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.
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!
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.
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.
It’s important to get enough healthy fats during pregnancy to make sure your baby’s brain 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.
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 pâté.
• 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.
By Jess, graze nutritionist.
Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's 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, or go to her website at jessntom.com for even more.
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