What your Diet should contain during Your Pregnancy

Having a healthy diet during pregnancy and getting all the nutrients you and your baby need is very important. Fine-tuning your diet will ensure the health of both you and your baby.

In the pregnancy period your body becomes more efficient and makes better use of the energy you receive from your food so you only need to consume around 300 extra calories per day.

Your diet should consist of enriched foods, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta and rice, as well as fruits and vegetables. You should also include good protein sources at every meal to support the baby’s growth, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, milk and nuts.

Whole-grain breads contain the much needed essential carbohydrates while they also provide fiber, iron and B-vitamins.

Dairy products should also be consumed (3-4 servings per day) as they provide the much needed dose of Calcium (at least 1000 mg of calcium is needed daily), that are essential in your baby building strong teeth and bones, normal blood clotting, and muscle and nerve function .

The fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and are rich in vitamins and fibers so these will be very important during your pregnancy. You can get from here your needed daily dose of at least 0.4 mg of folic acid (from dark green leafy vegetables, lack or lima beans, black-eyed peas, veal) or the needed daily dose of at least 70 mg of Vitamin C (from oranges, grapefruits and honeydew, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts).

Vitamin supplements can only complement a healthy diet during pregnancy but we advise you consult your Doctor and establish which work best for you.

Top folate foods during pregnancy

Folic acid – or folate, when absorbed from food – is very important during pregnancy and infancy. Also called Vitamin B9, folic acid aids the rapid cell division and cell growth, especially during the preconception period and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Thus, if you’re planning to get pregnant, you should have a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid (or folate absorbed from foods) during your prenatal diet. This will help reduce the risk for birth defects in the brain and the spine. Continue to maintain this level of folate right after conceiving and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

If you’re not at ease with taking folic acid as a dietary supplement, include these folate-rich foods in your diet.

Lentils

Lentils are very rich in folate. Only 100g of boiled lentils (or 40g of raw lentils) contain almost half of your daily dose of 400µg of folate. Lentils are also a good source of iron, dietary fibre and zinc.

Spinach

100g of raw spinach in your salad will take care of half of the folate amount needed for the day. Other leafy greens are good sources of folate, but spinach is particularly rich in folate and iron, which makes it a top choice for your salads.

Turnip Tops

100g of boiled turnip tops contain 118µg of folate, which covers about 30% of your folate intake need for the day. To reduce the bitter taste of the leaves, change the water from the initial boiling with fresh water. Turnip tops are also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Calcium. Here are the most important 7 vitamins and minerals during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Fortified cereals

Breads and cereals enriched with folic acid typically contain more than double the amount of folate found in grain products. Ideally, you should combine fortified cereals or breads with foods that are naturally rich in folate. For instance, you can try adding banana and orange slices in your cereal bowl, or eat fortified bread with a spinach salad.

Kidney beans

Red kidney beans are an excellent natural source of folate. 100g of uncooked red kidney beans, which amount to a couple of servings, will cover your entire daily recommended dose of folate. They do, however, require pre-soaking and then boiling for at least 10 minutes in order to reduce their toxicity.

Chicken liver is also a very rich source of folate, but it is not recommended during pregnancy due to its high levels of retinol – a form of Vitamin A. High levels of retinol in your body are not healthy during pregnancy, which is why you need avoid consuming liver, liver products and dietary supplements that contain retinol.

Dark Chocolate and Other Delicious Snacks for Expecting Mums

Enough with the spinach salads. There are tasty foods out there that are healthy during pregnancy and you should have it. Did you know dark chocolate and popcorn are actually healthy for you? Read on for the most mouth-watering snacks and desserts.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate helps relax your muscles, it’s a delicious source of serotonin, it will put you in a better mood and it can help prevent preeclampsia. Above all, it’s probably the tastiest healthy snack you’ll keep around.

Fruit parfait with cereal

Mix low-fat yoghurt, cereal and pumpkin puree or mango, top with maple syrup and cashews and you’ve got yourself a nice treat. Pumpkin is a good source of Vitamin E, Iron and Folate. Mango is a good alternative: it’s rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C.

Dried cranberries and cashews

Have you tried it? It’s one of the best trail mix recipes ever invented. Cranberries enhance the taste of cashew nuts and they work great with walnuts as well.

