Pregnancy diet tips: What to eat & what to avoid during pregnancy

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Your baby is probably kicking in your tummy. Maybe your fetus is hungry! 

But one thing that can annoy you the most during these heavy times is “everyone suggesting you a healthy meal without really telling you what to eat.”

Well, we get you. 

These are delicate times. You want to eat everything sometimes and nothing the other days. Your mood is also fluctuating faster than hummingbirds flapping their wings.

Too much misinformation on pregnancy diets only adds to your mood. But don’t worry! We’re not leaving you clueless with our concerning voices and no solutions in hand… because we have the ultimate pregnancy diet plan catered for you. 

But why do you need to eat healthy during pregnancy?

Please note whatever you eat in your pregnancy is more for your baby than you.

It means… you want to be eating healthy to pass on nutrients and energies for the development of your little one.

Another reason why you’re eating healthy is to cope up with your changing body. A lot is happening within your body… like chemical haywire. You need a built-up immune system to deal with these changes, so they don’t affect your baby. 

Both of them come good with adding healthy meals to your plan.

Some known scientific facts during pregnancy

You want to know this, without fail.

  • Whether you like it or not, your calorie intake will shoot up. It can go up by a few hundred per day. If you’re a normal-weight pregnant woman, these should be your threshold calorie intake:

(1) 1,800-2000 calories/ day during the first trimester. 

(2) 2,200-2300 calories/ day during the second trimester. 

(3) 2,400-2500 calories/ day during the third trimester

  • If you’re an underweight pregnant woman, you’re advised to gain the maximum of your weight. If you’re already overweight, you’re advised to gain the least.
  • A pregnant body sees an increase in blood volume. But with blood volume, you need a proper supply of oxygen for the baby and yourself. Fortunately, iron intake changes how the internal system interacts with oxygen and ensures both of you have an adequate oxygen supply.

Which nutrients do you need during pregnancy?

There’s no standard objective answer for everyone. 

In fact, nutrients and calorie intake should be custom-tailored and balanced for individuals. Every pregnant lady will require a specific pregnancy meal plan. It is suggested that the diet plan should always be outlined considering her health, fitness, and other necessary medical factors.

Usually, pregnant bodies require all six nutrients, but you have to take special care of balancing proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. 

And of course, don’t discount water. Stay hydrated! Try having a wide variety of plant-based diets.

The foods to eat during pregnancy

Now let’s find out ideal food to eat during pregnancy:

#1 Fruit and vegetables

Vegetables are the power-diet for pregnancy.

They’re rich sources of nutrients and vitamins, useful for your baby’s development.

Before you think what’s the best version of them, well, the good news is, you can have them in any major five forms— dried, canned, fresh, frozen, or juicy form.

How many times do you need them per day? Try having five portions for a day.

Similarly, fruits have dense nutritions, but ensure you’re eating them rather than drinking.

The juicy fruit has high sugar levels, which you might want to avoid.

Fruits: Apricots, oranges, mangoes, pears, guava

Vegetables: Broccoli, Kale, Spinach

#2 Whole grains

It’s advised to trade sugary cereals with whole grains if you’re pregnant.

They’re a huge source of fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. 

Your body also needs the energy to cope up with hormonal changes. Carbs in whole grains see to it you’ve enough energy to lift yourself.

Other nutrients like proteins in whole grains relieve pain in pregnancy should there be inflammation.

So instead of thinking white bread and white rice, go for brown rice and oats.

And they don’t fold at vitamins or carbs, but they also nail other necessary minerals such as magnesium, Vitamin B, etc.

There are many ways you can add these grains to your diet, but we love: 

  • oatmeal for breakfast
  • a sandwich on whole-grain bread at lunch
  • and brown rice for dinner or whole-wheat pasta

#3 Dairy Products

Whether you like dairy products or not, you need them to take care of your little one (unless you’re lactose intolerant yourself).

Why do you need them? Well, they’re excellent food items for calcium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin D, and a lot of other minerals.

You don’t need them as much as your baby for their bones, muscles, teeth, nerves, and heart development.

Blood clotting is also common in pregnancy. You can keep them at bay with dairy products.

Milk, cheese, and yogurt have two protein types, casein and whey, the necessary proteins.

Yogurt also has calcium for the baby. Lactose intolerant bodies can have probiotic yogurt to avoid an allergic reaction.

Please avoid them if they don’t suit you and lead to bloating and gas.

#4 Legumes

Legumes are some of the most versatile sources of fiber, iron, protein, calcium, and folate.

We love legumes, for they add varieties to any recipes.

Why should you have leguminous plants as your food? Well, the folate in legumes build healthy red blood cells and prevent you from the dangers of anemia.

Studies claim lack of folic acid can lead to neural tube defects for your newborn baby.

Folates also ensure your unborn baby’s brain, skull, and spinal cord are in the right condition. 

Your body needs 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate for the baby’s development every day.

Healthy legumes to eat: Lentils, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, black beans, etc. Make legume pastes as hummus to enjoy both the worlds of health and taste.

#5 Dried fruit 

Dried fruits are an addition to the fruits, rather than alternatives. So, it’s apparent dry fruits + fruits = healthy you and baby!

As with fruits, dried fruits are rich in fiber, calories, vitamins, and various minerals.

