Pregnancy-diet-2

Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy

Preconception care prepares your body for a successful, healthy pregnancy and is one of the most responsible choices you can make for you and your baby’s health. It helps eliminate harmful substances from your diet known to affect reproductive and general health and foetal development and should be considered by everyone looking to start a family.

“You need a healthy body to make a healthy baby,” explained naturopath and author, Lisa Guy. “It takes three months for female eggs to mature and four months for sperm to mature which is why it is so important to consider preconception care as early as possible, at least four months in advance, to increase your chances of a successful, healthy pregnancy.”

“Being healthy while trying to conceive is vital for both you and your baby. The preconception period is the time to make life changes for you and your partner that can help boost fertility, reduce problems during pregnancy and assist in recovery from birth,” added Lisa.

Here, Lisa outlines her essential tips for preconception care;

1. Examine your diet

At no other time in your life is your diet more important than before, during and straight after pregnancy. Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet is vital and will increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Try to include at least five portions of fruit or vegetables, protein, fish and some iron-rich food in your diet and make fast food and sweets an occasional treat.

2. Take essential supplements

Although nothing takes away from the significance of a healthy, well-balanced pre-pregnancy diet, nutritional supplementation is extremely important and is known to help prevent congenital defects and malformations often caused by nutritional deficiencies. Taking a supplement every day is a small change that will pay big rewards. When planning pregnancy, there are three essential vitamins and minerals your body needs:

  • Folic Acid: Essential for healthy foetal development and reducing the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, folic acid is crucial in pre-pregnancy. You should consider taking folic acid three months prior to conception. Each FABFOL tablet contains 500mcg of folic acid which is the recommended daily intake for the Australian diet.
  • Zinc: Zinc works to support and strengthen the immune system and is important for hormone balance and to boost fertility.
  • Omega 3: Increasing the intake of omega 3 fats helps support reproductive health.pregnancy

3. Kick unhealthy habits

Making some important lifestyle changes is a great way to prepare for pregnancy and will help ensure a healthy conception. Avoid anything that poses a health risk to you and your baby such as alcohol, cigarettes and some prescription medication.

4. Visit your GP

A trip to your GP for a preconception consult is also important when you begin thinking about starting a family. Your GP will provide you with expert advice on planning your pregnancy, discuss any health problems or concerns, lifestyle issues, diet and organise any essential pre-pregnancy immunisations.

FABFOL has all your nutritional needs covered pre, during and post pregnancy, so all you need to focus on is your growing baby and is available from pharmacies nationally. FABFOL 56 tablets RRP $24.95.

November 17, 2014

Pregnancy Cravings: What Do They Mean?

I craved guava when I was pregnant. I was lucky it was in season and I could actually get it, but it’s not a cheap fruit to buy by the box. I ended up spending a small fortune trying to satisfy my pregnancy craving. At least it was a healthy one. Other pregnant ladies may not be so lucky, wanting ice-cream, chocolate and even non-food substances and having to control themselves. So where do pregnancy cravings come from and what do they mean?

Researchers have come up with a variety of answers to this question and have presented convincing evidence for their theories, so pregnancy cravings most likely occur as a result of several different factors.

RELATED: Nutrients And Vitamins Important During Pregnancy

Nutrient deficiency

It’s logical to expect that our body will use cravings to point us towards foods containing nutrients we lack. If you crave fruit, you probably need more vitamin C. Cravings for salty foods (pickles, anyone?) can be a result of increased blood volume and therefore, increased need for sodium. Craving sweets may be due to increased energy needs.

the not-so-normal behaviour pica (eating of non-food substances) can be an indication that you’re lacking important nutrients. Research has found a link between pica and iron deficiency

Emotional needs

During pregnancy many of us experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. Heightened stress and anxiety may contribute to cravings of comfort foods like sweets and snacks. A study K. Hurley (2005) also reported a link between stress and meat aversion. I found this to be in line with my own experience. I was very stressed out during my third pregnancy. Muffins were in and meat was totally off the menu.

Hormones

Your hormone balance changes during pregnancy and there’s evidence to suggest that hormones are responsible for changes in our appetites. They are also thought to affect our taste buds, but researchers haven’t been able to link particular hormones to any specific food cravings.