Raisins

They’re sweet, they’re easy to store and carry along, great for trail mixes and at hand for whenever you feel like nibbling a snack. They’re also healthy. Raisins are a source of fibre, iron and potassium.

Popcorn

Whole grains are an important source of fibre and popcorn is one of them. It contains a lot of nutrients that are healthy for you. Try to eat it freshly popped and don’t put too much salt.

Home-made nachos

If you’re craving for salted chips, make your own nachos with salsa sauce and cheese. It’s a tasty snack and it’s much healthier than supermarket chips or restaurant nachos.

Roasted almonds

Almonds are more nutritious in raw form, but their delicious flavour really comes out when roasted. Eat them with raisins or cranberries or mix them in a banana smoothie. The combination of bananas and roasted almonds is a unique experience for the senses.

Baby carrots

They’re sweet and healthy, and they’ll satisfy your need to nibble on candy. Dip them in low-fat sour cream, it’s the healthy alternative for chips and dip.

5 Ways to Control Your Food Cravings during Pregnancy

Many pregnant women crave for junk food, specific snacks (pickles, anyone?) and peculiar food combinations. If you lust after cucumbers and apples, you’re one of the lucky ones. Longing for junk food like chocolate and burgers is however more common than craving healthy food. This is list is not about abstaining from your cravings. It’s about keeping your pregnancy diet under control, so that you and your baby receive all the necessary nutrients for a healthy development of the pregnancy. Here are the easiest ways in which you can do so.

1. Stock up on healthy snacks

Have healthy snacks with you all the time, in sufficient supply. When you get hungry, you’ll have something healthy to eat at hand. Think fruits, granola bars and nuts.

2. Eat right before shopping for groceries

Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. Your craving might take power over your shopping list and you’ll end up with too much ice-cream, chocolate, chips and other unhealthy foods. Avoiding to buy junk food in the first place makes it easier to not eat it.

3. Eat small portions of everything

Abstaining from eating any junk food that you are craving for is too much of an effort. It can lead to stress and make you tired. It’s absurd. You can have a scoop of ice-cream if you feel like it and you will be fine. The secret is moderation. Don’t buy junk food in large quantities and prepare very small servings of the food that’s not healthy for you. Once you’ve had a taste, it’s easier to manage your cravings. Eating healthy food in advance makes it even easier.

4. Find substitutes for your cravings

Challenge yourself to find the healthiest possible substitutes that are close enough to the foods that you’re craving to satisfy your appetite. You can choose to buy sweets that have less sugar and fat for instance. Try baked chips instead of fried chips, nuts over crisps, fruit juice instead of soda, frozen yoghurt over ice cream and whole-grain cereal over chocolate cereal.

5. Experiment with your cravings

Sometimes you think you’re craving for a particular food, but that’s not necessarily true. You might just be craving for something that has a particular taste, thus you can find more foods that can satisfy one craving. Try different combinations of foods that get close to the taste you’re craving for and experiment until you find healthier options.

10 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks That Are Actually Quick and Tasty

Ideally, you should eat small meals and plenty of snacks throughout the day during pregnancy. Eating snacks that are healthy for you is important, but not always at hand. If you’re running out of ideas, here is a list of 10 quick snacks recommended for moms to be.

Oranges

  • They contain Vitamin C and folate, so they are especially healthy during the first trimester.
  • Eat them as fruits or juiced early in the morning.

 

Fortified cereals and milk

  • Cereals are rich in fibre and are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals.
  • For those who don’t like drinking plain milk, adding cereals can be the perfect fix.
  • Add berries for extra Vitamin C and yumminess.

 

Baby carrots

  • Easy to carry around, baby carrots are rich in Vitamin A and are the perfect on-the-go snack.
  • Keep them close during your second trimester: the beta-Carotene is important for the development of your baby’s visual system.

 

Leafy greens and nuts salads

  • Fix yourself a healthy snack with spinach (or other dark green leaves), Brazil nuts, fresh cherry tomatoes and some lemon juice.
  • Leafy greens and tomatoes are rich in iron and contain essential vitamins, while Brazil nuts contain calcium and are probably the tastiest source of magnesium.
  • Eat them raw and make sure the spinach is fresh.

 

Granola bars

  • Buy granola bars with nuts or prepare them yourself (non-bake recipes are ideal)
  • Opt for the ones with honey and almond butter (rich in Magnesium), they’re delicious and healthy.
  • The perfect time for a granola bar snack is at brunch.

