ENERGY IN=ENERGY OUT
Your daily intake of eating healthy foods provides energy which should balance the energy spent through your daily activity. If your food intake is greater than the energy spent, you will experience a positive energy balance and gain weight. Likewise, when the energy spent is higher than the energy intake, there is a negative energy balance and resulting weight loss. During pregnancy, eat healthy and stay active; do not try to lose weight. Post pregnancy, continue to eat healthy and begin an exercise routine that will help you lose weight and keep it off.
MICRO vs. MACRO
Macronutrients provide energy in the form of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals help the body function.
An expectant mom’s diet should contain a balance of both micronutrients and macronutrients for baby’s healthy development.
A RAINBOW ON YOUR PLATE
Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Avoid foods that are deep fried or high in sugar as these food choices lack nutrition and contain excessive empty calories.
NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD. SOME GOOD. SOME EVEN ESSENTIAL
Healthy fats like mono and polyunsaturated fats found mainly in plant-based, natural liquid forms like olive oil are good for health as they reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Saturated fats, which are typically solid at room temperature like butter or ghee, should be eaten in limits as they can raise bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol which may increase health risks. Consuming omega 3 fats is important for good skin health and overall heart health. Omega 3 fats are typically found in fatty fish and in vegetarian sources like flaxseeds and walnuts.
Pick nutrient-rich, low to medium calorie, high satiety foods that keep you fuller longer. Eat often and have smaller portions if you feel nauseated. Choose from the list of lighter snacks listed below instead of heavy, greasy snacks to avoid heartburn and gastric issues during pregnancy.
Nuts are rich in protein, fibre, and essential fatty acids or good fats.
Dairy products contain protein, calcium, Vitamins A and D and essential fats.
Eggs are a source of protein, Vitamins A and D, and essential fats.
Vegetables and fruit contain fibre, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from plants.
Soups with vegetables provide hydration, water soluble vitamins, and fibre.
DON’T AVOID TREATS ENTIRELY. TAKE SMALLER PORTIONS
Make sure you take smaller portions, eat slowly, and enjoy a treat every now and then. Another way to control your portions is to use smaller plates. Remember that during pregnancy you need an extra 300 calories per day than your usual intake! What you definitely want to do is limit your intake of refined sugar as that may trigger an increase in triglycerides and insulin resistance.
THREE MEALS AND TWO HEALTHY SNACKS
Three healthy meals and two healthy snacks are ideal for most mothers-to-be. Two hundred calories or less is sufficient for a snack. A reference energy intake suggested for an adult woman as per the Indian Council of Medical Research is about 1,900 calories per day. This could come from three meals and two snacks in a day.
Enjoy occasional desserts as extra calories during pregnancy. Calcium from dairy foods is helpful in bone and tissue development required for supporting the baby’s growth. Do watch the portions from higher calorie foods, though!
CUT THE SALT
Reduce salt as extra salt can raise blood pressure. In pregnant women, excessive salt intake can increase the risk of PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) which can lead to further complications if not corrected.
The WHO recommends five grams or one teaspoon of salt per day per person from all sources. All foods contain sodium naturally. Limit the addition of excessive table salt to food and avoid pickles, papad, and salted snacks.
HYDRATE WITH WATER
The human body is made up of 45% to 70% water. Water regulates body functions and temperature. Without water, human beings can survive only for a few days. A pregnant and lactating mother should drink plenty of fluids including 8 to12 glasses of water per day.
Fluids can include water, milk, buttermilk, juices, ice and tender coconut water.
Mindfulness involves being conscious of the activity you are indulging in. Eating during times when not hungry can result in mindless eating which may lead to less than ideal choices that are neither enjoyable nor nourishing. Avoid emotional eating. Instead, eat mindfully with family.