Healthy Pregnancy Diet

Our Healthy-Kids principles provide simple visual guidelines you can use at a glance to help you get the right healthy food to grow a strong, well developed baby while you prevent pregnancy complications.

These guidelines may, in fact, seem overly simple when you consider the wealth of advice available for your diet while pregnant.  There is a lot of conflicting information on what’s healthy, so how do you know what’s right for you at such a special time? 

We think the answer, when you take into account proven science and basic human physiology, is simpler than you might expect. 

 

What does a healthy pregnancy diet contain?

These days most food is labeled healthy depending on what you leave out of your diet (e.g. “low fat”, “sugar-free”, “wheat-free”, “lactose-free”).  A healthy diet is more than this.  At any stage of your life, to have optimal health, you need a nutrient-rich diet, meaning that whatever food you eat, it provides a lot of nutrients. 

When you are growing a healthy baby, this becomes even more important.  So many nutrients are paramount while your baby develops, and many pregnancy complications can be avoided either completely or partially, simply by supplementing key nutrients.  Even small things like leg cramps or bleeding gums during pregnancy are an indicator that there is a nutritional deficiency. 

A nutrient-rich diet must provide a lot of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients that will provide the extra needed to grow your healthy baby.  So it is critically important that this diet be primarily focused on what you do choose.  Leaving out the unhealthy things will follow suit as you choose in favour of the foods that give you optimal health.

 

When you shop for food, when you prepare a meal, and when you serve your food, use these 3 simple principles to help you make your pregnancy diet (and your family’s diet) something to be proud of.

Principle 1: Balance your food proportions

As the food you consume increases to meet the extra kilojoule requirements, keep the proportions you eat in line with the guideline below:

  • One quarter of your daily food = Protein
  • One quarter of your daily food = Starch
  • One HALF of your daily food = Fruits and Veggies

Principle 2: Mix a wide Variety of colours and types

As at any time, this principle ensures that you get a wide variety of nutrients.

  • Make a rainbow on your plate by mixing colours and types of food
  • Get into the habit of rotating your foods so that you avoid channel eating (eating the same thing every day). Try to eat different things every day, and cycle through foods every 2 – 3 days. 
  • Be especially careful of foods that contain soya, wheat and cow’s milk, as it is quite easy to eat these at every meal if you are not watching!

Principle 3: Choose high quality, high nutrient food

  • It matters what food you choose.  Go for unprocessed foods with a minimum of ingredients, and preferably fresh and unrefined. This type of food is naturally high in nutrients and low in salt, refined starches and unhealthy fats.
  • Remember to consciously eat healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil and omega 3 from fish or fish oil supplements. 

 

Why would you want to eat like this?

Here are three solid reasons for you:

  1. Science shows that a diet like this can make all the difference.

    One epidemiological study compared people who ate the recommended quantity of fruit and veggies each day with those who ate none, and found that eating your fruit and veggies literally halved the risk of cancer in just about every possible location in your body. (see Ref 1 below)

    Another study of over 100 000 nurses (dubbed the Nurses’ Health Study) showed that more than 80% of coronary artery disease (i.e. heart attacks and other forms of heart disease) can be avoided if you eat a Mediterranean-type diet that typically consists of high levels of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish, and low in saturated and trans fats. (See Ref 2 below)

  2. You feel so much better

    when you eat better, it is well worth the extra effort and will power.

  3. Whole food even tastes a lot better,

    especially once your taste buds acclimatise. You will never go back to a processed diet for long…

 

Our references

 

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