By Laura Ligos, RDN, CSSD
Congratulations! You have a little one on the way or you know someone that does! This is an exciting time to plan for the future but it can get overwhelming quickly. There are so many things to think about like what theme you want in your nursery, how many clothes to buy, and what toys they will love as they grow. It’s all so exciting but before the baby gets here, you have to take care of yourself and make sure you and your baby are fed.
When it comes to pregnancy, there can be a lot of pressure to be perfect and to not make a wrong move. The fear-mongering and perfectionism are not only exhausting, they’re not necessary. Of course, we want to be as healthy as possible but there should be a lot less pressure around this than you think.
Feeding yourself while pregnant can be exhausting. It’s not just because the internet makes it confusing but also because your body is busy growing a human. That’s hard work so give yourself some credit! Nutrition doesn’t have to be exhausting. Instead, it should be simple so that you can fuel your pregnancy AND also enjoy it. As you progress through your pregnancy you will require more calories per day to help grow that tiny new human being which means it’s important to prioritize eating enough food.
For reference, on average, you need about 300-400 extra calories for the second trimester and an extra 400-500 calories for the third trimester (more if carrying multiples.)Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Expecting Mothers
Instead of including another ‘eat this not that’ list, let’s work on keeping it simple. Below you will find our 5 top tips from a Registered Dietitian and mom that you can implement during pregnancy to not only grow a healthy human but also feel great while doing it.
Eat Breakfast Daily
Eating breakfast within 1 hour of waking can help to ensure you start off on the right foot by eating enough food and giving energy to your body and your baby. It’s easy to get into a habit of skipping breakfast only to then have cravings later on due to hunger and lack of calories. Eating something like Brave Overnight Breakfast can be helpful to ensure you eat enough as it’s packed with 20g of protein, plenty of fiber and enough calories to keep you full and satisfied.
Drink Plenty of Water
It seems simple but staying hydrated is important. Instead of worrying about every last morsel placed in front of you, focus on getting enough to drink. Ideally, you want a minimum of 100 ounces per day. That sounds like a lot but it gets easier if you spread it out through the day and add in flavor as needed to ensure you are consistent with intake. Maybe squeeze some lemon in there or add some cucumber, get creative and add in what sounds good.
Eat Every 2-3 Hours
Seems ideal, right? However, this is usually easier said than done. When we are pregnant, our blood sugars tend to be a bit more sensitive and we want to ensure that we are eating often enough to help keep them stabilized. Having stable blood sugars is not only good for the baby, t’s also good for your energy levels and can help ward off nausea especially in the first trimester. This doesn’t mean eating is a free for all. Instead, shoot for 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day that include protein, fiber, fat and carbs.
Add Color to Each Meal
Sometimes it can be hard to eat fruits and vegetables when you are pregnant. That’s not to say we should throw in the towel and give up. Instead, try your best to add color at each meal. When we say color we mean those coming from fruits and vegetables (maybe even nuts, seeds and legumes). This color helps ensure you get enough fiber, which can help make you more regular, stabilize blood sugars and keep you satisfied between meals. For some ideas, add some berries to a smoothie or oatmeal for breakfast, some spinach to a sandwich for lunch and a side of whatever vegetable sounds good for dinner.
Take Your Prenatal
This may be obvious but it is worth stating. A prenatal is helpful to ensure that you are getting the bare minimum of some important vitamins and minerals like folic acid, iron, calcium and vitamin D that are essential for your growing baby. It can be hard to eat enough when you are pregnant so having a safety net in a prenatal is helpful. Ask your health care provider for recommendations on brands and try your best to take it every day.
Being pregnant can be so exciting but also overwhelming, the key with your nutrition is to keep it simple and know that perfect is the enemy of good. Do the best you can and incorporate some of our ideas above for a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy.