Eating for Two?

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During pregnancy there really is no need to eat twice as much! However, pregnancy does increase your body's needs for all nutrients. To meet the increased demand for nutrients throughout pregnancy simple eat a little more, and make smarter food choices! EATING SMART - THE FOUNDATION OF A HEALTHY PREGNANCY

Providing your body with energy

It can take up to 80,000 calories to make a baby! However, an extra 300 calories per day is all you need after the first trimester. That is about 1 cup skim milk, 1 medium-size banana, and 1 cup steamed rice. Experts recommend the average woman gain 11-16 kilograms throughout pregnancy, with most of the weight gained during the second and third trimesters. Throughout pregnancy, your body needs about 10 extra grams of protein each day to support your growing baby as well as the changes taking place in your body. Low protein intake may lead to a reduced infant head circumference. One high protein snack is all it takes to get this additional protein. Some great protein foods are:
  • One grilled chicken and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread or
  • 1 tall glass of skim milk (200 mL) or
  • Half a cup of dal with one whole wheat roti
FAT is an important source of energy during pregnancy. Some fats play an important role in brain and eye development of the baby. 2% of daily calories should come from essential fatty acids (fats that can only come from one's diet and not made by the body, such as safflower oil). However, avoid excess intake of fatty foods; they may contain excess calories.
  • Fried snacks, ghee, and more than 1 teaspoon of oil per meal for cooking is not recommended.
CARBOHYDRATES , which come from grains, fruits, and vegetables, should make up a large part of your diet. They will provide you and your baby with many essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Whole grain carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, bajra, and jowar, provide much needed fiber as well.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS IRON is the only mineral that cannot be met from diet alone. A 30 mg supplement is needed after the first trimester. Iron deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to a higher incidence of premature births and low birth weights. Iron helps in making new red blood cells. A 50% increase in blood volume occurs during pregnancy. Therefore enough iron is needed to make 1.5 more kilograms of blood! To allow better absorption of iron from food sources, pair it with foods high in Vitamin C. For example, have your breakfast muesli with a glass of fresh orange juice. Some good sources of iron are meat, spinach, methi, lentils (dal), black-eyed peas, kidney beans, nuts, and dried fruit (figs, raisins). FOLIC ACID , or folate, is used to make new cells. During pregnancy, folate helps to make the neural tube, which will become your baby's spinal cord. All pregnant women should have 600 mcg of folate daily. Foods rich in folate include citrus fruits and juices, nuts, mushrooms, and leafy green vegetables. CALCIUM is needed to build strong bones and teeth. Fortunately calcium absorption by the body is improved during pregnancy. If you do not get enough calcium during pregnancy, your body borrows from your own bones to build a strong skeleton for your baby. Moms-to-be should get at least three servings of low-fat dairy products daily. Try yogurt mixed with fruit or make a hot milk-based soup instead of broth! ZINC is essential for making new cells and brain development in babies. Moms-to-be must ensure they get enough zinc in their diets to avoid birth defects. To add zinc to your diet, include meat, milk, kidney beans (rajma), chickpeas (chole), and nuts, like almonds and sunflower seeds, in your diet. CHOLINE is one of the building blocks for the brain and spinal cord. During pregnancy choline intake should increase from 375 mg to 450 mg per day. Most prenatal vitamins do not include choline. Make sure you get enough choline in your diet, add eggs (must be fully cooked), meats, banana, shrimp, soybeans, mushrooms, and peanut butter! B-VITAMINS are vital to your diet as they aid your body in releasing the energy in the foods you eat. B-vitamins can be found in enriched cereals, meats, nuts, legumes, cauliflower, eggs, and fish. VITAMIN C Research has shown a reduced risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension and miscarriage when there is enough vitamin C in the diet. Some vitamin C-rich foods include:
  • Red bell pepper, Cauliflower
  • Oranges, Strawberries, Cantaloupe
  • Avoid foods that have strong smells or flavours as they may increase feeling of nausea.
  • Try eating some dry toast, rusks, or dry cereal before getting out of bed as this may decrease feelings of nausea and vomiting.
  • Eat small meals more frequently through the day.
  • Avoid drinking just before or during a meal as this may fill you up faster.
  • Avoid fried foods and high-fat foods as they are not easy to digest.
  • Stick to foods that work well for you. Remember the goal is to get all the nutrients and minerals you and your baby need!
Radhika's Balanced Body: Creating Healthy Minds & Bodies Adapted from: Council for Women's Nutrition Solutions Email: Office: +91 22 2613 8588/89

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