Being pregnant is an exciting and exhausting time, you start to have cravings for certain foods so how do you know what to eat during pregnancy that is good for you and baby? I have a list of foods that are healthy and satisfying for those cravings, how much you should be eating and what to avoid.
The first part of pregnancy is hard because of morning sickness and being tired all the time so worrying about what you should be eating shouldn’t be one of those things added to your list. It’s very simple actually so don’t overthink it.
Try to enjoy each stage of pregnancy even with the not so wonderful things that occur to your body, this is a beautiful time you are growing a tiny human inside and it’s such a miracle!!
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For more information on pregnancy, you may like this article: Pregnancy Tips for First Time Mom’s
Knowing What To Eat During Pregnancy
When you are pregnant your body needs more folic acid, calcium, protein, and iron. These vitamins all help in the growth of the fetus to prevent birth defects, provide healthy bone structure, increase oxygen going to the baby and help build important organs in your baby such as heart and brain.
In order to eat what you need to during pregnancy follow the main food groups dairy, lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Try to avoid all the junk food and things that you may feel like eating a ton of but should be snacking on carrots and other things instead. It does take a little will power to do so and you don’t have to completely lay off junk food just limit the amount of it.
Just because you are eating for two doesn’t mean you can eat anything you want in any amount! In the first 3 months, your body only needs to gain about 4 lb so you don’t need to change your calorie intake, it’s the same as it was before you got pregnant.
That is how some women end up gaining so much baby weight and have problems losing it after. You can also lose weight after being pregnant by eating less than you used to if you had a poor diet and only eating what you need for you and baby.
In the second trimester you need 2,200 calories in your diet and in the third trimester you need 2,400 calories.
Along with your prenatal vitamin, you need to be eating these foods for proper growth source
Folic acid is very important because of the B vitamins that help prevent birth defects in your baby.
Foods that contain folic acid are listed here:
Leafy green vegetables
Cereals that are fortified with
Calcium-rich foods help with forming your baby’s bones and teeth and are taken from you when you are pregnant to be used for your baby so it is very important to replenish the calcium for your own body to use and replenish what is taken.
An important note about calcium is that this is the only time in your life that your body will absorb calcium easily (this is what my dietitian informed me of when I had to go in for help with gestational diabetes), take advantage of this and get as much as you can to help support your bone health later on.
Foods that contain calcium are:
Foods that are rich with protein help with the development of your baby’s organs and are very important for growth especially the brain and heart so eat your lean meats.
Foods that contain protein:
Iron is also an important vitamin for you as well as your baby without enough you may become anemic and feel weak and tired all the time and also for your body to make more blood to supply the baby with oxygen. Vitamin C is also needed in the absorption of iron so drink your OJ with your iron-rich cereal and even throughout the day if you wish!
Food that contains iron:
Cereal fortified with Iron
Peas and beans
As you can see a lot of these foods contain the vitamins that you need so it’s not that complicated when you decide what to eat.
Make sure you choose food from each category at mealtime and balance it out.
Breakfast: Have eggs and whole-grain toast with a bowl of cereal and orange juice for breakfast that way you get your Iron, vitamin C, folic acid and protein.
Snack: For a snack have some milk and yogurt with a protein bar or breakfast essentials drink (I drank these for breakfast with a little whole grain snack, I couldn’t eat with morning sickness so this helped).
What Not To Eat
Now that we have covered what to eat during pregnancy lets go over the foods you need to avoid. There aren’t too many foods to avoid just a couple that you need to limit or stay away from which your doctor has probably already covered with you but to recap here goes.
you can eat it once a week but I wouldn’t eat it any more than that due to the high content of mercury in it which is very harmful to your baby’s brain, kidneys, and nervous system.
eating foods that are unpasteurized give you a higher chance of getting food poisoning to make it simple. These foods could contain Listeria which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and preterm labor. Toxoplasma which is a parasite ( also the same parasite found in cat litter which is why you need to steer clear of this as well) neither sound good so I am certain you will stay away from these!
Milk that is unpasteurized
Brie, feta, and a few others but it will say on the packaging
Hot dogs and lunch meat
These can be heated up until they are hot so it kills the bacteria (I never avoided them because I love lunch meat and hot dogs are a go to quick meal on busy nights).
These have the potential to get you sick from listeria so I would avoid the risk and make it yourself if you really want one of these. When I was pregnant I made deli salads at home all of the time, I just craved a nice fresh salad and to be honest they are better for you when you make your own.
This one is kinda a no brainer but if you order a steak and it is really pink and bloody I would send it back just to be safe. Also undercooked chicken or turkey so to be safe, when in doubt don’t eat it! These foods can pass Toxoplasma infection to your baby causing blindness and mental disability.
Avoid these raw foods as well:
Sushi, sashimi, ceviches, and carpaccio.
Clams, Mussels, Oysters, and Scallops
Most things like undercooked eggs and anything else unpasteurized should just be avoided to be safe so if you have a question on it I would say don’t eat it!
I have done this a few times with ordering eggs for breakfast they were not cooked well enough so I sent them back and ordered scrambled eggs from then on.
Morning sickness tip
Eating watermelon is great for helping with morning sickness and also keeps you hydrated which is a plus!
Reference: How to Deal With Morning Sickness
Final Thoughts On What To Eat During Pregnancy
It’s not as hard as you would think to eat during your pregnancy just follow the guidelines of the 5 food groups and adapt it according to your body and morning sickness needs and you will do just fine. There are many challenges being pregnant but finding the right food to eat shouldn’t be one of them, so feel encouraged mama you can eat well and adapt it for your needs to make it work.
Here is a list for you to keep and look as a reminder of what to eat and not eat:
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