A healthy nutrition program for pregnancy can make a world of difference in how you feel while carrying your baby, as well as how easily you will return to your pre-pregnancy healthy weight with time. Most importantly, a healthy diet impacts the growth of your unborn baby and will set the stage for his or her long-term health as an adult.
First and foremost, now is the time for you to consider upgrading your groceries to organic as much as possible. Organic foods are free of the troubling chemicals and pesticides that non-organic foods contain. Since most of what you consume passes across the placenta to your unborn child, it’s crucial to keep your consumption of these chemicals and pesticides to a minimum. Organic foods also usually have a much higher nutritive value than their non-organic counterparts. Organic foods are required to be free from genetically modified materials.
The following lists are general guidelines for how to improve your nutrition status for pregnancy, or even prior to conception. Start small. Instead of feeling overwhelmed to tackle all new foods at once, make it a goal to consume one to two new foods per week, beginning with the Green Light Foods.
- Fresh fruits – raw
- Fresh vegetables – raw, steamed, sautéed or oven-roasted
- Brown rice and other whole grains, and whole grain products – note your gluten intake and begin to reduce if possible.
- Healthy fats from plant-based sources (monounsaturated fats), such as avocados, olive, nuts, seeds, olive oil, flaxseed oil, unrefined nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, sesame butter, etc.) and coconut oil. All cooking should be done with saturated fats because they do not turn into trans fats at higher temperatures: coconut oil, butter, lard, tallow, ghee and bacon drippings are good choices.
- Fresh herbs and spices for flavor
- Spring Water – drink one half of your body weight in ounces of water per day, which means your water intake must increase as pregnancy weight accumulates.
- Organic or grass-feed/pasture-raised beef, cooked medium-rare – overcooking meats creates cancer-causing agents)
- Organic poultry
- All-natural fruit and vegetable juices – you might want to invest in a high-powered juicer or blender to get maximum nutrition from freshly made juices and smoothies.
- Raw, local honey – consumed in moderation, raw, local honey is a perfect sweet treat that offers real nutritional benefits like enzymes, B vitamins, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, energy and blood sugar balancing.
- Organic dairy products, full-fat “raw” dairy is best (raw dairy is available from a local farm in milk share) – organic butter is a pregnancy super-food!
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, swordfish) – high in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) which is necessary for baby’s healthy brain and eye development, but consume only two to three servings per week to avoid mercury contamination.
- Unrefined sugar and naturally made sweet treats – sometimes even “organic” sweets can derail our best laid intentions, so just choose carefully.
- Salted foods – pregnancy sodium needs rise to 3,000 mg by the third trimester, but choose your salt sources carefully to avoid conditions such as hypertension during pregnancy. Sea salt is best.
- Dark chocolate – contains caffeine and may be stimulating to both mom and baby.
- Caffeine – even small amounts cross the placenta and may have adverse effects on baby’s development. Consult your physician, midwife or schedule a nutrition session with me for help with reducing caffeine consumption. Cutting back on caffeine initially can be challenging.
- Fast food of ALL kinds! There is nothing nutritious about fast food. For convenience and preparedness, please consider stocking healthy snacks in a cooler or small back pack that you can take with you to work or on the go, so that you never run out of options and have to swing through a drive through.
- Junk food like chips, candies, pastries and packaged/processed treats of any kind – packaged, processed “treats” are also high in other anti-nutrients you want to avoid like trans fats, refined flours, additives, artificial coloring and flavors, to name a few.
- Soft drinks – especially diet soft drinks which contain ASPARTAME, a harmful artificial sweetener
- French fries and other deep-fried foods – contain trans fats and other additives.
- Margarine, canola oil, vegetable oils, and other “fake” oil products – no one should eat these bizarre and highly processed food industry oils, which made in a factory. Choose healthy plant-based fats from Mother Nature instead.
- Processed soy (soy milk, soy cheese, soy protein isolate, soy lecithin) which may interfere with healthy endocrine development in the fetus. Occasional Non-GMO/Organic tofu is OK.
- White bread or other white/refined carbohydrate foods – these tend to spike blood sugar and increase cravings for other non-nutritive foods.
- Any meats containing nitrates or nitrites (sausage, deli meat, hot dogs, etc.) – chemical preservatives that have been shown to be harmful to babies and children.
- Undercooked meats which may contain pathogenic bacteria. Pregnant women are not at a greater risk of contracting food-borne illness during pregnancy, however, the effects of an infection from something call Listeria can be very harmful indeed.
Nutrition Services for Pregnancy
Beyond the challenge of simply choosing to eat healthfully once you decide to start a family, sometimes pregnancy brings with it a host of digestive and other side effects that just make eating downright difficult. Are you experiencing morning sickness, low energy, constipation or heartburn? Nutrition tips and diet modification can help you cope with these common problems so that your pregnancy is a more comfortable experience. Nutrition therapy can help you make dietary changes that will help you gain weight appropriately. Special concerns such as gestational diabetes, or pregnant with twins requires special attention to diet. Nutrition therapy helps mom and baby achieve a healthy delivery, and has lasting effects on health.
Contact me for more information on how I can help.