PRINCIPLE #5: ELIMINATE!

Hydration or drinking water is very important during pregnancy for you and your future baby. When combined with sufficient fiber (naturally found in fruit and vegetables, cereals, whole starches such as pasta and rice, etc.), taking in lots of fluids can help ease bowel movement and combat constipation.

Put it in practice:

  • Pregnant women are advised to drink at least 1.5 liters of liquids per day. Choose water instead of carbonated beverages and sugary drinks (sodas and flavored juices).  
  • Cut down on stimulating beverages such as coffee or tea.  
  • Put a slice of lemon in your water to give it more taste
  • Add fiber to your daily menu through salads, cooked vegetables and fruits.

During your nine months of pregnancy, you should be taking in an average of 80,000 additional calories. If, despite everything, you want to go on a diet, consult a dietician. She will discuss your current dietary habits with you and recommend ways to improve them. Think of this as the start to a lifetime of eating healthy.

From the NESTLÉ Global Archive co-written with RND KATE PERALES

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