Should you give in to your pregnancy cravings? It depends on what you’re craving. Not much harm can come from eating too many guavas, but it’s not a great idea to snack on sweets all day. Try figuring out what it is about the food you’re craving that you really want and satisfy your body’s needs in the healthiest possible way.

Image by EvolvingScenes via pixabay.com

October 19, 2014

5 Pregnancy Diet Myths Dispelled

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably already experienced an avalanche of advice coming your way from all directions. Everyone will tell you what a pregnant woman should and shouldn’t eat with opinions raging from reasonable to outright bizarre. Here are some of the most common myths about pregnancy diet that I’ve come across.

1. You need to eat for two

We’ve all heard it and some of us (myself included) have used it as an excuse to supersize our meals, but there’s very little truth in it. Your needs in terms of calories do not change until the second trimester and even then you only need about 300 extra calories a day. Far more important than increasing the amount you eat is making sure that you have a well-balanced diet that provides all the nutrients you and your baby need.

RELATED: Nutrients And Vitamins Important During Pregnancy

2. All fish is bad for you during pregnancy

You do need to be careful how much and what kind of fish you eat during pregnancy, because of potentially high mercury levels that can harm your baby. However, it’s not advisable to avoid fish altogether. Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your baby’s brain development.

3. You shouldn’t eat tree nuts and peanuts or your baby will be allergic to them

I heard this more times that I could count when I was pregnant and reaching for nuts. I’m pleased to report that, in spite of my love for nuts, none of my three children is allergic to them. Current research confirms that eating nuts while pregnant doesn’t increase your baby’s risk of food allergies. In fact, nuts can be a good source of protein, fibre, iron, calcium and folate, which makes them a great healthy snack during pregnancy.

4. If you eat a bit less, your baby will take some of your fat

Your baby needs protein to grow and fat can’t be turned into protein. If you don’t eat enough, your body will be breaking down your muscle tissue, not using up your fat. I can certainly testify to that – I ate very little (not because I was dieting, but because I had ‘morning’ sickness almost the whole time) and while I returned to my pre-pregnancy weight just a few days after the birth, I also felt weak, tired and unfit for months.

5. You need to eat red meat

You need extra iron and protein while you’re pregnant, but it doesn’t have to come from meat. Good sources of protein include nuts, seeds and legumes. Iron can be found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes, such as soy beans and chickpeas. A healthy vegetarian diet while pregnant is possible and there’s no reason to start eating meat if you don’t want to.

Image by bohed via pixabay.com

October 8, 2014

7 Tips For Eating Out While Pregnant

Finding food you enjoy during pregnancy can be tricky. This is the time when you need to be most careful about what you eat, yet, it’s also the time when you feel least inclined to spend time in the kitchen preparing meals and cleaning up. Eating out seems like the perfect solution, but it also means you’re giving away some control over your diet, which can be scary. So how do you do it right?

RELATED: Healthy Pregnancy Diet

1. Pick cafes and restaurants with good hygiene standards. Don’t be afraid to walk out if you notice improper food handling or questionable cleanliness.

2. Choose freshly prepared food over takeaways that have been pre-made to reduce the risk of foodborne bacteria.

3. Give preference to hot meals, especially if they include meat or fish. This way you’ll avoid Listeria contaminated foods – the bacteria dies when subjected to high temperatures. Make sure your food is hot and don’t hesitate to return it if it’s lukewarm,

4. Communicate your food requirements. It’s ok to be fussy and ask for your meals to be modified to suit your needs.

5. Go healthy and choose salads, soups and grilled veggies, meat or fish over deep fried options.

6. Avoid foods that are on the pregnancy do-not-eat list like raw fish, seafood or meat, raw or partially cooked eggs, soft cheeses. If you’re uncertain what is in your meal, be sure to ask before you order.

7. Don’t drink alcohol. Current drinking guidelines are to avoid alcohol altogether during pregnancy. Even a small amount of alcohol can have significant negative effect on your baby.

Finally, here’s a bonus tip – now is the time to play your pregnancy card. Follow your cravings and choose where and what you want to eat. Your partner and friends will willingly oblige. It won’t be long before you lose your special privileges, so make the most of them.

Image by Hans via pixabay.com

September 27, 2014

Seafood During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

One of the first thoughts that came into my head when I found out I was pregnant was, ‘Oh, no, no sushi!’ Then for a moment I considered pretending that I hadn’t done the pregnancy test yet and going out for one last sushi feast before I embraced the blandness of the next 8 months or so. Of course, it was just a thought. Once you’ve seen the lines on that stick, it can’t be undone and if you’re seafood lover, it means that you’ll need to make some adjustments to your diet.

