Small, regular meals should be the norm in pregnancy. Fresh fruits and vegetables can prevent sudden highs and lows in your mood. Just like in effective fertility diets, healthy fats should be included and never avoided. Make sure you include raw salads, small wild fish and probiotics like kefir and kombucha to your diet.
A healthy pregnancy diet can be quite different for every woman. But there are a few basic rules that apply to all of us, regardless of health status, lifestyle or history of complications. The following 8 tips will help you alleviate common pregnancy “side effects”, such as cravings, moodiness and exhaustion, all while fully supporting your growing baby and your changing body. All a pregnant woman has to do is take care with her pregnancy diet, in order to ensure the best health for her baby. healthy pregnancy diet and nutrition during pregnancy are so important.
Small, Regular Meals
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that small, regular meals become the norm in pregnancy. If you are used to have a couple of large meals during the day, this is not going to work anymore. The large gaps between the meals mean that the blood sugar drops, creating a state of emergency for your body, which is desperately trying to find adequate energy to cover the needs of your growing baby. Especially in early pregnancy, you may not feel and certainly not see much changing in your body, but trust me, so much is being created / reconstructed to fully support and accommodate the growing baby.
Eating small regular meals is the best way to keep your blood sugar leveled and provide your body and baby much needed energy, evenly throughout your day.
Fresh fruit will be your best pregnancy friends. Not only do they provide antioxidants and valuable minerals and vitamins, but they also contain healthy natural sugars that alleviate sweet cravings. The power combo of nutrients and easily digestible sugars provides constant access to energy (= sugars) during the day combined with superior nutritional quality. Opt for organic fruit and you take this super package to a whole new level, since you avoid traces of dangerous toxins usually found in conventional fruit. Fresh fruits are absolutely essential for healthy pregnancy diet.
Needless to say that when fresh fruit means the actual fruit you buy from the grocery store. Commercial fruit juices (even if they are claiming to be made of fresh fruit, which is usually a lie) and certainly canned fruit are not going to give you significant health benefits and they will probably load your body with additional sugars, entirely defeating the purpose of eating fruit to begin with. For a healthy pregnancy nutrition you should try to add as many fruit as possible to your diet.
Fresh vegetables contain more complex carbs, which are digested more slowly than the sugars found in fruit. That is a good thing because in this way, the sugars they contain are released slowly in the blood and prevent sudden highs and lows, which will exhaust your hormones and your mood. Of course, vegetables also provide precious minerals and vitamins, which are so essential for your growing baby. Fresh vegetables are a cornerstone of healthy pregnancy diet and healthy babies.
Just like fruits, whenever possible you should prefer organic vegetables too, in order to maximise the health benefits they give you. Also, canned or industrially processed vegetables (excluding frozen produce) are not the same as fresh ones and you should try to avoid them. For a healthy pregnancy diet, it should be your intention to have at least one serving of organic vegetables in every meal
Just like in effective fertility diets, healthy fats are a main part of any healthy pregnancy diet as well. Fats lower the glycemic index (GI) of meals, further supporting the slow sugar release concept we found in vegetables. Another great bonus with healthy fats is that they provide the raw materials for a healthy baby brain. This is because 60% of brain cells are made of fats and since your baby is making a brand new brain from scratch, it is the fats that mommy eats that will become the building blocks for the baby´s brain. Easy.
Examples of healthy fats are extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed coconut oil and real butter, preferably raw and from pastured animals. Don’t get confused by margarine and other easily spreadable “butters” – these poor imitations of butter are essentially trans fats, which research shows that can do real harm to mother and baby!
Eat at least one raw salads per day [preferably organic & make it colourful!]. It is important to eat some raw vegetables daily because they contain valuable digestive enzymes that improve your digestion and release a great deal of nutrients for you and your baby.
Salad ingredients may include raw vegetables, fruit (dried too but not covered in sugar or processed with syrup), nuts, edible flowers, herbs and of course awesome dressings made with raw apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice (please don’t buy the preserved bottled ones from the supermarket…), healthy oils (i.e. extra virgin olive oil), mustard, raw honey and beautiful spices. Just leave your imagination run wild and check out the following Pinterest board for more juicy ideas.
Small, Wild Fish
Eat small wild fish only when you are pregnant – two meals per week is great. Make sure you avoid big fish, such as tuna because they are inevitably contaminated with too much mercury, other heavy metals and of course industrial toxins from the oceans. On the other hand, small wild fish are full of healthy, essential fats with the lowest possible traces of the above contaminants you can find in marine animals. Do insist on wild, sustainably caught fish because studies show that farmed fish contain many times more toxies than wild animals, thanks to the low quality feed.
You will need emergency snacks; guaranteed. Whether you are on holidays (this is when I realized just how important they are) or are having a long day at work, make sure you keep something healthy near you. This will prevent you from eating junk when you are in the red hunger zone. A piece of fruit, a mix of nuts and seeds, natural (no sugar) yogurt, a small salad are all great ideas.
Few people understand the power of probiotics, when it comes to pregnancy. Keeping the friendly bugs in your tummy happy can reduce pregnancy complications, fight off vaginal infections (which in turn increase the risk for complications) and help you NOT to develop gestational diabetes. Besides we now know that the baby is supported by numerous bacterial communities from the mother´s body, all of which are related to the probiotics mummy eats before and during pregnancy.
Natural probiotic drinks, such as kefir and kombucha or foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi are excellent choices. Alternatively, you can take a good quality supplement.
These 8 tips form the core of my initial advice for all my clients. They really work and will make your life easier, while fully supporting your baby´s health.