It is common knowledge that certain foods and beverages should be decreased or completely avoided during pregnancy like sushi, rare meats, caffeine, alcohol and unpasteurized dairy products. These have various side effects or carry the risk of micro-organism related diseases, which you can easily avoid for both your own health and your baby’s development.
However, for those trying to get pregnant, there are also a number of things that should stay off your diet for both men and women involved. These include similar things like those mentioned above for pregnant women, but also food items that contain a lot of trans fats (fried foods, chips), high sugar sodas, raw animal products and foods that can spike your blood sugar. Avoiding these can help reduce inflammation and boost a couple’s chances of getting pregnant.
On the flip side, couples seeking to conceive should maintain a nutrient-rich diet that includes fresh veggies like spinach and other leafy greens as well as oranges, strawberries, cereals and nuts. These can help boost folic acid in the body which is an important nutrient during pregnancy, similarly, foods that are calcium, omega- 3 fats and iron-rich can help your body be better prepared when trying to get pregnant.
For pregnant women, feeling stuffed and full after just a few bites of a meal might become an issue during the 9 months of carrying your baby. In this situation healthy snacking throughout the day is a good option, allowing you to make up for any nutrition you’re missing out on due to lighter meals. However, it is important that these snacks are healthy and contribute to better health for mother and child and avoid things like excessive ice-cream or chips consumption.
Dry snacks like trail mix, granola bars and air-cooked popcorn offer tiny morsels that pack a nutritious punch and can remain fresh for a long period of time. With protein, good fats and a healthy amount of fibre these kinds of dry snacks can be taken along with you at any time and place without the worry of having to refrigerate them. Remember to check the sugar content on any bars that you consume, as snacking too often on high-sugar foods is not good during pregnancy.
For foods rich in protein pregnant women can indulge in hummus with crackers, all kinds of nuts (only a handful!), chickpeas that have been roasted and lastly the humble hard-boiled egg. Protein is vital in your baby’s development and will also help you stay healthy and strong throughout the pregnancy. These foods are rich in protein, good fats and fibre as well as iron, vitamins and calcium.
Speaking of calcium, there are many natural sources of calcium that you can snack on during your pregnancy for healthy bones and teeth. These include cheese with whole-grain crackers, cottage cheese or paneer which you can add flavouring to yourself, whole-grain cereal with milk and a fruit smoothie with milk are excellent choices for getting your daily quota of calcium intake.
Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that can occur during pregnancy and is very similar to Type II diabetes. During gestational diabetes the mother’s body loses the ability to process insulin, leading to high levels of blood glucose content which can end up having many complications for the pregnancy. While exercise is often used to treat gestational diabetes, a healthy diet can act as a preventative measure so that it doesn’t show up at al.
In this context, sugar-rich foods are going to be hard to avoid especially if you are used to them or having cravings for sugary snacks while pregnant. There are, however, alternatives that can satisfy your sweet tooth cravings while still being healthy for you and the baby. Dates, banana processed in a mixer and topped with chopped nuts, dark chocolate (75-80% cocoa content) and grapes are good fixes for getting your sugar urges met without risking a blood-sugar spike. Taking in sugar through healthy channels like this will certainly work in favour of keeping your blood sugar at a stable level without significantly increasing your risk of gestational diabetes. However, if you have a history of gestational diabetes or type II diabetes then you are at a higher risk of contracting it again. For this reason, it’s best to let your doctor know about your medical history during your first visit itself.
Apart from these healthy bites for pregnancy, you might have additional medical or dietary restrictions to keep in mind during these 9 months. Speak with your doctor about any additional diet changes that you need, as well as any doubts you have regarding any foods or beverages. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe that you avoid certain things like processed sugar, alcohol etc., and if you’re having overweight issues you might need to work with a dietician as well as have an exercise plan.