You won’t believe it, but a single piece of dried fruit has the same nutrients content as fresh fruit, minus the water.

Additional benefit? They’re much smaller. You can carry them when you’re traveling.

Pregnancies are challenging times. Bloatedness, gas and constipation can annoy your journey.

Fortunately, dry fruits as prunes are natural laxatives that ease off your constipation.

But here’s the rub. Dry fruits can get very sugary with naturally candied fruits like dates. Though they have potassium and iron to make up for your body, it’s thoroughly advised to rely on just one serving at a time. 

Dry fruits: Almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, peanuts, etc.

#6 Avocados

Your blood pressure is likely to fluctuate if you’re pregnant.

The magnesium and potassium in avocados have weird but useful properties that manage blood pressure.

The rich, buttery-tasting fruit has plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids.

These acids add a depth of creaminess to your meal.

As with other fruits, they have high folate, vitamin E, vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B’s content.

Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that develop the brain and tissues for your unborn baby, and folate, as you know, prevents developmental mishaps from taking place.

Sudden bloating can give you leg cramps during pregnancy. 

Potassium in avocados relieves you from these cramps. 

#7 Berries

These tiny little packages of berries are rich in water, carbs, fiber, C vitamins, and plenty of antioxidants. 

Unlike any other sugary items, berries have a low glycemic index value.

What does it mean for you? Well, you can toss these tasty fruits without worrying about the blood sugar level going up.

And here’s the best part: you can have them as your snack munching food because they have plenty of water and fiber.

So you’re getting the taste plus nutrition, all at a very few calories. Alternative way to go about berries is to have a smoothie if you don’t like them raw.

Berries: Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, goji berries, etc.

#8 Water(to stay hydrated)

Call it loud! “I need to keep myself hydrated.”

Did you know your blood volume can increase by 50% in pregnancy? We must manage the percentage of water with the rise in blood volume.

This shall ensure your little one stays hydrated.

Whether you take other nutrients or not, water is necessary to not go dehydrated.

Lack of water can induce anxiety, headache, and tiredness, which can eventually affect your baby’s health.

Take care of your microbiota by keeping yourself well above hydrated.

You’ll be surprised to know constipation and urinary tract infections are common in pregnant bodies.

Drinking 2.3 liters of water can fend off these problems too.

Remember! Don’t hesitate to keep your water levels with other sources like beverages and watery-fruits. 

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Not all foods do justice to your womb. There’s a whole long list of foods to avoid when pregnant.

 #1 Caffeine & Energy drinks

Caffeine and energy drinks are a big no-no during pregnancy. Though you can have them less than 200 milligrams per day, it’s better to avoid them altogether.

Ask us why? Well, they may lead to terrible news as miscarriage or a low birthweight baby.

In fact, try avoiding it till you breastfeed your tiny-miny.

#2 Uncooked or undercooked meat

Raw and undercooked meats are not suitable for your fetus.

They can have bacteria and parasites, causing problems such as toxoplasmosis.

In a nutshell, they’re harmful to your health and can affect your baby’s development.

#3 Unhealthy Junk food

While junk foods could be your guilty pleasure, you don’t want to spend your life in guilt.

Because these foods can cause congenital disabilities and child deformities, and they’re dreadful.

Generally, junk foods are not healthy even while you’re not bearing a life.

So it’s natural they bring severe complications in pregnant bodies.

For example, excessive junk can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure, which can get dangerous for your baby.

#4 Alcohol

If you think alcohol gives you a little window of safe time, we’re sorry to say you’re a little misinformed.

It can get dangerous for your baby even before you know you’re pregnant.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests alcohol can cause facial deformities and heart issues for your baby and even premature birth. 

#5 Unpasteurized food

You don’t have any choice but to keep foods with unpasteurized food at bay.

They are truly dangerous for your unborn baby as unpasteurized items may cause foodborne illness to you.

The bacteria in these foods can pass onto your placenta, cause serious infections such as poisoning your baby and even lead to miscarriage.

These microbes can also lead to tuberculosis, which can ultimately prove fatal for your baby.

#6 Pate

Yes, pates can give serious cravings during pregnancy.

But it’s not at all safe to have them because they may contain listeria bacteria.

Again, as with unpasteurized food, listeria can slip into your placenta and may cause miscarriage.

You might like to go with vegetable pates, but it’s highly recommended to avoid any kind.

#7 High-level mercury fish

Fish with high mercury content is a must-avoid food type if you’re pregnant.

Having it regularly will deposit the element in your bloodstream.

Mercury is not suitable for a baby’s development, especially the nervous system. 

So these are the foods to avoid while pregnant.

Some additional tips for a healthy delivery

Despite all the odds, diet tips are not enough when you’re pregnant.

You will have to nail every aspect of your life to bring a new life to fruition.

Here are some additional tips for healthy delivery:

  1. Read and understand more about pregnancy.
  2. Add light and manageable exercise to your plan.
  3. Plan a light schedule for the day, avoid heavy chores.
  4. Keep your eye regularly on weight gain.
  5. Get a comfortable pair of shoes.

The conclusive argument

Your baby is waiting to pop-out in the world. 

And the person they trust blindly is you even when they haven’t come out.

You stand up to your expectations by eating those nutrient-dense foods and taking care of your health.

So follow the well-nourished pregnancy list mentioned-above and safeguard your baby at will.

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