Healthy Eating

Eating healthily while you're pregnant means that your baby eats healthily too.

Posted on 19th Feb 2018 by Harton Village Kindergarten

Health

When youíre pregnant, eating healthily is twice as important as what you eat effects you and your baby. Every day your babyís brain and organs are growing and they need to be getting plenty of the right nutrients during this time. This doesn't mean you need to radically change what or how much you eat, but to make sure you are getting a balanced diet with a healthy amount of calories for you.

Eating healthily during pregnancy can also help your baby after itís born, reducing the risk of conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Eat for you, not for two

In the past it was often said that you need to eat for yourself as well as your baby during pregnancy, but now we know that you only need to eat for yourself. Maintaining a balanced diet is much more beneficial to your child than eating extra and in fact itís only in the final three months of your pregnancy that you need an extra 200 calories a day. Thatís the same as two slices of wholemeal or wholegrain toast and margarine.

Even though you may feel hungrier than usual you don't need to be eating more, even if you are expecting twins or triplets. Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy means itís easier for you to carry your baby, and decreases the likelihood of complications at birth. It also means that your baby is more likely to be a healthy weight Ė both at birth and as they grow up.

We are always told about the importance of getting your 5 a day of fruit and vegetables, and the vitamins and minerals they provide make this even more important during pregnancy. These can be in almost any form as fresh, frozen, canned, dried and juiced fruit and vegetables all count to your 5 a day. To help with this the NHS runs the Healthy Start voucher scheme, a means tested scheme which can be used on milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, instant formula milk and important vitamins.

Getting the Right Balance

Eating a variety of foods will help your baby to get the range of nutrients that it needs to develop and be healthy. These include:

  • Fruit and vegetables: try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, to provide the vitamins, minerals and fibre your baby needs.
  • Starchy foods (carbohydrates): such as bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and noodles. Try to eat wholemeal versions if you can.
  • Protein: foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, pulses and nuts. Protein provides the building blocks for your baby to grow.
  • Dairy products: includes milk, cheese and yoghurt. These contain calcium, essential for healthy bones.

Try to only eat a small amount of foods that are high in sugar or fat.

Sources used

NHS Eat Well Guide

NHS - Start 4 Life

NHS - Healthy Start

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