Choosing the right foods during pregnancy is crucial since even before a baby is born, his body is built from the foods his mother eats.
So eating the right foods during pregnancy is very important for both a mother and her baby.
Also if the mother eats the right foods during pregnancy, it will be easier for her to stay healthy and feel good throughout her pregnancy and birth.
According to the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis, most conditions that occur in adulthood originate in fetal life.
How to achieve healthy eating during pregnancy?
Eating the right things during pregnancy helps the mother to recover quickly after giving birth.
When a mother is breastfeeding, it’s also important for her to eat the right foods because the nutrition in her breast milk comes from the foods she eats.
When a mother eats too little or when the foods she chooses to provide little nutrition, the baby can’t grow strong inside his mother’s womb.
Beware of ‘malnutrition’
This is often called malnutrition and it can hurt both a mother and her baby.
If a mother is malnourished, she has less energy and she is more likely to get sick with infections that can harm both mother and child.
Eating too much food during pregnancy is also unhealthy for a mother and her growing baby.
This is especially true when too many unhealthy foods are eaten, like highly processed and packaged foods, sweets and sugary drinks.
Gain weight, but the right way
It’s normal for a pregnant mother to gain weight during pregnancy, but too many unhealthy foods can make a mother gain too much weight.
Mothers who are overweight or obese during pregnancy can develop serious health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Obesity can cause problems delivering the baby
In some cases, obesity makes it more difficult for the mother to deliver her baby naturally, and she has a higher risk of needing a cesarean delivery.
When a mother is obese during pregnancy it’s also more difficult for her baby to grow into a healthy child.
The baby may be born too early or he may be born with health problems that make it more difficult for his mother to care for him.
Being a mother is one of the most important jobs in the world.
From long before a baby is born, his mother has the power to steer her family towards a healthy lifestyle.
What are the “building foods” during pregnancy?
There are three families of foods that should be eaten every day to keep a mother and her family healthy and happy.
The first family can be thought of as building foods or proteins.
These are foods that are high in protein and they help our bodies to grow and repair themselves.
The second important family of foods is energy foods or carbohydrates.
These foods give us the energy we need to move, to think, to be active and to feel good.
The last important family of food can be thought of as protecting foods.
These are your good friend’s fruits and vegetables.
These foods help us fight off infections, protect us from many other diseases and make your body feel strong and healthy.
“building foods” mean protein
Protein helps keep your bones, muscles, and teeth strong and protein-rich foods help babies to grow all of these necessary body parts.
As well proteins have many different jobs in the body, so it’s important to eat foods that give the body the tools it needs to build and repair.
Examples of foods that are rich in protein are chicken, fish, meat, milk, yogurt, eggs and dry beans, split peas, and soy products like tofu and lentils.
Protein can be found in a lot of different foods
Foods that come from animals like eggs, meat, fish and chicken are very high in protein.
Eggs are also inexpensive and they can be eaten often.
Neat chicken and fish are usually more expensive, so they can be eaten less often.
There are many foods that come from plants which are also good sources of protein, for example, dry beans, split peas, soy products like tofu, lentils and all kinds of legumes.
These foods are generally less expensive sources of protein and they can be eaten regularly to help keep families strong and healthy.
For a pregnant mother, it’s especially important to eat the right amount of protein
Protein-rich foods will help the baby to grow strong inside her mother, and these foods will also help the mother’s body to recover and repair itself more quickly after she gives birth.
When a mother is breastfeeding, her milk is high in protein, so it’s important that she eats enough of the protein-rich foods.
Building foods that are high in protein can help keep a mother her baby and the whole family strong and healthy.
In research conducted by the Institute of Medicine in Colombia, investigators examined the effect of a supplement containing 20 g of protein and 150 kcal of energy given to poor urban women in Bogota.
They found an approximately 50-g increase in birth weight in the supplemented group and no effect on gestational duration.
What are the ‘energy foods’ during pregnancy?
“Energy foods” are rich in carbohydrates, which are nutrients that give us the energy to be active all day long and feel satisfied at work and play.
These foods are also important to give energy to the brain, so we can think and learn properly.
But it’s very important to choose the right kind of carbohydrates to support good health.
Foods that contain too many simple or refined carbohydrates give us short-term energy that can quickly leave us feeling tired, like white bread, potato chips, sweetened drinks, and sugary desserts.
Refined carbs can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels
These foods make it harder for our bodies to keep blood sugar levels stable, so we can end up feeling hungry and tired soon after we’d eaten.
When we choose carbohydrates that are unrefined or coarse like brown or whole-grain bread and cereals, these foods will give us longer-lasting energy.
