What food should you eat in pregnancy & as a new mum?
Nutrition can feel overwhelming and confusing, so the best thing to do is keep it simple! Understand your food groups and become aware of your choices, in this post I’m going to give you some practical and simple nutrition tips for pregnancy and motherhood.
What food are you eating?
A simple way to look at this is how much of your food is coming out of a packet?
Try to eat whole, fresh foods rather than processed. You will get so much more nutrients, better energy, improved mood and health benefits. I know first hand that being pregnant and a new mum, that snacks are essential and they usually come in the form of a packet. If this is what you need to eat and fuel your body, do it! This is where conscious choices come in, you can pick up a chocolate bar or you can pick up a nut or oat based cereal bar, it’s all about making the better choice for yourself and still enjoying your food.
You may have heard of the terms macronutrients and micronutrients. To keep this very simple:
Macronutrients are your fats, proteins and carbs
Micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals
Don't be afraid of fats and carbs!
Fats and carbs are two of the three macronutrients, with the other being protein, and are essential for a healthy functioning body.
Fats, healthy fats provide the body with an essential source of fatty acid, something the body can’t make it’s self. Omega 3-fatty acids are essential for our brain function. They provide energy and support cell growth.
Carbohydrates are your main source of energy for the body and they are your source of fiber which helps healthy digestion.
Protein is the building block of life and helps your muscles build and refuel. It is needed for the structure and function of your bodies tissues and cells.
All are very important for pregnancy and postnatal, not to mention everyday healthy bodies!
There are SO many diets out there and the one that always wins in the long run for a happy healthy body is a balanced diet. One where you aren’t restricted on what foods you can eat, but where you eat a whole range of healthy foods and don’t deny yourself that something nice when you fancy it.
If you are pregnant then please please don’t think about starting or continuing any diet. This really is the time to nurture and nourish you and your babies bodies. You will put weight on and that is completely normal and healthy. That weight will also come off after your little one is here. Don’t focus on the short term, focus on the long term health benefits for you both by eating balanced whole foods.
Postnatally you also need to be nourishing your body and giving it the food it needs to heal, repair and regain strength. Please don’t cut foods out or start a diet especially not in your fourth trimester. Give your body the time it needs to recover and get back to more of a non-pregnant state.
What about your hydration?
Hydration isn’t a food but it essential to your bodies function like food. Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day to help all of your bodies systems work at 100%, as well as help your brain function better, faster and clearer (something we all want more of in pregnancy and motherhood!).
Water is the most hydrating, drinks like caffeine and sugary drinks can actually dehydrate you.
Pregnancy and postnatal nutritional advice
If you haven’t already looked at this website, I really recommend reading the NHS guidelines for healthy pregnancy nutrition, as they also advice on what foods to avoid. Have a healthy diet in pregnancy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
If you would like more general advice on nutrition you can visit the NHS Eat Well website Eat well – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Lucy is a pre & postnatal corrective exercise specialist and mum. She is on a mission to empower, educate and inspire women during pregnancy and motherhood to feel fit, healthy and body confident.
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