 

Smoothies

  • Start your morning with a fresh smoothie out of your favourite fruits for yet another awesome day of pregnancy.
  • Mix in raw or roasted almonds for Magnesium intake and a nutty flavour (roasted almonds taste better and preserve their nutritional values pretty well).
  • Check out these healthy smoothie recipes.

 

Dried fruits and nuts mix

  • Create your own trail mix of raw nuts and your favourite dried fruits.
  • The healthy picks for the trail mix are: almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and apricots.

 

Fresh fruit salad

  • Mix apples, pears, bananas, kiwi and other favourite fruits with low-fat yoghurt.
  • The benefits you’ll get are vitamins, calcium, water and energy throughout the day.
  • It is recommended to eat fruits especially in the first half of the day, after at least half an hour from the previous meal.

 

Avocado dip

  • Mush one avocado together with a small yoghurt, lemon juice, tahini paste, one scallion and a pinch of salt.
  • Avocados contain more folic acid than any other fruits, and tahini is a powerful combo of iron, calcium and magnesium.
  • Serve it with red bell peppers and eat it within a few hours at most, before the avocado will oxidise.

 

Low-fat cottage cheese

  • Cottage cheese is rich in proteins and it’s a delicious source of calcium.
  • Spread it on whole wheat bread or crackers.

One Delicious Pregnancy Smoothie for Every Trimester

Blend all the essential vitamins and minerals for your current trimester in a tasty and healthy power combo smoothie.

First Trimester: The Mango Avocado Power Up Smoothie

Start your day with this fresh and thick green smoothie. Avocado and mango are rich in folate, which plays an important role in cell growth during your first trimester. Pumpkin seeds and spinach contain iron, while yoghurt contains calcium, both essential during the first months of pregnancy.

You need:

  • 1 avocado
  • A spoonful of pumpkin seeds (raw)
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small yoghurt
  • Optional: 50g (2 oz) spinach (for extra leafy points)

Peel the avocado, remove the seed and split it in 4 or 6 cuts. Blend it all together with the sliced mango, the pumpkin seeds and the yoghurt. Add fresh spinach leaves to increase iron intake. If the mango is not very ripe and sweet, add one tablespoon of honey and squeeze a lemon half. That’s it! You’ve got one large, energizing smoothie for you and your baby.

Second Trimester: Almonds and Pineapple Smoothie

This is mouth-watering and healthy smoothie, perfect for your nutrition plan during the second trimester of pregnancy. Raw almonds are the key ingredient, as they are rich in Vitamin E and Calcium, essential for these months of pregnancy. Pineapple completes the vitamin intake with its rich amounts of Vitamin C (though you can also replace it with orange juice). Bananas are energizing and make a delicious thick base for your smoothie. Use non-sweetened coconut milk instead of milk: it contains plenty of saturated fats and adds an exotic taste to your smoothie.

You need:

  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • ½ pineapple
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup of non-sweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Grind the almonds into fine bits and blend it in with the coconut milk and fruits. Add honey. Set aside a pineapple slice for decoration. Enjoy this smoothie in the morning or as a brunch snack.

Third Trimester: Energizing Banana Smoothie

Bananas are rich in Vitamin K, which needs to be in sufficient values when you’ll go into labour. To top this with Vitamin E, Calcium and Iron, add apricots, spinach leaves and almond milk.

You need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 small apricots
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 10 to 20 fresh spinach leaves

Cut the fresh spinach leaves in fine bits. Peel the banana and the apricots and slice them. Blend it all together with the almond milk. This smoothie will keep your energy levels up during the day, while providing essential nutrients for you and your baby during the third trimester of pregnancy. As a bonus, the Vitamin E contained in almond milk helps prevent stretch marks.

Top 6 Celebrity Diets during Pregnancy

What are pregnant celebrities eating these days? Between struggling to stay in shape and resisting to cravings, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine can be difficult. Find below how some celebrities managed to eat for two in a healthy way. A current trend in exercising seems to be yoga training, combined with eating fruits, nuts and fish. As for dealing with cravings and morning sickness, each one has their own unique tricks.

