Eating a healthy, balanced diet is always important, but never more so than during pregnancy. When a woman is “eating for two,” it is essential to prepare healthy pregnancy meals that offer a rich array of vitamins and minerals to keep you nourished and energized.
Although taking the time to prepare a healthy meal is not as quick and easy as grabbing take out, the demands on your body now call for extra nutrition. Plus, your growing baby needs an ample supply of nutrients for its developing organs. The good news is, eating healthy can be quick and delicious, if you have a plan and shopping list handy. When it comes to meal planning, doctors suggest the following guidelines.
First off, it’s important to get at least 80g of protein each day to support your baby’s growth and development. Complex Carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are necessary too, for fiber and to keep your digestive track healthy. Remember, power packed whole foods give you the vitamins and minerals your child needs for bone development, prevention of birth defects, and prevention of anemia.
Healthy fats (DHA and EPA) are also very important when you are eating for two. These fats have numerous benefits:
- Support the development of your baby’s brain and eyes
- Reduce inflammation
- May prevent prenatal and post-partum depression
- Help prevent pre-term labor and pre-eclampsia
- Increase breast milk production,
- May help lower allergies in infants.
So what to eat each day? For breakfast, consider a smoothie made with almond milk for protein, and add handfuls of fresh or frozen berries, bananas, and a tablespoon of flax seed oil. Whole grain toast with peanut butter or a boiled egg makes a great mid morning snack to keep energy levels high.
For lunch, consider a turkey or chicken sandwich in a whole grain pita. The pita makes it easy to add colorful veggies: cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, and avocado are all great choices. Skip the mayo and use protein-rich hummus to add flavor and extra protein.
Dinner is a great time to indulge in lean meats and fish for protein, with whole grain rice for fiber and a colorful array of veggies in a fresh salad.
Following these guidelines and preparing healthy pregnancy meals will keep your energy levels high and support your goal of a health baby.