Unrefined or whole-grain carbohydrates keep us feeling full for longer because our bodies break them down more slowly.
Other foods that are high in good carbohydrates are brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, hot breakfast porridge-like homemade oatmeal, and whole-grain low sugar breakfast cereals.
In general Brown is better than white
Brown bread is better than white bread and whole-grain homemade oatmeal is better than processed or refined cereal.
These unrefined carbohydrate-rich foods give you more energy over a longer time.
Energy foods should make up at least one-quarter of each meal.
Eat them together with protein foods and fruits or vegetables.
Raising a family is hard work and requires a lot of energy
Children also need lots of energy to grow and learn, so choose carbohydrates that will support your hard work and the health and well-being of your family.
Research by the Open Cardiovascular Medicine Journal showed that a high-protein and a low-carbohydrate maternal diet can cause harmful effects.
Such as raised blood pressure and increased cortisol secretion in response to psychological stress in the offspring.
Outlining the importance of balance, but also introducing carbohydrates as an essential element in the search for the “optimum” pregnancy diet.
This is strengthened by the fact that the preferred fuel for fetal growth and development is glucose, a substrate primarily affected by the amount and type of carbohydrate in the maternal diet.
What are ‘protecting foods’ during pregnancy?
Fruits and vegetables can be thought of as “protecting foods” and they’re so important that they should make up about half of each meal.
They are full of vitamins and minerals that help protect mothers, children and their families from infections that cause colds, stomach problems, and many other illnesses.
Fruits and vegetables also protect your eyesight, they keep the heart strong and they help keep the digestive system or gut working and healthy.
Eating enough fruits and vegetables may even help prevent diseases like cancer.
Keep a balanced diet during your pregnancy
When the meals we eat are made up of approximately half-plant foods, combined with carbohydrate-rich energy foods and protein-rich building foods, you are more likely to feel good, stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight.
1. Nutrient vegetables
Examples of nutrient-rich vegetables are cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, beets, spinach, beans, squash like butternut squash, peas, onions, and broccoli.
Vegetables cooked at home are almost always healthier than vegetables in ready-made meals.
Many vegetables don’t even require cooking and can be eaten raw like shredded carrots, cabbage or tomatoes.
2. Nutrient fruits
Examples of nutrient-rich fruits are bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, mandarins, pears, grapes, melons, and pineapples.
Fresh fruits are almost always healthier than canned fruits because they usually contain less sugar and many more vitamins.
They are the best kind of treats for children and eating fruit instead of a dessert is usually a better choice.
Fruits and vegetables should be eaten every day if they’re available, in fact, we should try and eat 5 portions of these foods each and every day if possible.
The best way to get the most protection from fruits and vegetables is to eat a variety of these foods
Different colored fruits and vegetables contain different vitamins.
Each of these vitamins has a special role in protecting our health, so try to eat like a rainbow with different colors of vegetables and fruits on your plate.
Fruits and vegetables should be a priority because they are so rich in nutrients. Raising a family can be lots of fun, especially when you all stay healthy.
So you are able to enjoy your time together.
Protect your health and the health of your family by eating a variety of protecting fruits and vegetables.
In a study published by the Nutritional Journal, a total of 1138 Korean pregnant women at 12–28 weeks gestation with their infants were recruited as study participants for the Mothers and Children’s Environmental Health (MOCEH).
The study showed that maternal intake of fruits and vegetables was positively associated with the biparietal diameter of the fetus and infant’s weight from birth to 6 months.
Also, maternal vitamin C intake was positively associated with the abdominal circumference of the fetus and infant birth length.
Why is folic acid consumption important before and during pregnancy?
Folate (folic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin B that is necessary for normal cell division and is important for the formation of red blood cells and proteins.
Most people usually get enough folate through the diet and therefore do not need any supplement. However, women who are planning to become pregnant, or have recently become pregnant, are always advised to take a supplement with folic acid.
The reason for this is that it is shown that enough folate is very important to ensure normal fetal development. Lack of folate during pregnancy can lead to spinal cord hernia and deficient brain development in the fetus.
It is estimated that if all women took folic acid supplements before and during the first part of pregnancy, the number of spinal cord hernias would be reduced by approx. 50%.
The neural tube is formed at the beginning of pregnancy. Neural tube defects are severe congenital malformations that are caused by disorders of the neural tube closure. Failure to form the neural tube may result in brain and skull development, or brain rupture.
The most common injury that occurs is spinal cord hernia. The child will then receive varying degrees of disability, from minor functional impairments to severe paralysis combined with the loss of control over urination and bowel movements.
