Confirmation of pregnancy comes with loads of advice regarding what to eat and what not to eat. This article provides a helpful diet plan which ensures a daily supply of all the essential nutrients for the mother-to-be and the baby as well.
The mother-to-be is responsible for the health of the unborn baby. In case of a working woman, pregnancy can be a challenging time. This is because it is difficult for the working expectant mothers to eat the essential nutrients while ‘on the go’. They are obviously tempted to eat fast food and they may prefer processed food rather than cooking an elaborate meal. But a healthy diet, containing all the necessary nutrients is essential to maintain the health of the mother-to-be and the baby.
If one is trying to conceive, then it is better that one follows a healthy pre-pregnancy diet. It is necessary for the proper growth of the fetus and also for maintaining one’s own health. It should help one enjoy this phase. The earlier one starts getting sufficient amount of the nutrients like folate, (ideally, before conception), the higher the chances that one would have a healthy baby. A post-pregnancy diet may focus on healthy weight loss. It should promote lactation and it should boost the energy levels. A healthy diet plays an important role after childbirth as one has to breastfeed their baby.
A healthy diet should include all food types in proper proportions. One’s calorie intake is shared with the baby, so an increased calorie intake would be necessary during this phase. For instance, one may require an additional 300 calories during the last trimester. Calorie intake may differ from person to person, depending upon several factors like age, physical activity, overall health, weekly or monthly growth of the baby, etc. Taking into consideration one’s own needs, changes can be made in the diet week by week.
Healthy Diet Plan
|Food Group||Recommended Quantity||Food Items||Serving Size|
|Meat/Protein Group||6 ozs. total per day||Red meat, fish, poultry-skin removed, egg, cooked beans, peanut butter, nuts||One egg, ½ cup cooked beans, 1 ½ tsp peanut butter, 1 oz. of meat.|
|Grain Group||6-11 servings per day||Whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, high-fiber cereal (5 gm of fiber per serving), whole-wheat crackers||1 slice of bread, ½ bagel, 1 oz. of cereal, 5-6 whole-wheat crackers, 2 ozs. cooked pasta or ½ cup of cooked grains|
|Vegetable Group||3-5 servings per day||Deep yellow or orange vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and others like broccoli, cabbage, green peas, etc.||1 cup of leafy green vegetables, ½ cup of the others|
|Fruit Group||2-4 servings per day||Melons, mangoes, apples, strawberries, bananas, peaches, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, etc.||1 medium apple, orange, or banana, ½ diced fruit or ¾ cup of fruit juice|
|Milk Group||3 or more servings per day||Low-fat yogurt, milk, and hard cheese, etc.||1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 ½ oz. cheese|
- One should never eat heavily-processed food. It won’t provide the nutrients that one needs as part of their healthy diet during this period.
- One can keep sliced vegetables sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to make quick and healthy snacks.
- Try to consume as much organic food as possible. Thereby, the pregnant women and the baby can stay away from harmful elements in the food.
- One can try making one’s own snacks with nuts, seeds, and raisins for eating on the go or one can always add these things to yogurt or ice creams.
- Omega-3 essential fatty acids are required for the healthy growth of the baby. Fish, fish oil, flaxseed oil, and olive oil should be included in the diet.
- In spite of the signs of morning sickness during the first trimester, one should eat as much healthy food as possible. Foods rich in iron and calcium should also be included. However, the consumption of iron supplements can lead to side effects like constipation. While following high-protein, high-calcium diet, one should also be aware of the foods to avoid during this phase.
- On the weekend, one can make double or triple recipes in advance, so that one won’t be tempted to eat fast food or junk food. For instance, turkey can easily be smoked on a weekend and then it can be used in sandwiches, salads, and casseroles all week.
Furthermore, one might come across various types of diet plans, but one should choose a diet plan that includes all the necessary nutrients like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and folate and all the essential vitamins and minerals. One should opt for a balanced diet. A high-fiber diet can maintain one’s digestive health during pregnancy and can ensure that the baby has a trouble-free journey into the world.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.