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Importance of diet during pregnancy!

Pregnancy is a great time to establish new lifestyle habits you can continue in future, as you care for your newborn and for yourself. Eating a healthy diet is essential for a healthy lifestyle, especially if you are pregnant. Balanced diet helps the mother to stay fit, and to gain weight gradually, while the fetus is nourished through mother’s healthy eating.

Balanced diet ensures that you eat all variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. It comprises of carbohydrates, proteins, essential fats, vitamins and minerals and non nutrients like fiber and water to detoxify the body.

Since the pregnant women are generally bombarded with many do’s and don’ts, here I give you some tips how and what to eat healthy for a healthy pregnancy:

1. Eat for two:

Definitely, you need extra calories, protein, iron, calcium, and folic acid than you did before pregnancy. This does not mean to eat twice the quantity, but to choose and eat a right food that has all nutrients required for baby’s growth and development. Sensible balanced meals combined with regular physical fitness is still the best recipe for good health during your pregnancy.

2. Good foods for mother and the baby to eat everyday:

  • · Whole grains: whole grain breads, cereals, brown rice.

  • · Fruits: All types of fresh fruits

  • · Vegetables: Eat a variety of colorful vegetables including green leafy vegetables.

  • · Lean protein: Choose proteins from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and peas and nuts.

  • · Low-fat dairy: Milk, paneer, tofu, cheese and yogurt.

  • · Essential fats: Go for oils like rice bran, canola, corn, peanut and olive oil

3. Restrict foods that increase calories and provide minimal or no nutrients

  • Oily and fried foods – chips, pakoras, pooris, vada etc.

  • Fast foods – burgers, pizza, chats, Manchurians etc

  • Carbonated beverages – colas, soda

  • Caffeinated drinks – tea, coffee and cocoa beverages

  • Sugar and salt – canned foods, juices, processed foods etc

  • Bakery and other junk foods – biscuits, puffs, ice creams, pastries, puddings.

4. Say no-no these:

  • Alcohol

  • Smoking

  • Drugs

5. Do not Diet:

Dieting may starve you and your baby from providing vital nutrients. So, even if you are overweight, your pregnancy is not an acceptable time to lose weight.

6. Make the meal spacing appropriate

  • Go for 3 small meals and 3 big meals. Having one big meal at a time can result in indigestion and heart burn.

  • Set a routine for eating.

  • Snack light healthy foods between major meals.

  • Dinner should be lighter and preferably 2 hours before bed time

7. Don't forget fluids

· When you are pregnant, your body needs even more water to stay hydrated and support the life inside you. Consuming 8-10 glasses of water a day helps to prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections.

· As alternates to water, you can choose fluids like fresh juices (with less or no sugar), soups etc in between your major meals that can make up to the fluid requirement for the day. Check with your nutritionist on fluid consumption as it may differ with every individual depending upon their health.

Many women have strong desires for specific foods during pregnancy. The desire for pickles, chocolates, ice cream etc and other cravings might be caused by changes in hormonal and nutritional needs during pregnancy. Some women crave nonfood items such as clay, ice, chalk or cornstarch. A desire to eat nonfood items is called pica. Check with your Gynecologist if you find any of the above cues, as eating nonfood items can be harmful to your pregnancy.

A healthy diet will always keep you young, positive, and energized, making it easier for you to cope with the big life changes of pregnancy and afterward.

Speak with the nutrition expert for healthy pregnancy diet plan to help ensure that your baby gets enough nutrients throughout pregnancy. In addition to making healthy food choices, ask your doctor about taking a prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement every day.

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