How To Keep It Steady

What can be done to slow weight gain during pregnancy? Find some answers here.
Fat, carbohydrates and protein
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy will make blood sugar levels higher than normal for women with gestational diabetes. Yet, for many pregnant women it is very difficult to gain weight slowly and still get all of the recommended nutrients. Luckily, fat, which is high in calories (9 calories per gram), is needed in only small amounts during pregnancy. Carbohydrates and protein, in contrast to fat, provide only 4 calories per gram.

Guidelines for cutting calories
To cut calories without depriving the fetus of any necessary nutritional factors, it is best to avoid fats and fatty foods.
  • Avoid high-fat meats. Choose lean cuts of beef, pork, and lamb. Emphasize more fish and poultry (without the skin).
  • Avoid frying meat, fish, or poultry in added oil, shortening, or lard. Bake, broil, or roast instead.
  • Avoid foods fried in oil such as chips, french fries, and doughnuts. Substitute pretzels, unbuttered popcorn, or breadsticks instead.
  • Avoid using cream sauces and butter sauces, as well as salt pork for seasoning on vegetables. Season with herbs instead.
  • Avoid using the fat drippings from meat or poultry for gravy. Use broth or bouillon instead and thicken with cornstarch.
  • Avoid using mayonnaise or oil for salads. Use vinegar, lemon juice, or low-calorie salad dressings instead.

Dairy products
To help reduce calories, choose low-fat dairy products. During pregnancy you need 1200mg of calcium daily to build the fetal skeleton without drawing from maternal calcium stores.

The difference between 600 calories and 340 calories is only 260 calories and may seem insignificant. Yet, if your diet is cut by 260 calories daily for one week, your weight gain slows down by approximately one half pound per week. In other words, instead of gaining one and a half pounds per week, you will only gain one pound per week.

If cheese is a part of your daily diet, use low-fat cheeses such as low-fat cottage cheese, Neufchatel, mozzarella, farmers, and pot cheese. Avoid using cream cheese, as it has little protein and most of its calories come from fat.

More tips
Even though pregnancy can be a very hectic time. with little time for meal preparation, eat less and less often at "fast food" restaurants. Studies have shown that some foods from fast food restaurants average 40 to 60 percent of their calories from fat, and are quite high in calories (according to "Fast Food Facts: Nutritive Exchange Values for Fast Food Restaurants," Marion J. Franz, International Diabetes Center_. For example, chicken and fish that are coated with batter and deep-fried in fat may contain more fat and calories than a hamburger or roast beef sandwich.

Go lightly when using butter and margarine. Adding only an extra three pats of butter or margarine (same calories) daily could add an extra pound of weight gain next month. It may be better to emphasize the use of foods rich in complex carbohydrates that don't use butter, margarine, or cream sauce to make them palatable. Many people find rice, noodles, and spaghetti tasty without a lot of butter. Use a variety of spices and herbs (such as curry, garlic and parsley) to flavor rice and tomato sauce to flavor pasta without additional fats.

It is also a good idea to eat small amounts frequently, thereby keeping the edge off your appetite. This will assist your "self-control" in avoiding large portions of food that you should not have. Avoid skipping meals or trying to cut back drastically on breakfast or lunch. It will leave you too hungry for the next meal to exercise any control. Your doctor or dietitian can help you determine how you can cut extra calories.

Dairy products
You may find it helpful to keep food records of what you eat, as most of us tend to forget or not realize the extent of our snacking. Recording everything you eat or drink tends to be a sobering and instructive experience.

Be careful to maintain a weight gain of at least one half pound per week, over several weeks, if you are in the second trimester (14 weeks or more of gestation). Cutting back more than this may increase the risk of having a low-birth-weight infant.


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