Healthy Eating/Nutrition Points
Pregnancy is a time when you will be eating for two! Nutritional needs increase during pregnancy, and these needs can be met by eating foods that are rich in nutrients. Focus on getting a balanced diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and protein foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, dried beans and peas, lentils, eggs, nuts, or tofu. For special diet considerations, please talk to your Physician or a Registered Dietitian. It is also recommended that all pregnant women take a prenatal vitamin. For women who are not pregnant, it is still important to eat well. This provides your body with nutrient stores that will be available if you do become pregnant.
Why should you grab a glass of orange juice? Because it has folic acid! Folic acid is a B vitamin that is important for pregnant women and women of childbearing age. This vitamin helps to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. It is important to get enough of this vitamin even before becoming pregnant, to make sure you are getting enough during the time when you may not know you are pregnant. A folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms per day can be taken before and during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, folic acid should already be in your prenatal vitamin. You can also get folic acid through foods and beverages such as dried beans, fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice, and green, leafy vegetables.
Be careful in the kitchen! It is important for pregnant women to avoid getting foodborne illness if possible, as it could result in serious health concerns. By taking certain precautions, you can help to protect yourself and your developing baby. Some steps to handling food safely include washing your hands before preparing food or eating, washing fresh fruits and vegetables, using separate cutting boards for raw meats and foods that will not be cooked, cooking foods fully, and refrigerating leftovers. Make sure all meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs are cooked well. It is also a good idea to reheat deli meats before eating them. Avoid unpasteurized milk, juice, and cheeses. Another food safety concern is getting too much mercury from seafood. Fish and seafood can play a part in good nutrition, as they provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, fish and seafood can also contain chemicals such as mercury. Some fish are higher in mercury than others. It is best to eat seafood in moderation.