Raw fish and seafood are now off the menu. They can carry the listeria bacteria which can be very harmful for the baby. Smoked salmon and other ready-to-eat cold fish are also considered high risk for listeria.

The bacteria and viruses are killed by cooking, so if you choose to have shellfish and fish, only do it as part of a cooked meal. Eat your meal hot, not lukewarm! Another concern when it comes to fish is its high mercury content, which may harm an unborn baby’s developing nervous system. Fish with high mercury levels include Shark (Flake), Swordfish, Broadbill or Marlin. You can only have one serve (150g) of those fish per fortnight and no other fish that week.

Orange Roughy (Sea Perch) and Catfish also have relatively high mercury levels and you should have no more than one serve per week (and no other fish that week).  Fish with lower mercury levels that you can enjoy more regularly (2-3 times a week) are Snapper, Salmon, Trout, Whiting, Mullet, Garfish and Bream.

Don’t give up seafood altogether for fear of getting it wrong. Fish is rich in protein and minerals, and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the baby’s developing brain.
You can return to your normal diet as soon as you’ve given birth. In fact, guess what the first meal was that I asked my husband to bring for me to celebrate the birth. Sushi!

Image by sharonang via pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

September 22, 2014

5 Nutritious Foods To Eat Whilst Pregnant

When you’re eating for two the responsibility of putting the right foods in your mouth becomes so much heavier because it’s not just your own health you need to worry about, but your unborn baby’s as well.  So to ensure you’re giving yourself and your bub the best nutrients during pregnancy consider stocking up on the following foods that not only benefit baby, but you as well.

Salmon

Whilst every type of fish contains some amount of mercury, Salmon is one type of fish that has very low levels so it’s safe to eat whilst pregnant.  Experts do recommend that you limit yourself to no more than two 6 ounce servings per week, just to be safe.  Salmon is commonly known for being a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids which help with neurological and visual development in your unborn baby as well as contributing to your brain function and reducing the rick of heart disease.

Beans

Whether you eat black beans, lentils, pinto beans or chickpeas, the result is the same – you’re stocking up on protein and essential fibre which is important during pregnancy.  Protein is essential for the growth of your baby whilst the fibre can help alleviate constipation that can be very common during pregnancy.  Not only that, but beans are a great source of folate – an essential nutrient during the very early stages of pregnancy which can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your unborn baby.

Eggs

Eggs contain more than 12 vitamins and minerals as well as protein which are vital for the growth of your baby and if you purchase omega-3 enriched eggs then they are even more beneficial.  The fatty acids in these eggs are essential for brain development and eye formation in the foetus.  Ensure you cook your eggs thoroughly to avoid any chance of contracting salmonella which can be extremely harmful for your baby and remember to avoid foods that contain raw egg such as some homemade mayonnaise, mousse and some salad dressings.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach are great to eat during pregnancy because of the number of vitamins and nutrients found within.  The beta carotene is vital for your baby’s eye, skin, bone and cell growth whilst the magnesium helps to regulate your blood sugar levels, helps to control cholesterol and may prevent poor foetal growth and preeclampsia.  They’re also a great source of folate which can help to reduce the risk of neural tube defects early on in the pregnancy.

Greek yoghurt

Compared to regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt typically has twice the amount of protein so eat more of it in the third trimester, when your baby is growing the most rapidly.  The protein will help with brain development and blood production.  Greek yoghurt is also a good source of calcium which is extremely important during pregnancy, helping with strong bones in you and your baby.  If you don’t consume enough calcium your baby will take your limited supply, depleting the calcium in your bones.

Image via cdn.running.competitor.com

September 3, 2014

11 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Good nutrition is crucial during pregnancy, particularly in your first trimester, and because learning the foods to avoid during pregnancy can be quite overwhelming, we’ve put together some tips that will help to keep you and your baby on a healthy path.

1. Avoid all types of pâté. This is one of the main foods to avoid during pregnancy, since it can contain the bacteria Listeria. It’s unlikely for listeriosis to seriously affect your health, but the infection can have grave consequences for your developing baby.

