Pregnancy is not a time for radical diet changes nor is it the time to succumb to the old tales that you can eat what you want, or you are eating for two now. In the early stages of pregnancy you actually only need an additional 300 kcals of food which equates to an additional snack or a larger portion sized meal.
Whatever your own personal diet preferences, when you fall pregnant you take on the responsibility to ensure your food choices are fully nourishing for your child and have an obligation to ensure that what you eat provides the right nutrients to sustain their healthy growth and development.
What you eat is digested and absorbed into your bloodstream and carried directly to your unborn baby to create every single cell in their body. Eating healthily doesn't need to be boring and you may need to get creative and flexible by introducing new foods to your plate and the following key principles will help you be confident you are on the right track.
- Eat nutritious food - this means eating fresh fruit and vegetables with an abundance of colour. Choose wholegrain foods, smoothies and yoghurts over crisps, chocolate and biscuits. By all means you can also enjoy a daily treat, just ensure you are conscious also of the nutritional value of everything you eat.
- Listen to your appetite - some days you may be more hungry and other days you may feel like eating just a few types of foods. There will be other days too when you have strong cravings so listen to your body, ask it what it needs and then take it from there.
- Eat quality protein to helps supply the essential amino acids to your baby that are necessary for healthy development. You can get what you need from eating lean meats, eggs, nuts and legumes and organic dairy products.
- Ensure you eat a wide range of Essential Fatty Acids as these are required for the healthy development of the nervous and immune system. Enjoy fatty acid rich foods such as flaxseed, sesame, sunflower seeds as well as oily fish like mackerel and salmon.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water and avoid excess caffeine consumption.