When you’re pregnant, figuring out which foods you can and cannot eat can be one of the biggest (and most frustrating) nutrition challenges you’ll face, especially when cravings can come out of nowhere and make you want to eat all the wrong foods.
Not only do you want to stay as healthy as possible throughout the pregnancy for your own well being, but you also take on the responsibility of “eating for two”, and what you eat, your baby eats, so it’s extremely important to adopt a healthy food regime early on in your first trimester and continue it throughout the entire duration of your pregnancy.
Here are some nutrition tips from fitness expert and author of All Belly Pregnancy, Flavia Del Monte, that can help get you on the right path to eating healthy as you carry your baby to full term.
“Overfed but starving to death” is never more true than when you are pregnant! What makes it even more serious is what you’re doing to your baby with every bite during those forty weeks. You can eat your infant’s way to health … or to lifelong medical concerns and problems.
If that sounds more than a bit ominous and dire, it should. The absolute worst thing that can be said to a pregnant woman is “It’s okay. Eat what you want. After all, you’re pregnant.”
Think about it. You know sugar, salt, and processed foods are not healthy. Logically you know chemicals and additives are used in food for a reason. Those reasons – increased shelf-life and increased consumer cravings for a food – a less pleasant term for ‘increased cravings’ is addiction. The end result? Increased sales. Increased sales mean happy corporations, bonuses for management, and elated shareholders – but they are at the detriment of your health and of your baby’s health.
Food manufacturers use sugar, salt, and chemicals to preserve food and make it taste good for all the above reasons. “Low in fat” translates into high in sugar, and sugar is what makes you fat.
Sugar, like salt, is addictive. Sugar turns into fat via insulin. Our bodies store the fat for later when famine come, but because we are no longer hunter/gathers that famine never comes and the stored sugar becomes extra pounds that don’t go away.
The ever increasing global concern over genetically modified foods is based on common sense – not economic profit. Eating healthy should be a priority every day for everyone. When you are pregnant, eating healthy is crucial.
So what should you eat for those nine months? Basically, the same things you should eat all the time. These all are high in nutrition and low in calories.
- Veggies – especially the green leafy ones; certain fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains such as Quinoa, millet, sprouted grains, and whole rice in the main.
- Eggs and hard cheeses are fine, soft cheeses that are pasteurized. All in moderation.
- Some cooked fish and cooked chicken but use both in addition to a primarily veggie meal.
- Eat organically grown food especially dairy, berries, and meat.
What to NEVER eat during pregnancy (much of which should be avoided pregnant or not)
- Seared or raw fish. Do not eat any fish known to be high in mercury content. Generally considered safe fish include: wild salmon, pollack, skipjack tuna, arctic char, farmed rainbow trout, pacific halibut, sole, tilapia, shrimp, sardines and scallops.
- Raw eggs
- Red meat
- Caffeine (including sodas, teas with caffeine, cocoa and chocolate).
- Artificial sweeteners and anything containing Aspartame.
- Processed foods
It really isn’t as difficult to eat for proper nutritional purposes as it might appear. Once you break your addiction to the sugar, salt, chemicals, and additives that are used in processed foods you lose your taste and cravings for them. You’ve beaten your addiction.
Intuitively your body craves healthy food. It is only when we allow commercialization to change our instinctive and health oriented eating habits that we get sick. You read that right – sickness is based on what we eat.
Start your baby off on the road to good health now – while you are pregnant. Both of you will benefit!
Be sure to visit Flavia’s All Belly Pregnancy website if you have any concerns or questions about eating healthy and exercising during your pregnancy. It’s one of the few diet and exercise programs out there specifically designed for expectant mothers and includes complete, step-by-step pregnancy workouts that won’t harm you or your baby.