It is always important to be eating healthy, but when you’re an expecting mother and “eating for two”, it is all the more important to be watching what you eat.
There is tons of advice out there on what to eat when you’re expecting, whether it be from a physician, what your mother or other family thinks you should do, stuff all over social media, and more books than you can count. Often times, you will find conflicting information from all of these sources, and it can be hard to find the right diet plan as an expectant mother.
So, what kinds of things should you eat when you’re pregnant? I try to answer that below as best I can.
Diet Tips for Pregnant Women
While there may be a temptation to go on a diet when you’re pregnant, not wanting to balloon up much bigger than seems necessary, the best advice, according to Lauren Cicinelli, a dietitian interviewed by Fox46 in Charlotte, is to not diet unless your doctor tells you.
However, just because you shouldn’t go on a diet, per se, that doesn’t mean that it is open season to eat whatever you want. It is important to get plenty of calories to feed you and the baby, but what you are really looking for is a balance of healthy and nutrient-rich foods. As Cicinelli explains, “We really want to make sure half of our plate is non-starchy vegetables.”
For the other half of the plate, she advises making sure that you are getting enough protein both in your meals as well as snacks. On top of that, it is vital to get complex carbohydrates, which come from food sources like oatmeal, brown rice, multi-grain bread, and sweet potatoes.
What to Eat When
These dietary guidelines differ depending on what stage you are at in your pregnancy. Cicinelli gives the following advice:
First Trimester: General healthy diet
Second and Third Trimester: Get more protein. If you can’t stomach more lean protein through meat sources, supplement your meals with portions of beans, seeds, and nuts.
Additionally, cut down on your consumption of processed foods (junk foods) as, while they may be highly caloric, they are lacking in nutritional value. Also, take a prenatal daily vitamin to ensure you are getting your daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals, particularly iron and folic acid. While your food consumption, provided it is well-rounded and rich in nutrients, will get you most of the way to your daily recommended value, taking a daily multivitamin can help fill in any gaps.