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Pregnancy food

Spotlight on:

Why is diet important?
Is pregnancy food different?
How many calories do I need?
Can I diet in pregnancy?
Foods to avoid in pregnancy
Can I drink coffee?
Pregnancy food for vegetarians
Nut allergies
Pregnancy meal planner
Pregnancy vitamin supplements
Morning sickness

 

We all secretly fret not just about weight gain in pregnancy but also about eating well for our baby. My pregnancy week by week online fitness and wellbeing programme is designed to keep you fit, healthy and ready to bounce back once you give birth.

Try it for FREE and see for yourself!

 

 

In an ideal world, you will have laid the foundations of a healthy diet and lifestyle during the preconceptual period, well before your pregnancy. Advice is to put in place these changes at around 6 months prior to conceiving, not only so that they become established habits but, importantly, to give your baby the best possible start in life. The first few weeks of a baby’s development – often before you are even aware that you are pregnant - are critical. Having the perfect pregnancy diet already in place is, therefore, the ideal situation to be in.


But as the saying goes, it is never too late to change, so get started right now by making the most of what’s on offer here:

  • Answers to all those questions that have been buzzing around in your head
  • A FREE Pregnancy Diet Quiz which is the ideal tool for analysing how your pregnancy eating is shaping up
  • Weekly newsletters packed full of pregnancy advice, tips, recipes and articles.

Feel free to sign up for either – or both! – of these in the top right hand corner of this page. 

Pregnancy food: why is a healthy diet important?


Whilst it can safely be said that in pregnancy you are not eating for two in terms of calories, it is true that as well as feeding yourself, you are also nourishing your baby, whose nutritional needs have to be met entirely through you. You are, in other words, the very source of your baby’s nutrition and this inevitably means that your nutritional requirements change and your pregnancy food intake will be slightly different from a standard healthy diet. This probably feels like a huge responsibility but please try to see it as an opportunity for putting in place some really positive and lasting changes. Don’t be downhearted if you are suffering from terrible morning sickness – I know only too well what that is like – but instead, try and ensure that every day you incorporate at least one or two ideal pregnancy foods. 


In short, balanced pregnancy food will:

 

  • Help keep you healthy during pregnancy
     
  • Ensure that you are giving your baby the best possible start in life
     
  • Keep your energy levels up during pregnancy, labour and into motherhood
     
  • Reduce the likelihood of excessive maternal weight gain
     
  • Ensure that you soon return to your pre-pregnancy weight once your baby is born

 

How about giving your pregnancy diet a health MOT by downloading my FREE Pregnancy Diet Quiz in the top right hand corner of this page? Send us back your responses and I’ll give you loads of amazing feedback, including recipes and specific advice. 

 

Download your FREE quiz from the top right hand corner

Should pregnancy food be any different from a normal healthy diet?


Your perfect pregnancy food includes all the nutritional building blocks of a normal healthy diet:

 

  • Complex carbohydrates such as wholemeal basmati rice and wholemeal pasta, granary bread, and raw oats. Have a go at replacing all your refined carbs – white rice, standard pasta, readymade cereals, white bread - with wholemeal equivalents. Such an easy swap in exchange for significant health benefits!
     
  • Vegetables and fruit - and please note that there’s a reason why I’ve placed veg ahead of fruit. You should try and tip the scales towards consuming more vegetables than fruit every day.
     
  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese (just make sure you check which cheeses to avoid in pregnancy).
     
  • Protein foods: fish, poultry, meat, eggs, cheese, pulses (lentils and beans) and nuts.
     
  • Healthy oils and fats from certain fish, avocados, nuts, seeds.


Your pregnancy food should also include certain nutritional “extras”:

 

  • Calcium intake needs to be kept up during pregnancy to help with your baby’s bone development – don’t forget that calcium is not only present in dairy products but also in nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin D dramatically increases your ability to absorb calcium and exposure to sunlight is an excellent way of boosting your vitamin D levels. A daily lunchtime walk is the perfect way to keep you fit, keep your vitamin D levels topped up, and indirectly boost your calcium absorption. 
     
  • Iron intake is an important component of pregnancy food for both you and your baby, especially for producing new blood cells. Remember that iron is most easily absorbed from animal sources such as red meat but that it is also present in dark green leafy vegetables, dried prunes and apricots and legumes (beans). Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron and so it’s a good idea to, for example, drink a glass of orange juice alongside your iron-rich meal.
     
  • Folic acid is, of course, the one that everyone has heard about. Many mums-to-be take a folic acid supplement designed specifically for pregnancy but it is also present in green vegetables such as broccoli, green beans and spinach, as well as in pulses and – for those who love it! – Marmite.
     
  • Healthy fats are important for your baby’s organs, so now is the time to swap the unhealthy fatty foods (that’s cake and biscuits!) for the good stuff such as oily fish – no more than twice a week – nuts and seeds (about 30g a day), olive oil and avocados.
     
  • Vegetables and fruit are important pregnancy foods, supporting healthy bones, boosting the immune system, and aiding the production of skin and collagen. Make sure you eat a wide range of colours and just remember that 5 portions is actually the recommended minimum – France, for example, recommends no less than 10 portions a day!
     

Pregnancy food: colourful fruit

 

Are you ready to take a really honest look at your own pregnancy diet? It’s time to grab a copy of my FREE Pregnancy Diet Quiz in the top right hand corner of this page. Send us back your responses and we’ll give you loads of amazing feedback, including recipes and specific advice. 

 

Download your FREE quiz from the top right hand corner

How many calories do I need in pregnancy?


