I originally posted this article on my personal blog, TiffanyStaples.com last week, but after thinking about it, it's too important not to share with all of our He and She readers! Nutrition in pregnancy is vital to the survival of both you and the baby throughout the pregnancy. It's important to remember that you aren't just ingesting the food you put into your body - so is your baby. He/She is depending on those nutrients to build proper brain function, fully functional organs, healthy bones and the fat stores it desperately needs. Your baby can only get what it needs from you!
Eating the right foods during pregnancy can help you, Mom, in avoiding some not-so-pleasant side effects of pregnancy like toxemia, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes! It's worth it to me just for that to eat healthy during pregnancy! I find it much easier to stomach certain foods (especially earlier on in pregnancy when you are adverse to many things and often nauseated) when I know I need to eat them! Use this handy guide to keep track of your meals throughout the week.
Here are the basics of Dr. Brewer's nutritional research as taught by The Bradley Method, as well as a few suggestions for foods to eat to satisfy each required category (only suggestions - there are many more options):
Protein: Aim for at least 80 grams of protein per day; however 100 grams is more ideal.
Meats - Chicken, Turkey, Beef, etc.
Fish - Salmon, Tilapia, ets. (NOTE: Limit your intake of tuna due to mercury levels)
Protein Shakes (Favorite Brands: Jay Robb's Egg White Protein Powder and Only Protein)
Dairy: Have 4 servings of dairy per day.
Eggs: Have 2 servings of eggs per day. This includes the yolk! The extra cholesterol in the yolk is vital for your baby's brain development. You can also add in additional egg whites for more protein.
Leafy Green Vegetables: The darker the green, the better!
Vegetables: Obviously, you want to get in a healthy amount of vegetables! Have another one each day that doesn't necessarily fall in the "leafy greens" category.
Red/Yellow Vegetables: Because different colored vegetables contain different nutrients, you want to include 5 servings of red/yellow vegetables each week (Not in one day).
Yellow or Red Bell Peppers
Fruits: 3 Servings of fruit per day. Get creative with how you combine these servings with your other foods! I like to add fresh fruit like strawberries and blueberries to my greek yogurt.
Vitamin C: Not only will this help keep your immune system going, Vitamin C is great for your developing baby's immunities and fetal brain development. (Be careful before you go out and get a Vitamin C supplement - you can overdose yourself and your baby - speak with your doctor!) Get 1 serving of Vitamin C daily!
Whole Grains: 4 servings of whole grains per day. Yes- I said whole grains! Skip the white bread and go straight for the hearty wheat breads. Note: If you eat a sandwhich, you likely have had 2 servings (2 slices of bread) of your grains.
Ezekiel Bread and Ezekiel English Muffins
Oatmeal (Skip the sugar laden ready to mix kind and try experimenting with the taste of different fruits)
Fats: 3 servings of fats per day. Now hold up... we aren't talking about candy bars and cookie dough! We are talking the good stuff!
Nuts - Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews, etc.
Oils - Olive Oil, Canola Oil (in baking), etc.
Flax Seed (Occasionally, I will sprinkle some on my eggs, yogurt or use them in baking.)
Water: Drink to thirst! Make sure you are getting AT LEAST 64 oz of pure water each day!
Examples of how to combine your foods so you hit many different groups at one time:
Greek Yogurt with Strawberries, Blueberries and Almonds:
1 serving of dairy
20g+ of protein
2 servings of fruit
1 serving of Vitamin C
1 serving fats
Large Spinach and Vegetable Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast: (Will likely contain 2 cups of spinach)
1 serving of protein (approximately 20-25g depending on amount of chicken)
2 servings of leafy green vegetables
1+ serving of vegetables
1 serving fats (olive oil in dressing - best to use olive oil/vinegar combination)
Consult your physician before to ensure you will get the proper nutrients on this diet, and then, use the guide below to track your foods!