It is very important to eat healthy during pregnancy, as we all know that “EAT FOR TWO” but how??? This really doesn’t mean that she should need to eat for two, but this means that she needs to be healthy enough to sustain two lives and two healthy systems. All the diet plans for pregnant women are aimed at this premise, that she should have the basic building nutrients for two with the maintenance nutrients for her own body. 


A fetus is like a parasite. It grows on the mother's store of nutrients, even at the cost of her own health. Life ensures that the new bud is stronger and survives better, and sometimes, in the process, expectant mothers fall short of vital nutrients like calcium and iron in their system. 

This is the reason why old wives condone the fact that new mothers loose hair and even teeth. But if one plans a healthy diet during pregnancy, no teeth or hair may be lost, in fact, it should be the other way round.



Almost every dietician has a take on what is a healthy diet; meat eaters consider meat an indispensable food for strength while vegetarians will not even look that way.




The basic premise is that a pregnant woman should eat little but often, maybe six instead of four meals, and never eat so much that she feels bloated. The thumb rule is that one should eat only when one is hungry, and leave the table before one is full. 

The food that the expectant mom is given should be as natural as possible, preferably completely devoid of chemicals, preservatives and should be untreated. It should neither have too much fat, nor too much sugar or seasoning, little oil and preferable very little strong spices. 

There are some cravings that need to be taken care of, but healthy alternatives can be found. A craving for sweet can be met with sweet fruits or juices, a craving for spices could be satisfied through roasted nuts.

MEAT SERVING:

Meats should, in general, be avoided, as it always carries the risk of toxins entering the system, especially red meat, but fish is healthy- with its wealth of minerals. However, vegetarians can have as much a healthy diet, so meats are never completely indispensable. 

In fact, iron is one mineral found much more plentiful in leafy vegetables and fruits, and mothers with a complete meat diet (in the mistaken belief that all their baby needs are meat proteins); tend to suffer from iron deficiency. 

This can be made up by consuming more liver and kidneys, but nothing beats leafy veggies, because they also provide much-required fiber to clean the system. Remember, constipation and indigestion is almost a universal problem during pregnancy.


CEREALS SERVING:

Across all diet types, cereals are a must - wheat, oats, rye, rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal flour and among lentils, dried peas, chickpeas, beans, soya-beans or bean sprouts, and tapioca contains adequate amounts of protein. Dairy products are also good, but milk causes flatulence in many women, so a better option is cottage cheese and even yogurt. 

In fact, fruit yogurts are a good choice for a breakfast accompaniment, but of course, not the off-the-shelf variety, it must be preferably mixed and eaten fresh. Cottage cheese contains a good amount of protein and is easier to digest than plain hard cheese, so is a better option.

VEGETABLES and FRUITS:

The vegetables that provide the golden nutrients are spinach, lettuce; potatoes, celery and artichoke hearts, apples, bananas, and papaya contain large quantities of iron. Citrus or juicy fruits like lemons, oranges, pineapple, papaya, apples, and all green vegetables contain a lot of vitamin C while soya and nuts contain calcium. These can be all easily integrated into the diet.

DRIED FRUITS:

In addition, consumption of dried fruits also provides a large number of nutrients, especially figs and almonds. Dates and fresh figs provide instant energy while grapes and stewed prunes are good for strong digestion.

HOW TO GET STARTED?

Like a normal, healthy person, an expectant mother’s activity level during the day also depends on the nutrition she has had for the first meal of the day, that is, the breakfast.

BREAKFAST:

The first thing in the morning should be unsweetened juice or a piece of fresh fruit. This can be followed up by porridge or cereals with fruits or dried fruits and juice or milk. Egg lovers could have an egg or two, preferably with the as little frying medium as possible, so boiled eggs do just fine. This could be tipped off with a smoothie, freshly blended, of cold milk and fruit, with some almonds and honey thrown in.

LUNCH:

Lunch must begin with a salad of fresh garden vegetables, abundance of carrots, tomatoes, and greens. It can be followed up by wholemeal bread or rice, accompanied with grilled meats or vegetables, always fresh. No canned foods in this state!! Stewed fruit or a pudding could cater to the sweet tooth.

SNACKS:

The whole idea of having an easily digestible, healthy lunch is that the stomach may be empty by tea-time to cater for the regular cravings as per the mother-to-be's bio- clock So teatime, if hungry, a cup of lemon tea with some gingerbread or wholemeal bread with honey would be a good idea. Or else, even a fresh juice with the snack will help. One should take care to avoid fries or such overtly salted and greasy foods even at teatime.

DINNER:

Dinner, too, should be a light affair or digestion suffers, so it should preferably be a mixed vegetable and meats soup or broth with wholemeal bread, or pasta, with a light sauce and vegetables or grilled meats. Steamed vegetables are also a good idea for dinner, or they can be a side dish of cubed cottage cheese (or tofu) and mixed grilled vegetables. It is refreshing and light after the soup and does wonders to the system, not to mention cleansing.


A FEW HEALTHY TIPS!!

Apart from just eating, there are a few diet tips that can help an expectant mother maintain a healthy pregnancy. It is not advisable to eat at odd hours or very late at night, so an early dinner is a good idea. 

Besides, to avid constipation, some women may find a cup of warm milk useful before bedtime, but this is purely dependent on the lactose tolerance level of the mother-to-be. Ayurveda recommends a cupful with a teaspoonful of honey as sweetener, as it induces a relaxing sleep too.




Generally, it is not advisable for an expectant mother to have excessive salt, fat, and water in her diet from the seventh month onwards, for fear of water retention, or edema. Pregnancy is the time to sit back and take account of all the good things life has given us, and the better things life has in store. 

Diet alone does not ensure a healthy, happy child; it is also the mothers' disposition. So a happy, cheerful environment, hope and a bit of meditation being in touch with one's inner self go a long way in making a good diet effective in making a lovely and loving baby.



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