2. Steer clear of some cheeses. Mould-ripened soft cheeses, including brie and camembert, should be avoided as they too can contain the bacteria Listeria. Likewise, steer clear of soft blue-veined cheeses like gorgonzola and roquefort.

3. Avoid unpasteurised milk. Raw milk and any by-product from this milk should not be consumed when pregnant, as it can contain bacteria.

4. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs as they can carry harmful organisms, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, which can lead to gastrointestinal infection in pregnant women. Infection can be passed through the placenta to the baby. This can be life threatening for your baby, so as a precaution it’s best to avoid eggs in their raw form, including in sauces, batter and egg nog. Cooked egg, however, is healthy for both you and your baby, providing several key nutrients in the form of protein, fats, minerals (such as zinc and selenium) and vitamins A, D and some B.

5. Consumption of certain types of fish should be monitored or avoided. It’s best to avoid shark and swordfish completely as they contain high levels of mercury, which can affect your baby’s neural development. Fresh tuna also contains relatively high levels of mercury, so it’s best to limit your intake. Some fish can contain low levels of pollutants that accumulate in their bodies over time, so pregnant women should have no more than two portions of them per week. These include oily fish, such as salmon; fresh tuna; mackerel; sardines; trout; some white fish, such as sea bass, sea bream, turbot, halibut and rock salmon; and brown crab meat. Do not avoid fish completely, as the vitamin D found in some fish, including salmon and mackerel, is important for the development of your baby’s bones.

6. Steer clear of undercooked meat. All meat should be cooked thoroughly, as raw meat can cause taxoplasmosis.

7. Wash your food thoroughly. Unwashed fruits, vegetables and salad can also contain the parasite toxoplasma, which can cause a range of complications with your baby.

8. Limit your consumption of liver. An excessive build-up of vitamin A can be harmful to your baby. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin A include liver and fish liver oils.

9. Avoid alcohol. Studies have shown that alcohol consumption in pregnancy could cause damage to the unborn child.

10. Limit your caffeine intake. Too much caffeine can cause a low birth rate or miscarriage – 200mg per day is widely considered as safe.

11. Limit your intake of food with added sugar. If you have gestational diabetes, it is particularly important to avoid foods and drinks that are high in added sugars, as these can upset your blood glucose control. It’s not healthy for people without diabetes, either. The best place to get these simple carbohydrates is from fruits and milk, while complex carbohydrates that are good for you include bread, rice, pasta and potatoes.

April 21, 2014

Healthy Foods To Snack On During Pregnancy

Nourish yourself and your growing baby with these hunger-crushing, pregnancy diet-approved snacks that are both delicious and healthy.

Sliced vegetables and Greek yoghurt dip
Keep a container of chopped vegetables ready in your refrigerator for whenever you need a snack with some crunch. Pair your crudités with plain Greek yoghurt seasoned with spices, like cumin or simple salt and pepper, stirred in to add much-needed protein and calcium.

Trail mix
Trail mix is an ideal snack to have when you are on the go. Slightly sweet and very filling, keep a ziplock bag in your purse or desk drawer. Choose a trail mix that is low in added sugars and full of natural ingredients. Better yet, make your own by lightly toasting some oats, adding in your favorite nuts, and finishing with some dried fruit. The carbs in this snack will give you an energy boost for the remainder of your afternoon and the protein in the nuts will keep you feeling full longer. The healthy fats in nuts like walnuts and almonds are great for baby’s brain (and yours as well!).

Half-sandwiches
You don’t have to save sandwiches just for lunch. Make yourself a healthy half-sandwich to get you from breakfast to lunch. The combination of carbohydrates, veggies and protein makes for a healthy snack that beats a greasy bag of chips or sugary candy bar any day.

Apple and nut butter
It’s hard to beat the classic combination of apples and peanut butter, but surprise your taste buds and load on the omega-3s with almond butter or cashew butter. The sweetness of the apple combined with the creaminess of the nut butter can help your late-night sweet-salty cravings.

Sweet potato fries
We always need antioxidants and vitamins, but never quite as much as when we are expecting a new little one. You are your baby’s sole source of nutrition while you’re carrying them inside you, so be sure to look for vitamin-packed, antioxidant rich foods like sweet potatoes. Make them snack friendly by cutting them into small wedges. Toss with olive oil and the seasonings of your choice. Roast until crispy.

