After the initial euphoria surrounding the good news that you are pregnant, chances are likely that you have a lot of doubts about what to eat and what to avoid. Well wishers would be giving you a lot of advise around eating healthy while you are pregnant, but remember that all of this well meaning advices may not really be scientific. You may thus rsik the chance of either being malnourished or end up being bloated even after your baby is born. Remember that healthy eating during pregnancy has the same basic fundamentals as healthy eating at other times – make the right food choices and ensure that you eat a well balanced diet.
A well balanced diet plan during pregnancy would mean that you include a variety of foods from each of the major food groups as detailed below:
Dairy Products: These products are a rich source of calcium and protein, both of which are essential for your growing baby. You need to include milk, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk in your daily diet plan. In case you are lactose intolerant, then you need to consult with your doctor on what you could eat to replace this.
Cereals and whole grains: Again these are good sources of plant protein, and if you are already struggling with your weight problems, then you can safely replace your meat choices with these, without affecting the health of your unborn baby. A quarter cup of legumes can give you the protein equivalent of roughly 30 gms of meat. If you are completely avoiding meat and meat products, then you need to have at least one cup of legumes to meet your daily protein requirements.
Vegetables and Fruits: These would not only provide the necessary vitamins and minerals, but also would give you a healthy dose of fibre. Fibre rich food is important during pregnancy as it would help to keep constipation at bay, especially during the last trimester.
Meat, fish and poultry: These are good sources of proteins, if you are a non-vegetarian, but here again moderation is the key. You should also take care to eat well cooked meat, as raw or semi-cooked meat can cause bacterial infections of the gut.
Fluids: This is exteremely important during pregnancy and you need to drink at least eight glasses of fluid on a daily basis. Completely avoid aerated drinks like colas while you are pregnant. Limit your caffeine intake to a maximum of one cup per day. Include fruit juices, smoothies and plain water in your diet. Avoid packaged juices as they may have a very high sugar content. Needless to say, alcohol is also a complete no, while you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Oils: Here again, opt for healthy choices like olive oil or sunflower oil which have less saturated fats when compared to ghee or butter which would have a high amount of saturated fats, leading to an increase in cholesterol levels.
Now that you know what all you need to include in your diet, the next logical question would be how much should you eat. The answer is no, you do not need to eat for two while you are pregnant. The body has its own mechanisms to extract the necessary nutrients from your body for the healthy development of your baby and all you need is to add about 200 calories per day more to your normal requirements. This can be achieved by eating just two bananas or two eggs.
Ultimately, you are the best judge of how much food you eat, and your appetite is the best indicator of how much you should consume. Make sure that you make healthy choices while you are pregnant and this would help you to not only have a healthy baby, but also make it easier for you to get back to shape post your pregnancy.