When you fall pregnant there’s no need to completely overhaul your diet. To best support a growing bub, however, there are some simple nutritious tweaks you can make to help support a healthy pregnancy.
Try these 4 nutrition-boosting hacks to get your fill.
1. Swap high-energy snacks for protein-rich ones
Snacking can be the Achilles’ heel in an otherwise healthy diet, and in pregnancy there are extra drains on your energy which may heighten your desire for a quick food fix in-between meals.
Instead of hitting up the vending machine, have healthy options packed ready to go.
These might include yoghurt, boiled eggs, nuts and hard cheese which will also help you to top up your calcium intake.
2. Include fish
Including fish in your diet is recommended for its protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iodine content. Fish is also a valuable source of omega-3 fatty acids which play a role in the development of your babies’ brain, eyesight and nervous system.
Eat 2-3 serves per week and choose fish like mackerel, salmon, canned salmon and canned tuna in oil, snapper and sardines.
Limit large fish, such as marlin, swordfish, orange roughy and flake (shark). These predatory fish are at the top of the food chain, so they may contain a higher accumulation of heavy metals such as mercury.
You can get more information on mercury and fish in pregnancy from Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
3. Swap white foods for green, orange and red foods
Ditch overly processed foods that fill you up but offer little nutritional muscle, such as white bread, chips and pastry.
Instead, you’ll find nutritional goodies in colourful whole foods.
Think citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables for folic acid. ; Iron resides in lean red meat, kidney beans, beetroot and whole grains. Berries, capsicum, cauliflower and broccoli are a source of vitamin C and including nuts and seeds will provide you with a boost of minerals and vitamin E.
4. Swap juice for water
When thirst strikes, make a beeline for the tap rather than the fridge. Juice and soft drinks tend to be laden in sugar.
Eight glasses a day should serve as a good minimum, but keep an eye on your urine colour to ensure it’s not too dark, and let that be your guide.
Staying hydrated and making sure that you’re drinking enough water when your pregnant is necessary to help support the flow of nutrients to your growing baby via the placenta, help prevent swollen ankles and help support the health of your bowels.