About 60 pregnant women carry neural tube defects every year. It is estimated that the number can be halved if all women have enough folate in the body at conception.
What special nutrients do you need for healthy kids?
There are some nutrients that are especially important for supporting the health of growing children and their families.
1. The first important nutrient is vitamin A
Vitamin A helps to protect us from infections by making the immune system strong.
Vitamin A also helps protect our eyesight. It can be found in spinach, chicken, liver, eggs, milk, fish and yellow or orange fruits and vegetables.
2. Calcium is also very important, especially during times of growth
Calcium is the mineral that our bodies use to build healthy bones and strong teeth.
It is found in foods like milk, cheese, yogurt and even the soft bones in canned fish like sardines.
3. The third important nutrient is iron
Eating enough iron-rich foods help support the growth of body tissues and keep you feeling strong and energetic.
You only need small amounts of iron, but when you don’t get enough in your diets it can make you feel that you don’t have enough energy to enjoy the day and perform all of your daily activities.
A person can get enough iron by eating small amounts of red meat, especially liver and kidney or by eating spinach, dried beans or whole-grain cereals and bread that are fortified with iron.
The iron found in plant sources like spinach is more easily absorbed by the body if it’s eaten together with foods that are rich in vitamin C like oranges or lemons.
What foods you should avoid?
There are also some foods that are generally not healthy and should be avoided by individuals and families who want to stay healthy.
If these foods are eaten they should be eaten in very small amounts and not on a daily basis.
1. Foods that are very high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt are not good for anyone and should be avoided
Many ready-made foods or packaged foods bought at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores are high in unhealthy fat, sugar, and salt.
Examples of these unhealthy foods are things like candy and packaged cakes, deep-fried foods, donuts, ice cream, bars and all kinds of processed meats.
Eating too much of these foods can cause problems with the heart and kidneys, leaving us sick and unable to function in our daily lives.
These foods can also cause overweight and obesity.
2. Foods that contain too much sugar are unhealthy for everyone
Too much sugar can lead to overweight, obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
Examples of foods that contain a lot of added sugar are soft drinks, processed treats, honey jams, and sweetened energy drinks.
Many people think that sodas and energy drinks are a good way to quench their thirst, but in fact, these drinks usually contain far too much sugar.
Clean, freshwater is almost always the best way to quench your thirst
Fruit juice also contains lots of sugar and should only be taken in small amounts or diluted with water.
In general, when you cook at home we can control the amount of salt and sugar in your family’s food, you can also choose healthy fats to cook with.
Salt and sugar should only be used in small amounts to flavor healthy home-cooked meals.
The fruit is the best for a child who wants to eat something sweet after dinner
Healthy fats like the fats found in vegetable oil, avocados and nuts can be eaten in small amounts.
By making small changes like increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables that you eat, and also by using small amounts of lean meat in your meals and cooking at home whenever you can, you can make better choices for your families every day.
How can you eat well on a budget?
When the food budget is tight, it can feel much more difficult to make healthy food choices.
Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your family’s food budget.
1. It helps to plan ahead
Think about the healthy affordable foods that are available to you and then try making a meal plan for the week ahead.
Adding dry beans, split peas, lentils, and other vegetarian protein sources to a meal increase the total protein or building foods in that meal without increasing the costs too much.
Every week plans on including meals that use vegetarian protein sources like beans instead of meat or chicken.
Beans and soy products like tofu can also be cooked and mixed with meat or chicken in savory dishes, this will improve the overall nutritional value of the dish because it’ll have less fat and more fiber and this will also reduce the cost of each serving.
2. Drink clean, freshwater instead of sweetened drinks when you’re thirsty
Most people need six to eight glasses of water every day to stay healthy.
Foods that are less processed are often less expensive because they don’t have fancy and expensive packages.
Choosing vegetables and fruits that are in season will make it more affordable to eat enough of these important health-protecting foods.
For example, peaches are less expensive in the summer months because they’re plentiful at that time of year, apples and oranges are more plentiful in the winter months, so these fruits are good choices for winter treats.
3. Fruits that are overripe can be cooked or mashed and mixed with cereal to add extra vitamins and natural sweetness to the morning
Meal leftover food can be added maybe with some extra vegetables to make a delicious healthy soup for the next day’s meal.
When you start preparing dinner start by cooking one half of chopped onion in a small amount of vegetable oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pot.
This is an inexpensive way to add flavor to any soup or savory dish, and good flavor increases your enjoyment of the meal.
When you’re eating on a budget, enjoy smaller amounts of healthy food instead of larger amounts of foods that are low in nutrients.
Nutritious foods will leave you and your family feeling satisfied for longer, and they’ll also protect your health.