A healthy diet is one of the most important things a mom-to-be can do for her child and herself. It is always good to eat healthy diet but it becomes more important during pregnancy to meet the additional nutrients’ demand by the growing baby.
A well balanced diet includes food low in fats, high on fiber and with adequate amount of protein, vitamins and carbohydrates to meet the nutritional requirement of both, the mother and the baby. High amount of mercury is said to be found in cold water fish like tuna, swordfish, and shark which can be can be hazardous to the development of the fetus. Though Tuna is a high source of protein, the issue has raised concern among nutritionists whether it should be recommended during pregnancy.
Though fatty, oily food and sweets are to be avoided generally, they are recommended for a pregnant woman who is low on her weight. Consulting a nutritionist is best before planning a diet, so that necessary supplements can be provided considering the preferences of mom to be, especially in cases of morning sickness.
Here are some important items to be included or avoided in the diet plan for pregnant women:
1. Eat Vegetables
Vegetables are a necessary part of a pregnant woman’s diet. Dark green vegetables like spinach, romaine, broccoli and watercress are known to contain highest amount of nutrients along with orange vegetables and dried beans. It is recommended for a pregnant woman to consume 2-3 cups of vegetables each day and have plenty of vegetable soup.
2. Include Fruits
Fresh fruits are good source of vitamins A and C, potassium and minerals. In addition, they provide fiber which helps in reducing constipation and hemorrhoids. Fruits that are frozen, canned or dried contain most of the benefits of fresh fruits. Fruit juices in excess are not recommended as they add to calories and have lots of extra sugar.
3. Grains Are Good
Grains, especially whole grains are highly recommended for a pregnant woman. A balanced diet includes nearly 6-8 ounces of grains per day. Food made from wheat, oats, cornmeal, barley, and rice like pasta, bread and cereals fall under this category.
4. Take Dairy Products
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and paneer (cottage cheese) are great sources of calcium. To meet the balanced dietary requirements, but at the same time to keep in check the calorie intake, low-fat and fat-free milk products are recommended.
5. Meat and Poultry Should Be Low Fat
Meat, fish, eggs, poultry and beans are best when they are baked, broiled or grilled. It is also important to choose low-fat and lean food from this category as nearly 5-7 ounces of this food is recommended for a pregnant woman.
6. Nuts and Olives Provide Healthy Fat
Nuts, fish, avocados and olives are rich sources of unsaturated fats which are the healthiest types of fats.
7. Drink Sufficient Water
You need to take in lots of fluid. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
8. Avoid Trans Fats
The belief that fat and oil are good to consume during pregnancy is not correct. Preferably, less than 20 to 35 percent of total calories should come from fats. Trans fats should be avoided altogether.
9. Limit Salt Intake
A pregnant woman should also be careful about the salt she takes in. Excess consumption of salt can increase the swelling of hands and legs and affect blood pressure.
10. Stay Away from Alcohol
Alcohol is said to interfere with the physical and intellectual development of the fetus. The impact it causes on the baby is permanent in nature. So, stay away from it, no matter what amount.
Besides eating a healthy diet, it is also important for a pregnant woman to avoid unhygienic, unhealthy and allergic food. During pregnancy, the baby is quite vulnerable and highly dependent on the mother for nutrients to grow. Therefore, it is very essential for the pregnant woman to eat a smart, healthy diet meeting all her and her baby’s nutritional requirements.