Five Eating Essentials for Pregnancy
Your pregnant body will be at its most healthy when it has a good balance of essential nutrients readily available and we get our essential nutrients by eating a good variety of foods. The key principles of eating well to stay well during pregnancy include:
Eat whole foods rather than processed or packaged foods.Whole foods are more nutrient-dense and the body can absorb the nutrients more readily. At the supermarket, try to buy most of your ingredients from the outside aisles, as this is where the fresh, whole food is usually located.
Eat foods that are in season. This is important because foods in season will be fresher and have a higher concentration of essential nutrients. Foods that are out of season here in New Zealand and have had to be sourced from overseas are often picked before they are ripe and then shipped. This process can deprive them of important vitamins and minerals. If you need something that isn’t in season, opt for snap-frozen fruit and vegetables as they hold the most nutrients when preserved that way. And remember to wash everything before eating.
Eat a rainbow every day – when you’re grabbing for something think of the colour of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. A varied nutrient-dense proves the best results for health benefits. From eggplant to blueberries, citrus to stone fruit and vegetables up the ante when it comes to fresh, colourful food.
Eat while relaxed. Our body absorbs the goodness from our food best when we are relaxed while eating. Put aside some time to eat while you are sitting and able to relax while enjoying your meal. Eating on the run often causes us to gobble our food and can lead to poor food choices.
As you come out of the first trimester and morning sickness subsides, you may find you need to eat a bit more than usual as you are now eating for two, given your baby will need nutrients from you as they grow. However, the principles remain the same: what is good for mum is good for baby. If you’re feeling unmotivated to eat it is important to remain aware of what you are eating and to remember that your diet is what gives you and your baby the vitamins, minerals and amino acids required for a healthy and strong pregnancy and birth.
Eat and drink. You might want to keep an eye on your fluid intake as well, to be sure you are well hydrated during your pregnancy. Whether it’s with a smoothie or herbal tea, extend your options beyond water. That said, your body is working very hard to grow your baby and the best way you can support this amazing process is to stay aware of what you are eating, how rested and relaxed you are feeling and to make sure you are drinking plenty of water. The impact of caffeine is still controversial, but some studies show even quite small amounts can disrupt a pregnancy, so consider reducing your intake of tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks.
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