December 13, 2017 December 13, 2017

Healthy Eating, Healthy Baby

Healthy Eating, Healthy Baby: Shifting the Mindset from Dieting to Sound Nutrition!

We are always looking for ways to create better health. This is especially heightened during pregnancy, when you are called to duty and motivated by the amazing miracle taking place within. 

Yet even with the best intentions, habits like healthy eating can be difficult to implement unless you fully commit to making a sound diet part of your daily life.

Choosing to live healthy is a daily decision; the most vital and abundant individuals are those who dedicate themselves to simple, daily practices that maintain health for a lifetime. 

So what better time to start?

The trickiest part is that your efforts to eat well can get sabotaged by busy schedules and misinformation. In a society obsessed with fad diets and getting thin fast, we forget what it means to eat healthfully. 

So if you are heading into pregnancy as a lifelong dieter, it is first important to shift from this mindset to one that honors foundation nutrition.

Let's break it down into sustainable patterns.  Remember, the food you consume is more than just fuel for your body. Your diet provides the nutrients required for manufacturing hormones that control every cell, and neurotransmitters that regulate how you think and feel.   When you feel GOOD, you have more energy and inspiration to continue making good decisions.

To start, choose foods with:  

Low Glycemic Index (apples, legumes, nuts, oatmeal, plain yogurt). These foods have less impact on your blood sugar, so that you can maintain energy and avoid cycles of overeating. This will also be helpful should you experience nausea, weakness or headaches.

Healthy fats (avocados, salmon, olive oil, walnuts). "Low fat" does not equate to healthy.  Most low-fat foods are loaded with sugar and leave you feeling hungry for more fat and sweets.  Just be aware of portions, knowing that "good fats" are critical for the baby's cells and tissues, while helping to manage your blood lipids and your mood!

Nutrient-dense The body craves nutrition. When you eat "empty calories" such as heavily processed foods and sugar, your body says "nope, that's not what I'm looking for", so it sends more hunger signals.  Focus on "whole" foods, moderating the nutrient depleting items such as white rice, artificial sweeteners and commercially baked and fried foods.

Be sure to:

Time Meals/Snacks - Eat 3 small meals and 2 snacks per day, at 4-hour hour intervals. This prevents you from over eating, maintains your blood sugar and keeps you energized.  Once you're into your 10th or 11thh week, you may notice more hunger - listen to your body!  It is your best guide, so you may need more frequent, healthy snacks at 2 or 3 hour intervals.

Drink Water - Daily ounces should equal 50% of body weight. This is vital to every cell in the body, and is critical to the baby's development.  Your body is working over-time creating a new life, so lovingly provide the hydration it needs to carry out the job!  It's fine to drink flavored, unsweetened seltzer water now and then, but good old-fashioned water is best.

Consume Fiber - 20-35 grams per day.  Look for breads, cereals, pastas, whole grains, nuts and legumes that contain more than 2-3 grams of fiber per serving.  Fiber slows digestion and reduces your appetite, and will also help if constipation sets in.  You can add things like Flax meal and ground Salba (found at Whole Foods and other natural food stores) to your cereal, salads, yogurt and smoothies. (See Recipes)

Note Portions - Commit yourself to proper portions and you will be fine!  Eat when you are hungry, stop when you feel satisfied.  By doing so, you will avoid too much weight gain as well as indigestion and acid reflux. What you can hold in a cupped hand is your serving of pasta, cereal or rice - most restaurants triple or quadruple this amount! 

When you are on the road to making healthy lifestyle decisions, always consider the facts, and consult a health care practitioner as needed.  Small changes made today will create big shifts in your health tomorrow, preparing you for life as a new mom!