In this two-part series – Eating for Two, Darwin Dietician Richard Sager talks through some of his top tips for healthy eating during pregnancy and nutrients during pregnancy.
When we think about pregnancy nutrition, it’s quite natural to quickly consider clichés like the famous chocolate cake cravings, the sad but necessary eradication of soft cheeses, (step away from the Brie) and the ‘say goodbye to wine for 9 of the longest months of your life’ mentality.
However, Richard quickly ensures us to focus on the good and what the power of balanced nutrition can do not only for us but for our babies. The food we eat essentially determines how we feel before, during and after pregnancy. Some very wise words from a man that you too can sit down and chat to with the help of our Territory Health Fund Premium Extras Cover.
In our recent chat with Richard he kindly gave us some of his top tips for healthy eating during pregnancy that benefit both the Mumma-to-be and the new addition to the family that we are eager to share with you:
- Make every mouthful count. Be conscious of the nutritional quality of the food and drink you put in your mouth. Always ask yourself whether the food is truly going to benefit you and your baby.
- Double the nutrition, not the kilojoules. Choose foods that are dense in nutrients but not so rich in kilojoules. For example, a tub of low-fat yoghurt will provide 400mg calcium and 500 kilojoules, compared to a similar-sized serve of ice cream which provides just 130mg calcium and over 850 kilojoules.
- Drink 2 litres of filtered water per day + add squeezed organic lemon - This will reduce acidity in the body and stimulate the pancreas to secrete more digestive enzymes.
- Snack on almonds (wash before eating), macadamias and green pumpkin seeds all day. These give the body good oils and help the bones.
- Cook protein (eggs, fish & meats) slowly; and never burn or char this creates a toxin for your body.
- Eat abundant organic green vegetables raw, lightly steamed or stir-fried.
- Ginger root is amazing for inflammation and nausea, also frequently eat parsley, asparagus and avocado.
- Eat fruits and vegetables daily that are purple in colour e.g. blueberries, red cabbage, or purple carrots.
- Decrease caffeine (Coke, coffee, strong tea & chocolate).
- Use organic products as much as possible.
There is undoubtedly a strong focus in this day and age on nutrition and not only how eating the right foods can heal us, but how the food choices you make are directly linked to how you feel. Richard from Darwin Dietician’s explains, “The right food choices that are good for your overall health can keep you feeling well and ensure you maintain good healthy pregnancy. On the other hand the wrong decision can promote symptoms of low mood, irritability, lack of motivation, low energy levels and depression.”
Obviously during times of feeling down, as we all would, you may want to reach out for convenience and comfort foods, unfortunately, this is a known ‘quick fix’ and will bring you back down to a low mood later. Having good mental health whilst pregnant is paramount, as you want to avoid stress at all costs.
Food choices that are important for mental health include:
- The healthy fat found in avocado, fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.
- Food rich in fibre will promote good gut bacteria in you and will soon help your baby once born. They also have a positive effect on mental health.
- Fruit and vegetables. These colourful components of the diet contain a wealth of important nutrients, including antioxidants that help to prevent cell damage.
When eating for two it’s important to have a good balance that ensures both the physical and mental health of you and your baby. Check out Part Two of the Eating for Two Series: The Best Nutrients here where Richard gives us the inside scoop on what nutrients are best for you and bub during your pregnancy.