Eating for two: Essential nutrition tips for pregnant women

Pregnant woman sitting on bed eating a har of yoghurt

In the age of ‘paleo’, ’keto’ and ‘sugar-free’ diets, it’s really easy for pregnant women to become overwhelmed with the amount of information available and not really know what the heck they are supposed to eat. I know, I’ve had four kids and felt like that every time.

Everyone seems to be an expert or some type of wellness-spouting life-coach, so it’s no wonder things get confusing. At the end of the day, pregnant women really just want to eat food that will nourish their bodies and their growing baby, and they want to feel strong and energised. So, allow me to break it down for you:

Foods to tuck into

According to The Australian Dietary Guidelines, eating a wide variety of different types of fruits, vegetables and legumes is a fairly straightforward way to ensure you’re eating the most nutrient-dense food possible. Basically, if you aim to eat a rainbow every day – you can’t go wrong!

Polyunsaturated fats – found in nuts, avocados and dish like salmon and tuna – are also good to consume a few times a week. Dark green leafy vegetables are great because they contain iron and folate, a B vitamin needed for the healthy development of babies during early pregnancy. Try them alongside lean meats, which will also help support your iron and protein levels. 

Foods to avoid

On a whole, it’s a lot better to avoid heavily-processed or prepackaged foods because they’re more likely to contain excess amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fats – all of which are not recommended during pregnancy.

According to the Food Standards of Australia, foods which may contain listeria should be avoided as well – so dodge soft white cheeses, oysters, pre-packed salads and soft-serve ice-cream until baby is born. It’s probably a good idea to steer clear of raw eggs too, due to the potential salmonella risk.

And of course – any consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is not recommended. The potential risks just are not worth it.

Caving to cravings?

It can be really hard to maintain a healthy diet when you’re growing a tiny human and all they seem to be telling you through the womb is to eat just *one* more chocolate biscuit. Who are you to deny such a request?! But truthfully, there are a few tricks that can help with managing cravings during pregnancy.

First thing’s first: make sure you’re starting the day right by having a hearty breakfast that is nutritious and fills you up. Secondly, have a stash of healthy snacks all prepped and ready to grab quickly so you don’t need to opt for the more junkier type. Some of my favourites were apple slices dipped into peanut butter, a handful of nuts and seeds, and carrot sticks with hummus.

Switch it up! Flip unhealthy options for healthier ones: opt for yogurt with berries instead of a choc-top, a slice of lemon in fizzy water instead of a soft drink and choose wholemeal or wholegrain options where possible. 

Food and morning sickness

Largely through trial-and-error, I realised there were definitely some foods and drinks that made morning sickness worse for me. I found many tomato-based foods were too acidic, and they set off my nausea. Carbonated drinks and coffee did the same. Any foods that were really strong smelling would set off my super-sensitive pregnancy nose so I found myself avoiding those, too.

In a nutshell: aim for colourful whole-foods to nourish you and your little belly-dweller from the inside out. Because at the end of the day; they deserve the best, and you deserve to feel your best, too.

This post is sponsored by Swisse Ultinatal Pre-Conception & Pregnancy Multivitamin

Always read the label. Use only as directed. Vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

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