- Women's Health»
Nutrition during Pregnancy
Your daily diet during Pregnancy
The best gift a mother can give to her baby is a good start in life.
It is important for a pregnant woman to eat well balanced meals comprising of food from all food groups.
Good nutrition is important for a healthy pregnancy. Eating the right foods can ultimately affect the health of you and your baby.
However how can you be ensure that you're eating the right foods? Choosing widely from the food listed under each of the following food group will ensure your diet remains well balance throughout your pregnancy.
Rice & Rice Alternatives
Foods from this group include rice, pasta, noodles, cereals, bread and other starchy foods. These are good sources of energy, therefore a large proportion of your diet should comprise food from this category. As well as energy, they also supply you with B vitamins, minerals like iron and zinc, fiber and a minor protein. Try to include whole-grain breads or brown rice products in your diet.
Fruit & Vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of many critical vitamins and minerals, as well as supplying fiber for roughage. Especially these food types contain carotenoids (which are used to form vitamin A), the B vitamin, vitamin C and vitamin E. Minerals include potassium, calcium and magnesium among others.
Eat a wide variety of vegetables to get the most nutritional value from vegetables. Include green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kalian and kangkung as they tend to be higher in certain nutrients in comparison with other types of vegetables. Avoid over-cooking vegetables as this destroys the vitamins.
Fruit, particularly citrus fruit like oranges, is a good source of vitamin C which usually helps iron absorption. Eating fresh fruit with its edible skin will also provide you with fiber.
Milk & Milk Products
Milk, cheese and yogurt are rich sources of calcium and provide other essential nutrients like protein, vitamins A and D, and some B vitamins. Choose low fat or nonfat milk and milk products if you are concerned about gaining too much weight.
Meat & Meat Alternatives
Foods in the meat group are from animal sources, for example lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and seafood. They are major sources of protein, B vitamin and minerals like iron and zinc. Lean red meats are the best source of iron, but remember that most meats contain moderate to high amounts of fat. Use the leanest cuts available or trim off the excess fat before cooking.
Meat alternatives include plant food such as bean curd, legumes (peas and beans), nuts and seeds, all of which provide protein, vitamins and minerals. Note that nuts and seeds contain moderate amounts of fat.
Try to have a combination of meat and legumes in your diet. Both are rich sources of important nutrients but should only be consumed in moderate amounts.
This category includes fats (e.g. margarine, butter), oils, salt and sugar, as well as foods and seasonings which contain them.
Consume only minimal amounts of these food types, but do not totally avoid them as they provide some fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D and E, and also essential fatty acids.