Kate Middleton had a healthy lifestyle before being pregnant as well, so not many sacrifices were needed. Her diet includes healthy snacks of nuts and fruits and nutritious meals with codfish, chicken, turkey and some (craved) vegetarian curry. She gave up drinking coffee and using tanning spray in order to minimize possible negative effects. Kate also reduced her intense workout and changed to lighter exercise activities, such as morning walks and pregnancy yoga. To prevent the appearance of stretch marks, Kate uses cocoa butter, which is rich in Vitamin E.

Curry dishes were also among Lily Allen’s cravings when she was pregnant with her second child, Marnie Rose. Lily also liked to spend lazy afternoons watching DVDs while drinking tea and eating sweet treats like caramel biscuits and sweetened yoghurt.

Victoria Beckham included omega-3 rich foods in her pregnancy diets, with a preference for smoked salmon. Her cravings for marmalade toast with tea are not too bad either. Many pregnant women crave for junk food, high in salt or sugar. To stay in shape, Victoria continued her yoga exercises, combined with pilates and cardio workouts.

Coleen Rooney declared she felt much more comfortable with her curves during the second pregnancy and did not hesitate to sunbathe at the beach. While exercising to stay fit, Coleen is not concerned with the gained weight, but rather with eating healthy. She used scented candles for dealing with her pregnancy cravings and was spoiled by her husband with bath oils massages for reducing backaches.

Sophie Dahl craved for pineapple during her first pregnancy, which is quite healthy and can also help with morning sickness. Sophie likes to eat organic and sustainable food, cooked from scratched and with passion.

Mel B kept a pretty strict pregnancy diet while expecting her third child, in 2011. Breakfast was the most consistent meal, including eggs, turkey and avocado. Lunch consisted of light salads with chicken or fish. She had plenty of fruits for snacks and replaced coffee with herbal tea.

Nutrition Advice for Your Third Trimester

Your baby’s growth rate will be at its highest during your third trimester. At this stage, your baby’s eyes start opening and later on detect light, breathing begins and many vital minerals are absorbed from the intestinal tract. Nutrition in these last months is as important as ever, so make sure to include these essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.

1. Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood coagulation and it helps prevent loosing too much blood during labour. Foods rich in Vitamin K are bananas, prunes, potato skins, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is recommended for overall maternal health and for your baby’s development. You will find it in nuts such as almonds and pine nuts and in spinach and green olives. Eating the nuts in their raw form is the healthiest option. Another excellent benefit of Vitamin E is that it helps minimise and heal stretch marks.

3. Vitamin D & Calcium

Calcium complemented by Vitamin D support the calcification of your baby’s bones and prevents forgetfulness in expecting mothers. Spending time in the sunlight is the easiest way for Vitamin D intake, as the human body can synthesize Vitamin D from sun exposure. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, tofu, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. During rainy weather, try including mushrooms and fatty fish like Mackerel and Salmon in your diet for a sufficient intake of Vitamin D.

4. Iron

Iron keeps you energy levels up and minimizes the effects of blood loss during childbirth. There are two types of iron you can absorb from food: heme iron, which is found in meat, and non heme iron, found in vegetables. Heme iron is more easily absorbed that the iron found in vegetables. Rich sources are red meat and poultry. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, apricots and tomatoes are not only iron-rich, but contain other essential vitamins and minerals as well.

Try to keep your diet varied, yet keep in mind that it is recommended to not mix heme iron sources with non-heme iron sources in one meal, as the amount of each type of iron absorbed is reduced and thus total absorption is not maximized.

Nutrition Guide for Your Second Trimester

At this stage, what your baby needs most is to grow. Most expecting moms feel more energized during the second trimester and begin to put on weight. Vital systems start to develop and kicking can be felt already. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals you will need for a healthy development during your second trimester of pregnancy.

1. Vitamin E

A good balance of Vitamin E and Omega oils is healthy for you as well as for your baby. Vitamin E helps prevent and heal stretch marks, while contributing to your baby’s development. Vitamin E in excess is not recommended. Avoid taking dietary supplements and try instead nuts such as almonds and pine nuts, spinach and green olives. These vitamin-rich foods are healthiest in their raw form and will satisfy the recommended daily dose in a balanced diet.

