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How To Create The Optimal Diet During Pregnancy

By AWHONN Editorial Staff

How To Create The Optimal Diet During Pregnancy

Who doesn’t dream of eating ice cream without restriction at the first sign of a positive pregnancy test?

But before you go over-building that adorable pregnant belly consider the facts: If you’re a generally healthy person you only need about another 300 calories from high protein, low-fat foods each day to grow your baby in utero. That’s equal to the calories in a couple glasses of skim milk, or 2 tablespoons of yummy natural peanut butter slathered on your favorite apple slices.

And not only are you what you eat right now, so is your baby – you’re truly eating for two when you do. So, to give him or her the best start possible, go easy on the sugary stuff and follow simple healthy exchanges to curb cravings when they emerge.

If you’re craving:Eat this:
Ice creamPudding or frozen yogurt, low-fat or fat-free
Chocolate chip cookiesFresh fruit drizzled with sugar-free or fat-free chocolate syrup
Chocolate barHot chocolate, sugar-free made with milk for calcium
Potato chips100-calorie bag of popcorn, whole-grain or air-popped
Butter on… anythingHigh-fiber breads with smart spreads fortified by olive oil
Loaded baked potatoSweet potato loaded with fat-free yogurt and veggies
French friesPotato wedge or fries made with baked sweet potato
Soda, regular or dietFlavored water, low-calorie
Crackers or croutonsNuts, walnuts or almonds
RiceQuinoa or high-fiber grains and pasta
Muffin with cream cheeseEnglish muffin, high-fiber with natural peanut butter
High-fat hard cheesesString cheese, low-fat and loaded with calcium


Eating strategies

    • Emphasize proteins, high-fiber foods
    • Get your nutrition from food, but do take a prenatal vitamin as a supplement
    • Graze throughout the day; 4 to 6 small meals will help with heartburn and indigestion rather than 3 bigger meals
    • Eat at least two “healthy” fish meals a week for the Omega-3s and DHA needed for your baby’s brain development
    • Take a DHA supplement meant for pregnant women as a back-up
    • Get more of your calories before mid-afternoon to avoid heartburn at night
    • Drink lots of water to prevent fatigue and dehydration
    • Alcohol is entirely out in pregnancy; experts have mixed opinions about alcohol-free beers as they still contain up to 1% alcohol
    • If you’re expecting twins or multiples talk with your healthcare provider about your unique nutritional needs during your pregnancy


Did you know?

Some pregnant women crave clay, ashes, gravel, or dirt! It’s a syndrome called pica, and it could signal a nutritional deficiency—tell your provider about these cravings, but don’t eat these things.


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