A diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and unsaturated fats encourages good health at all stages of life. And pregnancy is no exception!1 In fact, eating well during pregnancy is a two-for-one deal; your baby benefits as you do.
In this article, we’ll explain how different foods can help promote good health for Mum and baby throughout pregnancy.
Dairy when pregnant
Many of us don’t need an excuse to tuck into tasty cheeses. Still, pregnancy gives us one, as the calcium in dairy products helps produce baby’s healthy teeth and bones.2 Low-fat dairy products are better than full-fat for health, so choose reduced-fat cheese, semi-skimmed milk, and low-sugar yoghurt.3
If you don't consume dairy, choose calcium-fortified products during pregnancy.
Fruit & veg in pregnancy
Enjoying a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is very important while pregnant. Fruits contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals which support your health.
Constipation is, unfortunately, a common occurrence during early pregnancy. Still, your likelihood of suffering is reduced when you enjoy a diet packed full of fibrous veggies.4
Protein when pregnant
Protein is essential to healthy growth. Make sure to choose the right sources of protein while pregnant.
Good sources of protein while pregnant include:
- Lean meat
The NHS advises pregnant women to eat two portions of fish each week, and ensure one part is an oily fish, like mackerel or salmon. However, because oily fish are liable to contain environmental toxins, you shouldn’t eat more than two portions per week.5
Support your pregnancy by taking pregnancy supplements, the most important of which is folic acid, which increases maternal folate status.6
The Department of Health and Social Care encourages women to take Vitamin D during pregnancy, so their bodies absorb more calcium.
Don’t eat for two
Popular wisdom has it that expecting mothers should be eating for two. Still, even if you’re having triplets, you shouldn’t be eating much more than you were before pregnancy.
Ensure that you eat a filling breakfast and avoid snacking on high-fat, high-sugar foods.
A balanced pregnancy plate
A good pregnancy plate contains 35% non-starchy vegetables. Include leafy greens, antioxidant-rich peppers, carrots, and cabbage.7,8
Approximately 15% of your pregnancy plate should include whole fruits and a lesser amount of dried foods.
Fill your plate with 25% good proteins, including beans, nuts, white fish and lean meats. If you’re vegan or eat dairy-free, seek out calcium-enriched protein products.
The remaining 25% of your pregnancy plate should be composed of whole grains or starches. Whole grains include brown rice, and wholewheat pasta. Starches encompass potatoes, beans, and squashes.
Last updated: 5 March 2021