2. Vitamin C and Zinc

Vitamin C and Zinc are both critical in aiding your immune system and preventing infections. There is also evidence that Vitamin C and Zinc can help with the development of the baby’s nervous system. Try including strawberries, kiwi and other fruits in your diet, as well as bell pepper, broccoli, lamb, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. Eating one portion of peanuts per week during pregnancy reduces the chances of your child developing allergies later on. Peanuts are recommended only for those without a family history of peanut allergy.

3. Vitamin D and Calcium

During the second trimester, your baby’s bones and teeth begin to harden. Calcium with Vitamin D and magnesium are essential in the formation of bones and teeth, so make sure you spend sufficient time in sunlight and eat plenty of cheese, milk, tofu, mushrooms, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. Complete you diet with fish like Mackerel and Tuna, which are rich in magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene is the most popular provitamin A, widely available in plenty of fruits and plants. Because it converts to Vitamin A within your body, it plays an important role in the development of your baby’s vision. You will find beta-Carotene in orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, beetroots, mangoes and papayas. Sweet potatoes and lettuce are also a rich and healthy source. Beta-Carotene is a safe source of Vitamin A and does not have its toxic effects. It is highly recommended to not use dietary supplements of Vitamin A and to avoid consuming liver during pregnancy.

7 Vitamins and Minerals for a Healthy First Trimester

Are you eating everything your baby needs at this early stage? We’ve prepared a list of vitamins and minerals that are essential for your health and for your baby’s development during the first trimester of pregnancy.

1. Folate

Folate, or folic acid, is of critical importance in stages like pregnancy or infancy, due to its significant aid to rapid cell division and cell growth. Folic acid is recommended during the preconception period – just before and after the moment of conception – as well as during the first trimester. Also known as Vitamin M or Vitamin B9, folate intake is important for preventing congenital malformations and is required in the formation of all bodily cells for both you and your baby.
Rich sources are leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, asparagus and turnip greens. Other folate-rich foods are bananas, avocado, broccoli and fortified grain products.

2. Vitamin D

Intake of Vitamin D increases the bioavailability of calcium. Also called the „sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D can be synthesized by the human body when exposed to sunlight, so enjoy sunny afternoons outdoors as often as possible. Your baby’s spinal cord and bones start developing during the first trimester. It is important to have plenty of Vitamin D during this period, as it helps with the calcification of foetal bones. Foods rich in Vitamin D are fortified milk products, mackerel, button mushrooms and Shiitake mushrooms. Don’t forget sun exposure!

3. Calcium

Calcium is essential in the formation of bones and teeth, as well as for other cellular processes. There is evidence indicating that deficit of maternal calcium can lead to hypertension and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are the most popular sources of calcium. Other calcium-rich foods include: sesame seeds, soy products (especially tofu), sardines, herring, almonds, flax seeds and Brazil nuts.

4. Iron

Iron intake contributes to the increase in maternal blood volume and is crucial for increasing the rate of haemoglobin. Red meat and poultry, lentils, beans, leaf vegetables, tofu and pumpkin seeds are particularly rich in iron. Iron found in meat, however, is absorbed more easily that the iron found in vegetables.

5. Vitamin C

Vitamin C prevents infections by increasing the immune response and contributes to the absorption of iron in the organism. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, these are the richest natural sources of Vitamin C. Green pepper, parsley, broccoli and kiwi are just a few of the most popular plants that are rich in Vitamin C.

6. Omega-3 (DHA)

DHA Omega-3 supports the normal development of the foetal brain, which already begins in the 5th week of pregnancy. There is also evidence that Omega-3 fatty acids might play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body. DHA Omega-3 is commonly found in marine oils. Sardines, salmon and halibut are a tasty and popular source, but you will also find Omega-3 in flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans and grass-fed beef.

7. Zinc

Zinc helps your body shield from infection and from contracting infectious diseases. Some evidence suggests that adequate levels of zinc in the organism help reduce the incidence of prolonged labour. This is especially beneficial since newborns of prolonged labour can be more agitated and cry more than others. Foods which are rich in zinc include beef, lamb, venison, turkey, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and green peas. It is recommended to consume zinc rich foods such as seed and nuts in their raw form, where possible.

Keep in mind that you can obtain all these vitamins and minerals from eating natural foods, which is always a healthier option than taking supplements. It’s a good idea to listen to your cravings, yet try to eat a large variety of foods in moderate amounts. Don’t forget to spend time in the sunlight and relax.

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