Avocado and red pepper
This snack is a nutritional powerhouse. Omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamins and fibre – this one packs in a multitude of nutritional benefits for moms-to-be. Plus, it’s delicious and easy to throw together when hunger strikes.

April 12, 2014

Pregnancy Diet Meal Planner

When you’re pregnant, it can be difficult to follow a healthy eating plan. The cravings can be quite intense and you can easily find yourself giving in to temptation. Plus, it’s hard to keep track of which foods you need to avoid.

Most medical experts recommend that pregnant women add about 300 to 400 calories to their normal daily intake. These pregnancy diet meal plans take the guesswork out of eating healthy while pregnant, and can help you plan delicious breakfasts, lunch, dinners and snacks while consuming the right amount of calories and essential nutrients for your baby.

Pregnancy meal plan #1
This meal plan will provide you with about 2200 calories per day. It also allows you the freedom of choosing from a variety of snacks and meals during the week. This level of variety will prevent you from feeling bored or deprived. It is recommended that women who are underweight should eat about 2400 calories per day, while overweight women should stick to around 2000 calories and cut down to only one snack per day. Here is a sample day on this meal plan:

Breakfast: Porridge with walnuts, cinnamon and an apple. This meal is great because it gives you plenty of complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre and calcium. You also get about 1.5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for fetal brain development.

Lunch: Pita pocket with eggs, vegetables and hummus. This meal is packed with fibre, protein, calcium and folate. It also contains healthy fats that will satisfy your appetite. You can also include a cup of grapes with this meal as an added treat.

Dinner: Stuffed butternut pumpkin with wild rice, beans and mushrooms. This meal will provide you with a plethora of nutrients that you and your growing baby need. It also provides more than 16 grams of fibre and plenty of iron, vitamin C and folate.

Snacks: On this diet, you can treat yourself to snacks like whole-grain crackers topped with light cheese and dried fruit like cranberries or apricots. You could also choose to snack on air-popped popcorn or a fruit smoothie.

Pregnancy Meal Plan #2
This pregnancy diet meal plan takes into account which trimester you are in. The meals are designed to provide your baby with the nutrients he or she needs the most for optimal development in each trimester. For example, meals for the first trimester will include foods that are high in folate and vitamin B6. Second trimester meals will focus more on increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake, as well as omega-3 fatty acids for fetal brain development. Third trimester meals are designed to give you extra energy and prepare you for childbirth and breastfeeding.

Here is an example of a first trimester meal plan:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs served on top of a toasted bagel, plus a serving of yogurt. It contains lots of B-vitamins and protein that will help you to avoid nausea.

Lunch: Roasted chicken with broccoli, potatoes and carrots. Along with a pear and apple crumble, this nutritious meal is quite filling.

Dinner: Beef and black bean casserole. The beans in this dish provide you with lots of folate, fibre and iron. The beef contains plenty of protein and fat to make you feel full.

Snacks: You can choose to snack on dried apricots, nuts and seeds on this meal plan.

What were your favourite things to eat when you were pregnant? Tell us in the comments!

February 5, 2014

Your Best Pregnancy Diet

When you are expecting, it’s important to establish a healthy pregnancy diet so you and your baby receive the best nutrition. Remember, everything you consume is also consumed by your baby.

The more you know about prenatal food choices, the easier it is to maintain a healthy pregnancy diet. Incorporating a better diet and understanding nutrition more in-depth allows you to take complete control of your body and baby’s development throughout your pregnancy. Follow these guidelines to ensure you’re eating the right foods.

Your daily diet
Make sure you are enjoying at least three servings of dairy products each day to support your baby’s bone structure and keep your strong throughout your pregnancy. Eat at least three servings of food with a high iron content, allowing you to reach 27mg of iron each day. Foods high in iron include beef, lamb, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach and berries.

It is also important to get at least 70mg of vitamin C each day. Skip the bottled OJ which is high in sugar and opt for a glass of freshly-squeeze juice, and top it up by eating papaya, broccoli, grapefruit and strawberries. Get your daily dose of vitamin A by eating pumpkin, carrots, turnip greens and apricots.

Folic acid is essential for baby’s development, helping to deter against any potential neural tube defects. Load up on leafy green vegetables, chickpeas, black beans and humanely-raised veal.

