March is National Nutrition Month, and as I noted earlier this week, I'll be offering some helpful nutrition tips for...
March is National Nutrition Month, and as I noted earlier this week, I'll be offering some helpful nutrition tips for both mamas and babies throughout the month. Today some general tips for healthy eating during pregnancy that will not only help you grow a healthy baby but can help you eat better for the rest of your life. Many women eat much healthier during pregnancy than at other times, but you can make the choice to keep eating healthfully after your baby is born as well.
Good nutrition is not the only consideration for growing a healthy baby. You also need moderate and regular exercise, plenty of rest, regular health care check-ups, and you should avoid alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances. However, good nutrition is a key point in every healthy pregnancy and should be one of the first issues you discuss with your midwife or doctor. Following are some general healthy eating tips to keep in mind.
- Mamas-to-be need a variety of foods from all the major food groups. However, all women are different and thus may need different nutrients and foods. Visit My Pyramid to create a custom nutrition plan.
- You can have a healthy pregnancy if you're vegan or vegetarian, just make sure to talk about this with your midwife, doctor, or better yet a professional nutritionist.
- You should do your best to avoid empty calories - which don't provide healthy energy for you and your baby. Empty calories include foods such as overly fatty or salty foods, soda, fried foods, and sweets.
- If you want a treat now and then you should have one. Studies show that folks who indulge in treats occasionally actually tend to eat healthier than people who constantly deprive themselves. See ten great guilt-free pregnancy treats.
- Beyond nutrition you gain from food, you also need to make sure you're getting the key nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. These nutrients include folic acid, iron, and calcium. Most pregnant women do need to take a prenatal vitamin and sometimes an additional mineral supplement because it's very hard to get all the key nutrients you need from simply eating food. Discuss vitamin and mineral options with your midwife or doctor.
- It's not just what you eat, but how you prepare it. Pregnant women have a higher risk of experiencing foodborne illnesses, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), so it pays to be extra careful and practice safe food handling techniques.
NEED MORE HELP? The American Dietetic Association’s publication Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy is available at bookstores and online retailers and can help you make better eating decisions during pregnancy.