It is very important to have a well balanced diet. When you are expecting a new baby you should maintain this well balanced diet and just add a few extra calories. This article will discuss how you can get the proper nutrition for you and your baby during your pregnancy.
The food guide pyramid will help you to make sure you are getting the nutrients you both need. Your diet should be low in fat sugar and cholesterol and high in vegetables, fruits and grains. You can follow the phrase, “five a day the color way,” in order to get enough fruits and vegetables.
The food pyramid is divided into six categories. We will discuss each category starting with the largest one, bread and cereals. Bread and cereals or grains provide complex carbohydrates (starches) which are a good source for energy, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose whole grains such as whole wheat bread. Make sure you look for food with little fat and sugar.
One serving of grains is equal to one slice of bread, one ounce of cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal or rice.
Vegetables will give you vitamins such as A and C as well as folic acid and minerals such as iron and magnesium. They are also low in fat and high in fiber. If you are worried about pesticides try organic vegetables. Don’t forget the phrase, “five a day the color way” when choosing fruits and vegetables. Vegetables come in a variety of colors from dark green to deep yellow or orange and white.
One serving of vegetables is equal to one cup of salad greens, 1/2 cup of other cooked or raw vegetables or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice.
Fruits will give you vitamins A and C and potassium and fiber. Choose fresh fruits, fruit juices and frozen, canned or dried fruits. Make sure you eat plenty of citrus fruits, melons and berries. Drink fruit juices instead of fruit drinks. Fruit drinks are full of sugar.
One serving of fruit is equal to one medium apple, banana or orange, 1/2 cup of fruit juice, 1/4 cup of raisins or dried fruit.
Milk, yogurt and cheese or dairy will give you protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins. Calcium is very important during pregnancy and for nursing mothers. If you don’t like milk eat cheese, yogurt, or cottage cheese. Make sure you choose low fat, skim or part- skim dairy products.
One serving of dairy equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt and 1 1/2 ounces of cheese.
Meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts will give you B vitamins, protein, iron and zinc. A developing baby needs plenty of protein and iron. Choose lean meats and trim off fat and skin before cooking.
One serving of meat is equal to 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish, one cup of cooked dry beans, one egg and two Tablespoons of peanut butter.
Fats oils and sweets are full of calories and have few vitamins or minerals. You should get no more than 30% of your daily calories from fat. Choose low fat foods and go easy on the butter, margarine, salad dressing and gravy. Save high- sugar foods such as candy, sweets and soda for a special treat. Avoid sugar free sodas, gum and candy. These contain an artificial sweetener called saccharin which might not be safe during pregnancy. Aspartame, another artificial sweetener may also be harmful to your unborn child. If you are advised by your doctor to avoid sugar the only safe substitute is Splenda because it is made from sugar.
Eating well during pregnancy can bring you great joy. If you have already been eating healthy keep it up. If not, expecting a baby is a great excuse to start eating better. Many women discover new tastes during pregnancy. They also tend to stick to their healthy diet long after the baby is born. If you follow a well balanced and varied diet your baby will thank you later.
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