Foods to avoid
Throughout your pregnancy, there are a few foods you should stay away from to avoid potential health risks to your immune system or to your baby. Do not eat raw fish, soft cheeses and deli meats during your pregnancy, as this can lead to bacterial infections. It is also highly advisable to stay away from seafood during pregnancy to avoid a high mercury level in your blood as well as food poisoning.

Also limit your caffeine intake, as it increases your blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to dehydration. Remember that caffeine is found not just in your morning latte, but tea, soft drinks and chocolate.

Vitamins
Eating a variety of foods throughout your pregnancy is highly recommended, but may still not be enough to give you all the vitamins and minerals you need. Speak to your doctor about any multivitamins and prenatal vitamins that you may be lacking.

Increasing your weight
If you are a healthy weight during your first trimester of pregnancy, it is not always necessary to eat more to increase your caloric intake, unless you are underweight. Your doctor will be able to tell you how many calories you should be eating to get to a healthy pregnancy weight.

During your second trimester, it is important to increase your overall caloric intake by about an extra 300 calories to help with gaining weight and providing enough nutrients for your baby.

By the third trimester, increasing your caloric intake by an extra 450 calories is quite common as the baby reaches its final stages of development before birth.

Make sure you discuss your pregnancy diet with your doctor.

What foods did you love (and love less) during your pregnancy? Share them in the comments!

January 31, 2014

6 Tips on What to Eat When Pregnant

Choosing to eat nutritious foods during pregnancy is important to your welfare and that of your baby, so we’ve put together 6 easy-to-follow recommendations to help you on your way.

The ideal diet for keeping you and your baby healthy changes over the course of pregnancy, but sticking to these recommendations is a simple way to ensure you’re keeping a healthy pregnancy diet and cutting out those harmful foods.

1. Increase your intake of certain minerals and vitamins

These include folic acid and vitamin D, as these are necessary for the development of the foetus and your health.

This is particularly important in your first trimester, which is the most critical time in your pregnancy.

You need vitamin D to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, which help build your baby’s bones and teeth. A deficiency of the vitamin during pregnancy can cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities.

Good pregnancy foods that are high in vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, canned tuna fish in oil, and products fortified with vitamin D.

Folic acid is a man-made form of folate, a B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. It’s unlikely that you’ll get enough folate to protect your baby just from the food you eat, which is why folic acid supplements are recommended.

However, folate-rich foods that can also help you to achieve a healthy pregnancy include whole grain bread, beans, pulses, and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

2. Keep your consumption of vitamin A down

An excessive build-up of vitamin A can be harmful to your baby. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin A include liver and fish liver oils.

3. Your consumption of certain types of fish should be monitored or avoided.

When it comes to fish, it’s difficult to know what to eat when pregnant.

It’s best to avoid shark, swordfish and marlin completely as they can contain high levels of mercury, which can affect your baby’s neural development. Fresh tuna can also contain high levels of mercury, but rather than cutting tuna out of your diet completely, limit yourself to two tinned tuna steaks per week.

The following fish can contain low levels of pollutants that accumulate in their bodies over time, so you should have no more than two portions of them per week: oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines, and  trout; some white fish, such as sea bass, sea bream, turbot, halibut, and rock salmon; and brown crab meat.

4. Avoid soft unpasteurised rind cheeses and pâté

These can contain the bacteria listeria. It’s unlikely for listeriosis to seriously affect your health, but the infection can have grave consequences for your developing baby.

5. Abstain from alcohol

Studies have shown that alcohol consumption in pregnancy could cause damage to the unborn child.

In addition to considering what to eat when pregnant, it’s important to be wary of what you consume after having had your baby. Even after giving birth, when breast feeding, it’s best to limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as small amounts of what you consume can be present in your breast milk and may be passed to your baby.

 6. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs

They can carry harmful organisms, such as E.Coli and Salmonella, which can lead to gastrointestinal infection in pregnant women. Infection can be passed through the placenta to the baby.

This can be life threatening for your baby, so as a precaution it’s best to avoid eggs in their raw form, including in sauces, batter and egg nog.

Well cooked eggs, however, can be safely eaten, but make sure you check the best before date and keep them well refrigerated.

Eggs impart several key nutrients in the form of protein, fats, minerals (such as zinc and selenium) and vitamins A, D and some B, which make them a healthy food during pregnancy.

What are your best nutrition tips for what to eat when pregnant?

