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Getting the Best Eats During Pregnancy - December Article

There are heaps of nutrition articles on the Internet that can make a mother-to-be feel overwhelmed. If you’ve read any three, you can already surmise that there’s no special nutrition formula for your diet.

Consider the following to be general guidelines on how to eat an appropriate diet while pregnant. You’ll also find easy recipes that follow standard pregnancy nutritional guidelines. For more specific information, always check with your Midwife or caregiver. She knows your situation best and can provide the most accurate information specific to your needs.

Eating healthy, whether vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc., is almost always possible as long as it is well-planned and approved by your Midwife or caregiver. Don’t stress about how or what you are eating on a daily basis, but instead look at your diet over the course of a week to ensure it is balanced.

Over a seven day period, ask yourself if you’ve eaten enough greens, protein, fiber, fat and vitamins to satisfy your nutritional needs. If it’s hard to keep track, consider using a food journal for a week. If you feel you’ve been lacking something, plan how you will make changes and start again the next day. Each day is a new time to begin feeding you and your baby the way that is best for both of you.

Whenever possible, buy organic. This will ensure you are getting the best produce, dairy products, meat and snacks you can without harvesting them from your backyard.

When selecting fish, always check with your Midwife or caregiver to ensure it is safe for you to eat fish, and then chose varieties that are fresh rather than farmed for optimal nutrition.

For meat, select hormone and antibiotic free and grass fed to ensure the best cut of meat for you and your baby. The less synthetic hormones and medicine you have moving through your system, the better off you are.

Below are some nutrients that are vital to you and your baby’s wellbeing during pregnancy, followed by fast and easy recipes.

Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps prevent abnormalities of the brain, spinal cord and neural tube. Ingesting 1 milligram a day during pregnancy, either through foods or supplements is essential to your baby’s well-being.

Organic leafy green vegetables (think kale, mustard greens, chard), root vegetables, organic citrus fruits, organic beans and fortified organic orange juice are great natural sources. Nutritional Yeast is also a nice way to add B vitamins to your diet. Sprinkle on popcorn or on dishes where you would normally use cheese. 

Calcium is another big one during your pregnant and breastfeeding months. Your skeletal, circulatory, muscular and nervous systems rely on calcium for day-to-day functioning. Add in a pregnancy and your body is thirsty for this nutrient. If you don’t provide enough calcium through the food you eat or your pre-natal supplement, then your body is going to take what it needs from your bones and teeth.

At least 1,000 milligrams per day is necessary, and more usually won’t hurt.

Again, organic leafy greens come into play here, as well as organic dairy and soy products, salmon (check with your Midwife) and yogurt.

The importance of protein cannot be stressed enough during pregnancy. Many Midwives and natural caregivers believe that protein can prevent serious pregnancy-related disorders. It is critical for your baby’s growth and your body’s ability to maintain a healthy environment.

At least 80 grams of protein per day is mandatory during pregnancy. Think 3 ounces of organic chicken breast (27g), 1 cup of organic cottage cheese (28g), 2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter (8g), 1 egg (6g).

All organic lean meat, poultry, fish and eggs are easy protein sources. For vegan and vegetarian diets look towards organic tofu, beans, TVP (textured vegetable protein) and nuts. 

Feeling tired? Your body requires iron to deliver oxygen to your body’s tissues. Your blood volume nearly doubles during pregnancy, which means you need around 30 milligrams of iron daily to ensure your tissues are able to receive enough oxygen.

Look to lean organic red meat, beans, spinach, dried fruit and nuts for your daily iron requirements.

Easy Recipes for Your Pleasure & Health

Roasted Root Veggies & Friends
This easy, veggie-friendly meal contains folic acid, fiber, vitamins and minerals aplenty plus it’s gluten-free and vegan, and makes a great cold snack, a nice side dish or even a main meal. Remember to purchase organic whenever possible.

Sweet Potatoes
Red or Yellow Pepper
Salt & Pepper
Olive or Coconut Oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
Wash and cube veggies
Spread in baking dish, coat with oil and season as desired
Bake for 45 minutes, turning every 20 minutes

Yummy Sautéed Greens
Rich in all the good stuff like calcium, magnesium, fiber and vitamins A, C, and E, this gluten-free, vegan dish is a great side dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Handful (4-5 leaves per person) dark leafy greens (Chard, Kale, Mustard Greens, Bok Choy)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Slivered Almonds

Wash greens
Tear greens into bite-size pieces, composting the stems
Heat enough water to cover greens in wok
Add greens when water is lightly boiling
Stir and cook until tender (2-3 minutes)
Drain water
Add ACV as you would a dressing
Toss with almonds and enjoy

Midwife’s Breakfast
This protein packed breakfast will carry you through your morning. It contains protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and can be made vegan. It’s also great with some sautéed greens sprinkled on top.

Steel-cut Irish Oats
Milk Product of Choice

Cook oatmeal per product directions – use milk product for extra protein
Add cheese over oatmeal in your bowl
Cover cheese with cooked egg, prepared to your liking
Garnish with half an avocado (and sautéed greens if desired)
Sprinkle with almonds

Beef/Bison or Tofu Stir Fry
This quick dinner that you can put together at the last minute is packed with lean protein. It can also be made vegetarian with the addition of tofu or tempeh. 

Organic Lean Steak
Snow Peas
Green Beans
Bok Choy
Olive Oil
Soy Sauce

Wash and cut veggies
Coat protein in a little olive oil
Heat wok
Stir-fry the protein
Add vegetables to the wok and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes
Combine vegetables with soy sauce
Return protein to wok, toss to combine

Feeling confident about your diet is about understanding, both academically and intuitively, what you and your baby needs to grow strong and healthy. Rather than micromanaging your diet at every meal, take a step back and evaluate your eating over a longer period. Add in your emotional state and energy level and make decisions from that place as to what you should be eating. And of course, your Midwife is a great resource.


HStrang said...

Absolutely fantastic! Keep up the great work. xoHeather

LifeText said...

Very cool. There's a soothing tone to this piece that envelops and bathes its actionable content.

Keep writing!

Courtney said...

Update on the steamed greens. You can also chop up the stems of the greens and stem those as well. I'm not a huge fan, but I know other people who adore them.