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pregnancy snacks 101

15th March 2017 by Jess

A healthy pregnancy diet is not about eating for two, it’s about providing your baby with the all-important nutrients to grow and develop.

Only approximately 200 additional calories a day are needed during the last trimester of pregnancy, which works out at only 10% extra for most women, although nutrient requirements are around 50% more!

This means looking out for extremely nutrient-dense foods to add to you diet during pregnancy.

vegetables 1

folic acid

Otherwise known as vitamin B9, folic acid is one of the most important nutrients during pregnancy. It helps support the development of neural tubes, and a deficiency significantly increases the risk of defects, so prioritising folic acid-rich foods is a must!

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vegetables 2

magnesium

Providing adequate nutrition for bone development is vital for normal healthy development. You might think that calcium is the key to this, but in fact drinking a glass of milk isn’t the best approach. In children, calcium on its own has not been shown to improve bone density – bones also need magnesium to transport the calcium into the bone structure, as well as vitamin D for calcium absorption.

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fitcharliebbg cacao nibs 3

iron

Iron is vital for transporting oxygen around the body, especially during pregnancy when your blood also needs to transport oxygen to your baby. Avoid iron deficiency, anaemia and low birth weight by eating plenty of iron-rich foods.

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peanut butter, apple, chia seed and cacao nibs on toast 4

omega 3

It’s important to get enough healthy fats during pregnancy to make sure your baby’s bran is getting enough essential nutrients. The brain is actually mostly made up of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Generally, we do tend to get enough omega-6 in our diets already, but we are commonly deficient in omega-3.

All oily fish are high in omega-3, but smaller oily fish such as anchovies, mackerel and herring are ideal to eat during pregnancy as they are much lower in toxins than larger fish.

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jess 5

More tips

Generally, it is better to concentrate on healthy foods to include in the diet during pregnancy, rather than worrying about all the foods to avoid. This list can often become quite a minefield, so here are a few simple tips to consider.

• Caffeine (in moderation) is OK – i.e. 1 tea / coffee per day
• Unpasteurised soft cheeses such as feta, brie and blue cheeses are best avoided. Soft cheese made from pasteurised milk is fine to include.
• It’s best to avoid cold meats, raw meat, and pate.
• Avoid uncooked eggs which have not been pasteurised.
• Avoid large fish such as swordfish.
• Liver can be eaten very occasionally - i.e. once per month.

References

  1. Fekete K, Berti C, Cetin I, Hermoso M, Koletzko BV, Decsi T. Perinatal folate supply: relevance in health outcome parameters. Matern Child Nutr 2010 Oct;6 Suppl 2:23-38.
  2. Winzenberg T, Shaw K, Fryer J, Jones G. Effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in healthy children: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ 2006 Oct 14;333(7572):775.
  3. Goodfellow LR, Cooper C, Harvey NC. Regulation of placental calcium transport and offspring bone health. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2011;2:3.
  4. Domellof M. Iron and other micronutrient deficiencies in low-birthweight infants. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser 2013;74:197-206.
  5. Brenna JT, Carlson SE. Docosahexaenoic acid and human brain development: evidence that a dietary supply is needed for optimal development. J Hum Evol 2014 Dec;77:99-106.
  6. Netting MJ, Middleton PF, Makrides M. Does maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation affect outcomes in offspring? A systematic review of food-based approaches. Nutrition 2014 Nov;30(11-12):1225-41.

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Jess with vegetables

By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess is the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices.

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