September 4, 2013

The Pregnancy Diet: What to Eat When You’re Expecting

Your eating habits will change a lot while that little baby is growing inside you; the idea that you will have to “eat for two” is more of a saying than an actual rule. Instead of eating more you should focus on eating healthily and getting enough vitamins and minerals both for you and the baby.

If you are starting from an already healthy weight then you won’t have to increase you calorie intake within the first trimester. In the second trimester, though, you should aim for about 300 extra calories per day and 450 extra calories in the third trimester.

What does a healthy pregnancy diet entail?

When it comes to pregnancy eating, try to eat a variety of foods in order to get all those nutrients; medical practitioners will recommend that you get 6 to 11 servings of breads and grains, 2 to 4 servings of fruit, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein, daily. Let’s expand a bit on this:

* Four servings of dairy products will give you the necessary 1000 to 1300 mg of calcium that your body needs
* Three servings of food that is rich in iron will get you that those 27 mg of iron that you need; these foods include lean beef, turkey, broccoli, sweet potato, berries, spinach, pumpkin
* 70 mg of Vitamin C is required daily; this is found in oranges, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, grapefruit
* A minimum of 0.4 mg of folic acid will deter against neural tube defects; this is found in veal, legumes (lima beans, black beans, chickpeas), leafy dark vegetables
* Daily intake of Vitamin A is also important; for this you can eat carrots, pumpkins, turnip greens, apricots, cantaloupes, sweet potato

You will also have to avoid certain things, such as:

* Alcohol – it is impossible to say what a “healthy” amount is to drink, so rather avoid the risk and stay away from it altogether
* Caffeine – you should have no more than 300 mg per day (a regular cup of coffee contains about 150 mg, and black tea contains about 80 mg)
* Seafood with high levels of mercury – shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish (AKA white snapper)
* Raw fish – especially shellfish (oysters and clams)
* Soft cheeses – brie, camembert, feta and blue-veined cheese are often unpasteurised and can therefore cause Listeria infection

Of course, pregnancy is synonymous with morning sickness and nausea, so if you are finding it hard to stomach anything at all, try some cereal or crackers just before you get out of bed in the mornings. Also avoid greasy fried foods, and try to have small but frequent meals or snacks throughout the day.

What was your favourite foods to eat when pregnant?

August 22, 2013

Don’t Eat That! 3 Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

Being pregnant is an exciting time, but also a period of your life when you have to consider things you may not have before, like whether you should modify your diet for the health of your baby. Whether you’re normally a health food nut or a junk food junkie, there are some foods that you shouldn’t eat as long as you’re expecting.

Junk food
They call processed fast foods “junk” for a reason. Those burgers, fries and snack foods are full of fat, sodium, sugar and preservatives, none of which are good for your growing baby. Plus, this type of bad food lacks important nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber, meaning it rates high among the foods to avoid when pregnant.

While it won’t hurt to treat yourself to a bag of chips or dish of ice cream occasionally, you’ll be doing much better for your little one if you make healthy, nutritious foods the major part of your diet. In addition, you’ll have less excess baby weight to lose after delivery!

Soft cheeses and luncheon meats
One thing you really want to avoid during pregnancy is being exposed to listeria bacteria, since these nasty microbes can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery. The bacteria can be found in uncooked meats and unprocessed cheeses as well as soil or water. For this reason, pregnant women should forgo soft cheeses like brie, camembert or feta as well as raw milk.

Meats and fish to avoid for the duration include patés, smoked seafood and sushi. Hot dogs and luncheon meats should be thoroughly heated before eating. Since listeria can also grow in raw vegetables, these should be washed thoroughly before preparation.

Fish with high levels of mercury
While fish is generally a healthy food for you and the baby, not all of our finny friends are created equal. Some can harbour dangerously high levels of mercury ad should be avoided. These include ahi tuna, king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish.

Instead, substitute one of the fish least likely to have high mercury levels, like anchovies, crab, flounder, haddock, salmon, sole or tilapia. Eat a “safe” fish a couple of times a week to get your quota of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you and the baby. Canned tuna can be consumed in moderation, up to three times per month.

Lose these, too
Caffeine is not healthy for the baby so you should restrict yourself to one small cup of coffee or tea per day. Alcohol should also be avoided during pregnancy, even in the third trimester.

Don’t dwell on the food to avoid during pregnancy—enjoy all the tasty, nutritious meals that will be good for both of you!

July 29, 2013