If you are pregnant, chances are you have already heard from someone that you should eat more than you do normally. And that you are not just eating for one body anymore, you are eating for two. However, eating more does not necessarily mean that you are eating the right things. During pregnancy, you require extra raw materials, calories, nutrients, vitamins, etc., that help in the proper development of the baby. Adopting healthy eating habits can help you in meeting your nutrition goals. Healthy eating means having a balanced diet plan.
Finding the Perfect Balance
Often what we eat is healthy but not balanced. A perfectly balanced diet has just the right amounts (ratio) of building blocks, i.e., proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Our daily diet is skewed on the side of one of these blocks. Having well-balanced food will ensure that your weight gain is not irregular and will help in maintaining a healthy BMI.
Essentials of a Healthy, Balanced Diet
A healthy and balanced diet plan is simple and easy to create and maintain. There is ample literature available on the internet that you can take the help of. Additionally, you can also make use of food tracker programs to calculate your daily requirement of calories and nutrients. As a thumb rule, your diet every day must contain these five essential food groups, i.e., grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods.
Grains – There are two types of food grains, whole grains, and refined grains. Of these whole grains are packed with essential nutrients like protein and fiber. Approximately 50% of all your total grain consumption should include whole grains such as quinoa, muesli, brown rice, oats, etc.
Fruits – Replete with fiber, minerals, vitamins, and several phytonutrients, fresh fruits are an important constituent of a balanced diet. While you can consume fruit juice, with no added sugar, it is best to consume whole fruit.
Vegetables – An important and essential source for minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients, vegetables must be included in your daily diet. You can eat raw vegetables or can have them cooked. Make sure that you get a good mix of legumes and leafy vegetables.
Dairy Products – Dairy products are rich in calcium and make for a good source of Vitamin D, Phosphorus, and Riboflavin. Ensure the right intake of milk and other milk products such as curd/yoghurt, cheese, etc. daily.
Protein Foods – Including food items such as fish, meat, poultry, soy products, nuts, and others will add various kinds of proteins in your diet. During pregnancy, it is important to include seafood in your diet regularly.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
During pregnancy, you will need the right amount of the following vitamins and minerals for the healthy development of the fetus.
Calcium – A 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium, daily, is important for the development of strong bones and teeth.
Iron – Essential for the proper supply of oxygen to the fetus, a daily intake of 27 mg of iron is advisable.
Vitamin A – 770 micrograms are required every day for proper growth of eyesight, healthy skin, and bone.
Vitamin C – Important for healthy gums, teeth, and bones. It also helps in the absorption of iron in your body.
Vitamin D – It helps in the absorption of calcium. Thereby ensuring that the fetus develops healthy and strong bones. 600 IUs is recommended every day.
Vitamin B6 and B12 – Daily doses of approximately 1.9 – 2.6 micrograms are required for the development of a healthy immune system.
Folate – 400 micrograms of folate daily helps in preventing any brain defects or neural tube defects in the fetus.
Pregnancy is a critical phase in a woman’s life, and there is a lot that your body is going through during the entire process. Although stressing over every little thing is not advisable, it does bode well to be watchful. Remember eating right is always more important than gorging and filling up your body. Visit Nutrition Health Care Center at the Ovum Hospital to consult a pregnancy nutritionist and work out your perfect diet plan.