Pregnancy and Nutrition
Lisa Taylor-Boes, Arden Hills Nutritionist
With two children under the age of two, I have done my fair share of pregnancy related nutrition research these past few years. Not surprisingly, a nutritious, well-balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your baby. Eating nutrient dense foods not only benefits your baby, but can help with keeping your mind and body functioning at optimal levels amidst all of the transformations taking place.
A frequent concern amongst pregnant women is whether or not they are getting adequate nutrients. To ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet, it is recommended to take a prenatal vitamin supplement. I believe in food first when it comes to a healthy body, so in addition to prenatal vitamins, during my pregnancies I made sure to incorporate calcium and iron rich foods and eat at least one solid source of folic acid every day.
Vegetables- spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, and kale
Dairy- yogurt, mozzarella cheese, and milk
Meat-lean beef, chicken, egg yolk, fish, pork, shrimp, and turkey.
Vegetables- spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, lima beans, and sweet potatoes.
Fruits- berries, prunes, grapes, grapefruit, oranges, plums, and watermelon.
Breads and Cereals- Enriched whole grains and fortified breads and cereals.
*Iron is lost in cooking some foods. To maximize iron retention, cook foods in a minimal amount of water and for the shortest possible time. Also, cooking in cast iron pots can add iron to foods.
Folic Acid sources:
Produce: leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
“Enriched” Grains: breakfast cereals, breads, flours, pastas
A common misconception of pregnancy is the practice of “eating for two”. By eliminating that mentality and focusing on consuming an extra 300 calories a day, you will be doing yourself a huge favor when the time comes to fit back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe. Pregnancy cravings have a lot to do with extra calorie consumption and almost two-thirds of all pregnant women have some form of food cravings. If you develop a sudden urge for a certain food, go ahead and lightly indulge in your craving if it provides energy or an essential nutrient. Be mindful if your cravings prevent you from getting other essential nutrients in your diet. Sometimes cravings develop into habits, and that is when weight gain can start to take its toll and often makes losing weight put on during pregnancy much more of a challenge. Look for healthy alternatives to help keep you on track. For example, a bowl of ice cream can be substituted for a cup of frozen yogurt with carob chips and berries.