Smart Eating For Two

Healthy food choices during pregnancy will help with proper weight gain

The cravings are real.

From ice cream to pickles to fried food, when you’re pregnant, a desire for unhealthy and sometimes strange food is a part of the process. The old adage that you are “eating for two” may alleviate some anxiety about weight gain, but that mindset actually doesn’t work if you are not consciously choosing a balance of healthy options.

“It’s really important to focus on making sure you are eating a balanced meal – having fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein in your diet,” says Bentley Danello, RD, LD, education specialist in disease management and registered dietitian with St. Joseph’s/Candler.

Frequent, small meals with lots of protein and fiber will help women maintain the healthy, proper amount of additional calories during pregnancy. Danello admits, however, that fatigue from pregnancy may create a want for fried foods and other high-carb items.“We digest carbohydrates differently when we are pregnant, so it’s really important throughout your whole pregnancy that you focus on eating a healthy diet and not consuming large amounts of carbs,” Danello says.

Still, the cravings will come. Danello herself has a sweet tooth and suggests making some alternative choices when a craving becomes strong. For example, if you really want chocolate, add some chocolate chips to trail mix, or eat a bite-sized piece of dark chocolate rather than indulging in a giant candy bar.

“Having options to combat the cravings is the key,” Danello says.

A balanced diet during pregnancy needs to include:

Calcium, found in

  • Dairy
  • Leafy greens
  • Beans

Folic Acid, found in

  • Whole grain foods
  • Fruits and veggies

Omega-3, found in

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Flaxseeds, walnuts

Choline, found in

  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Garbanzo beans, lima bean, lentils

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