When it comes to pregnancy nutrition, there are seven guiding principles you should use when choosing what to eat. You may not be able to implement all these changes at once; however, keeping all of these principles in mind while planning your meals during the next nine months will help keep you fit and healthy. These seven guiding principles will ensure your baby gets the nutrients she needs to grow healthy and strong as well.
Principle #1: Eliminate Processed Foods
You should begin your journey to proper nutrition by eliminating processed foods from your diet. These foods contain high levels of sodium, preservatives, and fillers that could pose a risk to your baby. These foods also make it easier for the expectant mother to gain weight and retain water.
Begin substitution fresh, whole foods for the processed foods in your diet. For example, if you like to have cereal for breakfast, try switching to a grain like millet or quinoa. These pack powerful nutritional punches and are much better for you than a processed cereal, which is usually crammed full of sugar and preservatives.
Principle #2: Go Organic
You should aim to go organic, as well. This is especially true for eggs, meats, and dairy products. When purchased from an all-natural and/or organic source, they are higher in fatty acids and amino acids than their non-organic counterparts.
When switching to organic fruits and vegetables, aim to switch at least the “dirty dozen,” those culprits with the highest concentration of pesticides. This list includes celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, bell peppers, blueberries, nectarines, spinach, kale, potatoes, cherries, and grapes.
Principle #3: Include Veggies with Every Meal
As your pregnancy advances, it’s important to include a vegetable with every meal. Vegetables are high in fiber, helping to combat constipation caused by the hormonal changes of pregnancy.
Eating enough vegetables also makes you feel fuller and more satiated during a meal. Vegetables also supply valuable vitamins and minerals to you and your baby while you are pregnant.
Principle #4: Include Healthy Fat with Every Meal
You should also include a healthy fat with every meal. Healthy fats include organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocadoes, raw nuts, and nut butters. Not only do these healthy fats provide the kind of fatty acids your body needs to function properly, they also supply your baby with what she needs for proper cognitive development.
These healthy fats also help you feel satiated after a meal, helping you to keep your weight in check without feeling hungry all the time.
Principle #5: Drink Enough Water
Drinking enough water is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, as it helps to flush toxins from your system and combat water retention. Water can also help ease many of the common physical complaints of pregnancy, such as headaches and constipation.
Drinking enough water can also help curb your appetite, as often your brain can mistake thirst for hunger. You should aim to drink at least half your body weight in water every day. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 70 ounces of water per day as a minimum.
Principle #6: Eliminate Soy & Other Troubling Foods
There is some troubling evidence that soy products can hinder the development of your baby’s sex organs, and many soy products contain high amounts of preservatives. For those reasons, it’s better to avoid soy in your diet while you are pregnant.
Other foods that should be avoided during pregnancy include fish high in mercury. You may wonder, “Can I eat shrimp while pregnant?” Yes, as it is low in mercury, but you should limit your portions to twice weekly.
Principle #7: Watch for Wheat and Gluten Intolerance
Often new food allergies can be triggered by the hormonal changes of pregnancy. If you are having trouble with indigestion and with water retention, you may have developed an intolerance to wheat or gluten. To combat this, you will need to eliminate foods containing wheat and gluten from your diet. Substitute millet, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and brown rice for the starches in your eating plan, and your symptoms should abate.