"Eating for Two" is Not a Good Idea
By Linda Gouk

CONGRATULATIONS, you’re pregnant! A healthy pregnancy begins even before conception. A woman’s diet during the few months before she conceives can be as important for your baby’s well-being as what you eat during pregnancy.

The old wives tale of “eating for two” is not a good idea. Your energy requirement throughout your pregnancy only increases by 300 calories (1200 kilojoules); that’s equivalent to having 1 cup of low fat cereal with 1 cup of skim milk and 1 small banana. Some experts even recommend that this increased energy requirement is not necessary in late pregnancy owing to the decrease in physical activity. If you are concerned about the dreaded post-pregnancy pudge, just follow these simple guidelines for a healthy baby and a happy you:

It’s not just the total calories that you eat but also the quality. Although a 50g Cadbury chocolate bar may contain 300 calories, you and your baby will be better off eating foods that are nutritious instead of indulging in empty calorie foods. A chicken or turkey breast sandwich on multigrain bread is an excellent choice. Avoid foods high in fats and refined sugars.

Protein is an important nutrient for your baby’s growing needs. Eat high protein foods at least twice a day. Some excellent choices include skim milk, low fat yoghurt, eggs (limit to only 1 yolk per day), turkey and chicken breast, lean red meat, tofu, Temper, low fat cottage cheese, fish, lentils and legumes.

As nutritional insurance, take a prenatal multivitamin and mineral supplement each day. Your need for most vitamins and minerals increase when pregnant.

Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of your diet. Choose different colours for all the different phytochemicals; dark green (broccoli and spinach), orange (carrots, peaches, squash, sweet potato) and red (tomatoes, red capsicum).

Grazing throughout the day is highly recommended. Choose low fat snacks instead of cookies and chips. Whole-grain crackers with a low fat dip, low fat yoghurt, fruit or a glass of skim milk are great snack options.

Avoid caffeine-based drinks such as coffee and soft drinks. Drink water, skim milk or green tea instead.

Your goal during your pregnancy is not to lose weight. Embarking on a weight loss program is just too dangerous for your developing baby. Even women who begin pregnancy overweight should still gain around 6-7 kilos to support their growing babies. Beat your post baby weight after your baby is born.

If you suffer from morning sickness and cravings, there is some good news. Vitamin B6 and magnesium are helpful for the nausea of pregnancy. Consult your doctor first.

Ginger root has a long history of helping with nausea of all sorts. You can get it in any good health store. Again, talk to your doctor before you start any form of supplementation.

Last but not least, have a realistic, healthy physical and mental approach to post-pregnancy weight loss. You may end up feeling depressed and discouraged if you set impossibly unrealistic weight loss standards. If you eat well, get in a reasonable amount of physical activity and remain positive, there will be less weight to work off after you deliver your bundle of joy.

copyright Linda Gouk 2003
Article used by permission from http://www.ezine-writer.com.au/

Linda Gouk is a BSc (Dietetics & Nutrition) Hons, Registered Fitness Leader.




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