Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Eat for Two

Muffins, gelato, pineapple, olives, pineapple AND olives, French fries, french toast, jelly beans …

Cravings are one of the wackiest parts of pregnancy. Suddenly, you’re obsessed with foods you normally don’t even like. Or you might wake up in the middle of the night, desperate for a double bacon cheese burger.  One day, just the thought of vegetables disgusts you. And the next, you can’t eat a salad fast enough.

I recently wrote an article for sharing tips for eating right during pregnancy. For the record, I ate way too many bagels and scoops of gelato when I was pregnant. You live and learn, clearly.) Check out the tips here:

Just because you’re eating for two, doesn’t mean you need to double up on your portions.  Actually, pregnant women only need an additional 300 calories a day. If you start your pregnancy at a normal weight, you can expect to put on between 25 and 35 pounds.

No matter what your pregnancy cravings may be, maintaining a healthy diet is good for you and your baby.

DO: Get the right nutrition. Experts at WebMD advise pregnant women to eat a variety of foods, including 6-11 servings of breads and grains, two to four servings of fruit, four or more servings of vegetables, four servings of dairy products, and three servings of protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, eggs or nuts). Try salads made with dark leafy greens. Visit your local farmer’s market and stock up on fresh local produce. Mix your favorite berries with a low-fat greek yogurt for a mid-morning snack.

DO: Get your folic acid. Folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Take a prenatal vitamin to ensure you’re getting the appropriate amount. 

DO: Exercise. From power walking to prenatal yoga or a heart-pumping session on the elliptical, there are plenty of safe ways to stay active while you’re pregnant (no excuses ladies!). Talk to your doctor about your exercise regimen to make sure you’re on the right track. And remember: a water bottle is a pregnant gal’s BFF. Hydrate before, during and after your workout.

DO: Beware of sugary, high calorie beverages. While certain juices and smoothies pack a nutritional punch, don’t overdo it.  Calories from drinks count and will add up quickly.

DO: Minimize your caffeine intake. The March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should have no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. Some coffee brands are stronger than others, so look up the caffeine content if you’re unsure. Switch to decaf, or try a “half-caf” to get your fix.

DO: Indulge. It’s okay to treat yourself … in moderation. Have your pizza, just don’t scarf down six pieces. If you’re craving something salty, have a handful of pretzels or pita chips and hummus. Don’t park it on the couch and polish off a bag of chips. Need something sweet? Enjoy a scoop of ice cream, not a super size sundae. If you pay attention to portion control, you can still enjoy your favorite snacks without feeling guilty. 

What were your cravings?

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