Glow While You Grow! Guest Post by Laura Clark

Glow while you grow

Achieving a good quality diet provides your body and your growing baby with what is needed for a healthy, safe pregnancy full of vitality! Here are some top tips to keep you glowing inside and out.

Make friends with carbohydrates

Carbs are not evil as many people are lead to believe! They provide energy for daily life and are the only fuel the brain can utilise quickly. In pregnancy, carbs are even more important to regulate your blood glucose levels, helping to prevent slumps in energy which can be common! Include some at every meal covering about a third of your plate for example wholemeal bread, rice, pasta, bulgar wheat or crisp-breads.

Snack wisely

You’ll need snacks if going for longer than three hours between meals. Excessive unhealthy snacking will of course make you prone to taking on board more calories than you need but planned, healthy snacks are essential to keep your nutrition topped up. Try plain popcorn, fruit, low fat yoghurt or a crumpet with low fat spread.

Count to three for the perfect balance

Try to include a food from the 3 most important food groups at each meal – a carbohydrate such as wholegrain bread, pasta, cous cous or rice, a protein such as fish, chicken, eggs or baked beans and some fruit and/or veg.

If you’re used to buying your lunch from a sandwich shop, remember bought salads and sandwiches are often not very balanced. For a truly balanced meal, build it yourself!

Pump some iron

Not down the gym you’ll be pleased to hear but iron is an important pregnancy mineral – essential for the increased blood supply. Choose red meat at least once a week and plenty of iron-rich foods; fortified breakfast cereal is ideal – even dry as a snack. Have spinach leaves in sandwiches and salads instead of traditional ‘iceberg’ and throw dried fruit into salads or as a mid-morning snack.

Feed your bones

Your baby will grab all the calcium it needs leaving your bones depleted if you don’t take in enough through your diet. Low fat dairy products are the best source – aim for three portions a day. Milky drinks can provide one portion or have yoghurt as a dessert. Pre-wrapped cheese portions are also ideal as a nourishing snack.

Feed up on folate

Whilst trying to conceive and in early stages of pregnancy folic acid is recommended to help prevent neural tube defects. Folate remains essential throughout pregnancy to support baby’s growth. Asparagus, and kidney beans are a couple of great sources – both of which could be thrown into a chilli or bolognaise sauce for an extra folate kick.

Find the sun… and some fish or eggs

A 10 micrograms vitamin D supplement is recommended during pregnancy. In the absence of some decent sunshine, which usually keeps levels topped up, use your diet for a boost – oily fish once a week – and eggs whenever you like. Eggs are a great nutrition powerhouse – a source of protein, iron and vitamin D so include them for a lazy weekend breakfast.

Written By Laura Clark ( Dietitian)

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