For the majority of your pregnancy you do not need to consume any more calories than usual and so you should, on average, be aiming to eat around 2000kcal a day. Just remember that this is merely an average and that, therefore, half of mums-to-be will need slightly fewer calories whilst the other half will require slightly more. It is only towards the end of pregnancy, in your final trimester, that your calorie intake should increase by approximately 200kcal. If you eat more than the recommended energy intake, the likelihood is that there will be excessive weight gain in pregnancy and that this will be stored as maternal fat which you will find yourself battling to lose after the birth.

Is it safe to diet during pregnancy?


Whether or not it is safe to diet in pregnancy, depends on what you mean by “dieting”. If you are wondering whether now is the right time to knock off excess weight by going on the latest celebrity fad diet, then the answer is “no”. Research into the effects of malnutrition amongst pregnant and breastfeeding women has shown that their babies are born, on average, with lower IQs. Most of these quick fix diets are all about getting visible results quickly but there is usually a price to pay: they are rarely sustainable or truly balanced and healthy.


On the other hand, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to take a close and honest look at the way you are eating and to then use your pregnancy as a wonderful opportunity to start healthy eating habits which will benefit you, your partner, and, of course, the little baby you are busy growing inside you. My FREE Pregnancy Diet Quiz is the ideal tool for analysing how your pregnancy eating is shaping up, and the detailed feedback we send you will set you up for a truly healthy pregnancy. So get hold of your copy from the top right hand corner of this page right now!

 

Download your FREE quiz from the top right hand corner

What foods should I avoid now that I’m pregnant?


There’s quite a lot to say about foods to avoid in pregnancy and this is something that I sometimes cover in my weekly Newsletters - you can sign up to the right of this page. Make sure that you keep safe by reading up on what to steer clear of during the 9 months of your pregnancy.

Can I drink coffee in pregnancy?


Food to avoid in pregnancy: coffee

If you consume too much caffeine, whether this be from drinking coffee or from other sources, such as chocolate, tea and fizzy cola drinks, it will inhibit your body’s ability to absorb certain essential nutrients. This, in turn, is said to increase the risk of miscarriage or a low birth weight. The general guidelines are to limit coffee intake to 1 or 2 cups a day. These days many decaffeinated ground coffees are excellent and taste the same as their caffeinated counterparts. You might, of course, have to wean yourself off the caffeine… as a self-confessed coffee lover I am proof that it’s possible!

 

Pregnancy food for vegetarians


A vegetarian diet can, of course, be very healthy but at the same time during pregnancy the demands on you are greater than usual, and you need to make sure that you are getting enough of all the essential nutrients:

 

  • Protein: combine pulses with rice (a bean chilli con “carne” served with brown rice is ideal) as this will give you the complete range of essential amino acids, cheese, eggs, soya beans, tofu, nuts, seeds.
     
  • Calcium: if you are vegan then you could ask your healthcare provider for advice with regard to taking a vitamin D supplement as this will help you absorb calcium from sources such as green leafy vegetables and dried figs.
     
  • Iron: this mineral is less easily absorbed from plant than from animal sources and so you will need to ensure that you eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and different types of beans, alongside vitamin C as this will help with absorption. So, for example, you could make a green leafy vegetable frittata and eat this alongside a glass of orange juice.    

Will eating nuts give my baby a nut allergy?


If you or your family have food allergies, or a history of food allergies, then nuts should not be eaten during both pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, if you and your family have no history of food allergies then you can eat nuts – raw nuts are good for you, providing healthy fats and protein. Just try not to munch through a whole bag of them, as they are incredibly energy-dense. A daily portion of 30g is perfect.

Pregnancy meal planner


If you’re wondering how on earth you will ever manage to find the time to prepare perfect pregnancy food or if you are simply stuck for ideas, then what you need is my FREE Easy Meal Planner which will help you save money, save time and eat healthily.

Download your Easy Meal Planner from the homepage

Should I be taking a pregnancy vitamin supplement?


There’s always a great deal of controversy surrounding vitamin supplements. In theory, of course, if you eat perfect pregnancy food, then a vitamin supplement shouldn’t be necessary. Having said this, many of us are deficient in one or more nutrients, and low iron levels are a common problem during pregnancy. Given that you are expectant, I would strongly advise you to ask your healthcare provider whether or not you should be taking a supplement and if so, which one to take. If, based on the advice given, you do then start taking a supplement, please remember that it’s not a substitute for a healthy and varied diet.


Check whether your diet is pregnancy-perfect with my FREE Pregnancy Diet Quiz in the top right hand corner of this page. It’s ideal for analysing how your pregnancy eating is shaping up, and the detailed feedback we send you will set you up for a truly healthy pregnancy. So get hold of your copy from right now!

 

  Download your FREE quiz from the top right hand corner

Pregnancy food and morning sickness - help!


I know only too well how awful morning sickness is so let me start off by giving you a long distance hug and reminding you that it’s not going to last forever… even if it feels like for ever. Morning sickness definitely deserves covering so it's something I tackle in my FREE weekly newsletters.

 

Sign up to my FREE weekly newsletters to the right of this page!

 

And if you want to take the ultimate step towards pregnancy health and fitness, then give my online pregnancy week by week fitness and wellbeing membership a go for FREE!

 

 

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Pregnancy diet quiz
Find out with this FREE nutritional quiz whether or not your diet is pregnancy-perfect. Tell us your results and we'll send you amazing FREE feedback to get your pregnancy diet in tip top condition.


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