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What Best to Eat When Pregnant

 

We live in a country with a strong belief on "paglilihi". Because of "paglilihi" some Filipino pregnant women think that it is okay to eat whatever they crave. But that is not the case. There are certain foods to avoid during pregnancy, and the best food for pregnant women should contain the right kind of nutrients to support mom's health and baby's growth.

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

What's the right plan for me?

When it comes to recommending the best food for pregnancy, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) under the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines provides dietary guidelines and serving size recommendations through its "Daily Nutritional Guide Pyramid for Filipino Pregnant Women."

FOOD GROUP

NUMBER of SERVINGS/DAY

EQUIVALENT

FRUITS

2 servings/day

  • Take fruit for your snacks
  • Have one vitamin C-rich fruit
  • One serving of fruit is equal to one medium-sized fruit or one slice of a big fruit

RICE, RICE PRODUCTS, CORN, SWEET POTATO, BREAD and NOODLES

5-6 servings/day

  • Choose whole grains for extra fiber
  • One serving is equal to any one of these:
    • 1 cup of rice
    • 4 slices of loaf bread
    • 2 pieces of puto
    • 5 pieces small pandesal
    • 1 cup corn
    • 2 cups noodles
    • 1 cup cooked sweet potato (kamote)

VEGETABLES

3-4 servings/day of green leafy vegetables and other veggies

  • One serving of vegetable is equal to 1/2 cup cooked

FISH, SHELLFISH, MEAT and POULTRY, DRIED BEANS and NUTS

4-5 servings/day

  • Limit intake of your fatty meats, cholesterol-rich food, and saturated fats
  • One serving is equal to any one of these:
    • 1 piece medium size fish
    • 1/3 cup shrimp, shelled
    • 1 matchbox size cooked pork/beef/chicken
    • 1/3 cup cooked dried beans or nuts
    • 1 slice cheese
    • 1 piece chicken egg
    • 1 piece tofu

FISH, SHELLFISH, MEAT and POULTRY, DRIED BEANS and NUTS

4-5 servings/day

  • Limit intake of your fatty meats, cholesterol-rich food, and saturated fats
  • One serving is equal to any one of these:
    • 1 piece medium size fish
    • 1/3 cup shrimp, shelled
    • 1 matchbox size cooked pork/beef/chicken
    • 1/3 cup cooked dried beans or nuts
    • 1 slice cheese
    • 1 piece chicken egg
    • 1 piece tofu

MILK and MILK PRODUCTS

1 serving/day

  • Take non-fat or low-fat milk

SUGAR and SWEETS

6 servings/day

  • Eat sweets in moderation
  • One serving is equal to any one of these:
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1 piece hard candy

FATS and OILS

7 servings/day

  • One serving is equal to any one of these:
    • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon margarine/butter
    • 1 teaspoon peanut butter

***based on the Daily Nutritional Guide Pyramid for Filipino Pregnant Women (FNRI-DOST)

Remember: The best food for pregnancy requires more of an emphasis on quality over quantity. Pregnant women tend to easily get hungry throughout the day, so be careful what kind of snacks you choose. Go for variety to ensure that all nutrients are provided in proper amount and balance. Use iodized salt and eat other fortified foods to increase the intake of micronutrients.

What nutrients to look for

Here is a quick reference table that tells you what key nutrients do for you and in what foods you can find them.

ESSENTIAL VITAMIN/MINERAL

WHY YOU NEED IT

WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT

Vitamin A

Helps bones and teeth grow

Liver, milk, eggs, green vegetables like kangkong and broccoli, yellow vegetables like potatoes, carrots, kalabasa and yellow fruits like banana

Vitamin D

Helps body use calcium and phosphorus

Promotes strong teeth and bones

Fish, egg yolk, milk

Vitamin E

Helps body form and use red blood cells and muscles

Vegetable oil, nuts, kangkong, fortified cereals

Vitamin C

An antioxidant that protects tissues from damage

Helps body absorb iron

Builds healthy immune system

Citrus fruits like dalandan, papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes

Thiamine (B1)

Raises energy level

Regulates nervous system

Mushrooms, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, tuna, liver, lean meats

Riboflavin (B2)

Maintains energy

Promotes good eyesight & healthy skin

Meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fortified cereals, eggs

Niacin (B3)

Aids in digestion

Promotes healthy skin and nerves

High-protein foods like meats, fish and peanuts, fortified cereals and breads, milk, eggs

Pyridoxine (B6)

Helps form red blood cells

Helps with morning sickness

Chicken, fish, liver, pork, eggs, peanuts soybeans, peas, carrots, cabbage,  broccoli, bananas, brown rice, oats

Folic Acid/Folate

Helps support the placenta 

Prevents spina bifida and other neural tube defects

Oranges, orange juice, strawberries, green leafy vegetables - spinach, broccoli & cauliflower, peas, beans, beets, fortified cereals, pasta, nuts

Calcium

Creates strong bones and teeth

Helps prevent blood clots

Helps muscles and nerves function

Yogurt, milk, cheddar cheese, calcium-fortified foods like soy milk, juices, breads and cereals, dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with bones

Iron

Helps in the production of hemoglobin

Prevents anemia, low birth weight, and premature delivery

Beef, pork, dried beans, spinach, dried fruits, oatmeal or grains fortified with iron

Protein

Helps in the production of amino acids

Repairs cells

Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts

Zinc

Helps produce insulin and enzymes

Red meats, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, oysters, dairy products

Remember: What you eat during your pregnancy may directly affect the growth and development of your child and your health. So choose food for pregnant women that can nourish your good health and your child's, too. Yes, proper nutrition is key to a healthy pregnancy. Start your healthy pregnancy today!

From the NESTLÉ Global Archive co-written with Jennifer Navaja, RND.
References:
http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph
Claudio, Virginia Serraon, Ofelia V. Dirige, Adela Jamorabo-Ruiz. Basic Nutrition For Filipinos. 5th ed. Manila: Merriam & Webster Book Store, 2004.

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