Making a few simple changes to what you eat during your pregnancy, can help both you and bub get off to a healthier start.
Using caffeine-based drinks such as coffee, tea and cola as little pick-me-ups.
A fruit smoothie with dairy or soy milk.
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.
Too busy for between-meal snacks.
Eating small meals every three to four hours.
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.
Eating sushi and deli sandwiches.
Making your own using safe ingredients and toasting sandwiches.
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.
Eating cake, chocolate or sweet biscuits for snacks.
Yoghurt, fruit, nuts or crackers and hummus.
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.
Toast for breakfast.
Wholegrain breakfast cereals that contain iron or two eggs on toast.
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.
Drinking a cup of juice.
Enjoying fresh fruit and sipping regularly on water.
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.
Eating white bread, crackers and rice.
Wholegrain, brown or wholemeal varieties.
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.
Forgetting your greens.
Throwing a quick salad together with your meals.
Veggies are packed with roughage for your bowels as well as being fresh, tasty sources of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants essential for fighting infections.
Planning your dinners in the morning to include at least three red meat and two to three fish meals a week.
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.
A nightly glass of wine with dinner.
Soda or mineral water with a dash of lemon or lime juice.
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.