Eating healthily is always important. We are all aware of the links between our diet and our health. But when you are expecting it is even more important that you watch what you eat and aim to have a healthy diet.
Now that you’re eating for two you need to provide nutrients for your unborn child and to do so you should be consuming the foods detailed below.
Fruit and vegetables are important as they are packed full of vitamins and mineral. They are also a great source of fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy digestion system.
“Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – these can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced,” says a spokesperson for NHS Choices. “Always wash them carefully. Cook vegetables lightly in a little water, or eat them raw but well washed, to get the benefit of the nutrients they contain.”
Carbohydrates are another source of fibre. There is a common myth that carbohydrates are high in calories (with many diets featuring low carbs or no carbs whatsoever). But they don’t actually contain too many calories. Bread, potatoes, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize and sweet potatoes are good carbohydrates.
“These foods should be the main part of every meal,” says NHS Choices. “Eat wholemeal instead of processed (white) varieties when you can.”
Some pregnant women are unsure of which courses of protein they are able to eat and how much of it. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs and beans all contain protein. Pregnant women should choose lean meat and make sure it is cooked well with no pink areas. Two portions of fish should be eaten each week, making sure it is oily fish that you choose.
There are also certain foods that should be avoided when pregnant. These include certain types of cheese (namely soft cheese), pate, partially cooked eggs, liver, shellfish and peanuts.
Caffeine can also cause problems.
“High levels of caffeine can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life,” says NHS Choices. “Too much can also cause miscarriage. Caffeine is naturally found in lots of foods, such as coffee, tea and chocolate, and is added to some soft drinks and energy drinks. Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine. Talk to your midwife, doctor or pharmacist before taking these remedies.”