Making a few simple changes to what you eat during your pregnancy, can help both you and bub get off to a healthier start.

Your Old Habit
Using caffeine-based drinks such as coffee, tea and cola as little pick-me-ups.
Switch To
A fruit smoothie with dairy or soy milk.

Why switch?
Having small amounts of caffeine during pregnancy isn’t dangerous, but drinking large amounts may make it more difficult to become pregnant and may increase the risk of miscarriage or having a baby with low birth weight. Swapping to decaf or, better still, a smoothie high in calcium and protein will give you the afternoon energy boost and essential calcium needed for bub’s growing bones.

Your Old Habit
Too busy for between-meal snacks.
Switch To
Eating small meals every three to four hours.

Why switch?
As your baby gets bigger, your stomach capacity shrinks. Eating small,frequent meals can help reduce heartburn, regulates your blood sugar levels and can even help with morning sickness.

Your Old Habit
Eating sushi and deli sandwiches.
Switch To
Making your own using safe ingredients and toasting sandwiches.

Why switch?
Raw fish, deli meats, soft cheeses and self-serve salad bars are just a few of the no-goes during pregnancy. These foods may contain higher than normal levels of listeria bacteria. Heat kills listeria, so make sure your sandwich is piping hot make your own using safe ingredients such as tasty cheese, avocado, canned tuna or hard-boiled egg.

Your Old Habit
Eating cake, chocolate or sweet            biscuits for snacks.
Switch To
Yoghurt, fruit, nuts or crackers and hummus.

Why switch?
Make every bite count during pregnancy – it’s a time when you need to maximise your nutritional state! Cakes and sweet treats are full of empty kilojoules and can contribute to unnecessary weight gain.

Your Old Habit
Toast for breakfast.
Switch To
Wholegrain breakfast cereals that contain iron or two eggs on toast.

Why switch?
Toast lacks protein, which is important for maintaining your muscle mass and providing the building blocks for your growing bub. It’s equally important to get plenty of iron from early on in your pregnancy, as bub tends to sap your stores in the third trimester.

Your Old Habit
Drinking a cup of juice.
Switch To
Enjoying fresh fruit and sipping regularly on water.

Why switch?
Juice has the same amount of kilojoules as a glass of soft drink! This adds unnecessary sugar to the diet without providing the fibre and vitamins that come from fresh fruit. Fruits with the skin on also provide slow-release energy and make you feel fuller for longer.

Your Old Habit
Eating white bread, crackers and rice.
Switch To
Wholegrain, brown or wholemeal varieties.

Why switch?
White flour and refined grains have lost most of their health benefits – like when you peel the skin off an apple. Wholegrain bread and crackers, and brown rice, are higher in fibre, essential for moving those sluggish bowels during pregnancy.

Your Old Habit
Forgetting your greens.
Switch To
Throwing a quick salad together with your meals.

Why switch?
Veggies are packed with roughage for your bowels as well as being fresh, tasty sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants essential for fighting infections.

Your Old Habit
Takeaway dinners.
Switch To
Planning your dinners in the morning to include at least three red meat and two to three fish meals a week.

Why switch?
Convenience foods are fine on the odd occasion, but are usually low in good-quality proteins while also being high in fat. Planning dinners can ensure you include the right amounts of fish and meat, and eat meals high in omega-3 fats, protein, iron and zinc.

Your Old Habit
A nightly glass of wine with dinner.
Switch To
Soda or mineral water with a dash of lemon or lime juice.

Why switch?
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends that you don’t drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can affect your unborn baby by damaging the development of his brain and slowing down his growth.

Source: Adapted from an article in the November 2010 issue of Practical Parenting.