Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much food, but it should mean making your food work twice as hard.
Make every kilojoule count by choosing nutrient-dense foods, in other words get more bang for your kilojoule buck. By choosing a variety of food from all food groups, you can be assured of a well-balanced diet. But what if you have no appetite some days or occasionally feel nauseous? Remember, a quality diet over several days is what counts, not meal by meal.
Watch this video to learn what is considered normal pregnancy weight gain and what types of foods you should be including in a healthy pregnancy diet.
What’s the right plan for me?
These food group guidelines, are an easy way to get started on a healthy pregnancy diet. Of course, your beginning weight, height, age, stage of pregnancy and the number of children you are carrying will determine how many kilojoules and how much food you will need.
Typically a woman’s energy requirements don’t increase during the first 3 months of pregnancy. But she will need about 1400 extra kilojoules per day during the second trimester and 1900 extra kilojoules per day during the third trimester.
Nutritional recommendations during pregnancy
|Vegetables and legumes/beans||5 serves/day||
During pregnancy, make sure that fresh vegetables are carefully washed to eliminate any soil traces either before cooking or before placing in a home-made salad. Cook frozen vegetables, do not eat uncooked.
During pregnancy, make sure you wash fresh fruit well before eating.
|Grain and wholegrain foods including breads, cereals, potatoes, rice and pasta||8.5 serves/day||
|Milk and dairy products||2.5 serves/day||
During pregnancy, only eat pasteurised dairy products. Cheese: avoid soft cheeses unless served cooked and hot. Instead opt for hard cheeses (cheddar, tasty etc).
|Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds||3.5 serves/day||
Fish: avoid fish that contain high levels of mercury (shark, swordfish, deep sea perch and catfish), smoked fish and seafood, and fish from contaminated rivers. 2-3 serves/week of low- mercury, fish or seafood (salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, etc) are safe.
Meats: avoid cold cuts, pates and liver. When cooking meat and fish, check the temperature to ensure the meat is well done.
|Fats and oils||Limit consumption||
During pregnancy, try and go for fruit instead of sweet treats (cakes, biscuits etc.)
During pregnancy and breastfeeding it is recommended to not drink any alcohol at all.
|Physical activities||At least 30 minutes’ walk everyday||During pregnancy, maintain your normal physical activity, except those which represent a risk of falling or injury. You should avoid any contact or competition sports. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, do not begin any new physical activity.|
What is on your plate?
Here is a quick reference table which summarises what these key nutrients do and in which foods to find them
|Protein||Important for growth and development of muscles and bones||Meat, fish, eggs, cheese, dairy|
|Carbohydrates||Supplies energy||Pasta, rice, bread, cereal, legumes, potatoes|
|DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)||Important for baby’s brain and eye development||Fish, supplements|
|Probiotics||Contribute to a healthy gut flora||Probiotic product, such as probiotic yoghurts, supplements|
|Folic acid||Reduces risk of foetal neural tube defects||Dark green leafy vegetables, dried beans, nuts, fortified breads and cereals|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||Important for energy production and carbohydrate metabolism||Meat, potatoes, wholemeal products|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||Important for transport of iron and nervous system function||Dairy products, fortified breads and cereals|
|Vitamin B12||Important for red blood cell formation and brain function||Fish, meat, poultry, dairy|
|Vitamin C||Important for immune system, collagen synthesis||Citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, broccoli and sprouts|
|Vitamin A||Important for skin structure and visual function||Carrots, spinach (as beta-carotene)|
|Vitamin D||Building strong bones and teeth||Sunlight, fish, eggs yolks|
|Vitamin E||Protects against free radical damage||Wheat germ/canola/olive oils, in the fats of meat, poultry and fish|
|Minerals and trace elements||For||From|
|Calcium||Important for bone and teeth formation||Milk, cheese, dairy products, bony fish, legumes|
|Magnesium||Regulates energy metabolism, nerve transmission, muscular contraction||Nuts, green vegetables, legumes|
|Iron||Important for oxygen transport and blood formation||Meats, wholegrain cereals, fish, poultry, spinach, lentils|
|Iodine||Production of thyroid hormones and brain function||Fish, iodized salt|
|Selenium||Antioxidant, maintenance of hair and nails||Seafood, poultry, eggs asparagus|
|Zinc||Cell division, immune system||Meat, poultry, dairy products, fish|