It is a popular pregnancy advice to eat for two. When you are pregnant, however, you do not require extra calories for your baby, as much as you need. An additional 200-300 calories a day is all that your growing baby requires.
Last Updated: Oct 22, 2020 11:29 GMT
When talking about healthy pregnancy diet, remember it isn’t always about the quantity that must be kept a check on. What is more important is to make sure you are eating a good spread of the right kind of nutrients essential for your baby’s growth and development, and for your well-being as well.
Before you plan a pregnancy diet, consult with your doctor about the specific nutritional requirements that you’ll need, based on your age, weight and health conditions. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has devised a meal plan for pregnant women, called the MyPlate, which is available both as an app and a website. MyPlate recommends you what to eat and how much to eat according to your pregnancy age, weight, exercise level etc.
Irrespective of how healthy or deficient your diet was before pregnancy, you can always make a fresh, new start in your eating habits now. Here are the common, must-have ingredients in your pregnancy diet:Build on the building blocks of your system
Carbohydrates: Why, as though you haven’t been having carbs before! Of course, you did. But when you are pregnant, the healthy way for carbohydrate intake is to cut down on sugars, cookies and white breads, and instead replace it with whole-grain breads, cereals and vegetables.
Proteins: Your developing body and baby need 75 to 100 grams of protein every day. Though including proteins in your diet is easier, remember to go for lean meat, eggs, dried beans, nuts and selected fish.
Fat: Though we do not want unhealthy fat deposition in your body, healthy fats are essential ingredients for your baby’s brain development. It is necessary to know what kinds of food provide healthy fats. Avocado is one of the best sources of good fat to your body. Use olive oil for cooking and substitute your junk foods with walnut, flax seeds and chia seeds.Add up vitamins and minerals
Folic acid: You were recommended to have 400 micrograms a day of folic acid tabs before conception. That is because of its high significance for your baby’s development. Not only does folic acid prevent neural tube defects in babies but also it plays critical roles in DNA formation, RBC synthesis and in the development of the fetal nervous system. Asparagus, avocado and green leafy vegetables are a few common sources of folic acid. During pregnancy, your body requires 600 micrograms a day of folic acid, including from both the sources - supplements and regular diet.
Vitamin B complex: The group of vitamins B1 – 12 helps in fetal development of the nervous system and heart. Dairy products, grains, meats, broccoli and soybeans are some of the best sources of vitamin B.
Vitamins A, C and D: Vitamins A, C and D are no less important as they take care of the development of your baby’s eyes, blood and the immune system. Don’t forget to add some berries, citrus fruits and whole milk in your diet.
Calcium: The developing bones of your baby are dependent on the level of calcium you take through food. A dose of 1 gram of calcium a day is recommended for pregnant women. Don’t skip your glass of milk. Include tofu and other dairy products in your everyday diet. If you are a vegan, you must take additional care to have the right type of food that compensates on the calcium levels. Look for selected fish and greens that are rich in calcium. Don’t depend entirely on calcium supplements.
Iron: All of the oxygen and nutrients to your baby is carried through blood and iron is an important building block for making blood. Especially, as pregnancy progresses, pregnant women can become anemic if their iron intake is lesser than the required levels. Stock up lentils, spinach and a variety of beans in your kitchen for you must have at least one serve of them in your daily diet.
You and your baby are also going to need other minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and iodine which are found in salts, yogurt, almonds etc.
Fruits and vegetables: We can’t say enough how fruits and vegetables are critical for a healthy pregnancy. Have a good spread of a variety of fruits and vegetables which supply vitamins, minerals, energy and some good cheer to both of you.