By Erika, Pure Matters
I’m currently 18 weeks pregnant and I’d probably give myself a B-minus for healthy eating so far. I could’ve been healthier but I think I deserve some bonus points for making an effort to consume fruits and vegetables at times when I just wanted to curl up in bed and hibernate between runs to the porcelain Goddess. I’ve also been extra careful about not eating all those things on that long list of no-no’s that my doctor gave to me. And I take my prenatal vitamins every day -- that counts for something, right?
You’re probably wondering why you should listen to me about eating healthy while pregnant. Shouldn’t you be listening to someone with an A-plus average? Well, I happen to be a research junkie and, as usual, I’ve consumed a LOT of pregnancy books, magazine articles, and information from trustworthy healthcare organizations. So, even if I’m not following the perfect eating plan, the information I’m passing along is from truly trustworthy sources.
The best motivation to eat healthy is the little guy or gal growing inside you. We want to give them the best chance at living long, healthy lives and that starts in the womb. When I’m craving something greasy and fried or sticky sweet, I think about the fact that my baby will also be ingesting this greasy, sugary item. When I stop to think about that, I often end up reaching for the salad, veggies, or fruit. Of course, there are the times that I do give in to the cravings, and it’s okay to do that once in a while. After all, at least ice cream helps me meet my calcium quota!
Your second best motivation is YOU. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel. I proved this to myself after a work-related trip where I said yes to WAY too many desserts and then endured a sleepless night of stomach cramps and severe nausea. Whether or not the desserts were purely to blame, I decided to take it easy on the sweets going forward and I haven’t had another night quite that bad. Being pregnant already has the potential to cause us various discomforts including nausea, exhaustion, dizziness, backaches, and headaches (should I go on?), so we really need to do our best to eat food that will help our bodies stay as strong and healthy as possible during this time.
My favorite pregnancy related book is called Nine Months In, Nine Months Out, a reference guide written by expert moms. It talks about boosting your body’s healing capabilities by eating foods that contain certain vitamins and nutrients that help us prego gals keep the nausea at bay and increase energy while maintaining a calm mind. As a general rule, they recommend including the following in your daily diet during pregnancy:
- Three to five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Two servings of extra-lean meats, chicken, fish, or cooked peas or beans
- At least eight glasses of water
- Six servings of grain
- Three servings of non-fat or low-fat milk products
Every pregnancy is different; however, we should all strive to get the basic nutrients we need to make our little ones as healthy as possible. If you find yourself lacking motivation, just remind yourself of the baby you’re carrying and the fact that you’ll feel better the next day if you choose the right foods for your body. And, like I mentioned before, it’s okay to treat yourself to something not-so-healthy (within reason, NOT something on the no-no list, like raw fish) once in a while, just try to keep it balanced overall. And, of course, try to enjoy what you’re eating while pregnant, even the fruits and veggies. Mini-you will appreciate that too.