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  • Writer's pictureLiza Klassen

Healthy Diet, Healthy Pregnancy

A recent study showed that if women, beginning in the later half of their first trimester, included the following six food groups/concepts into their diet, that they had a significant reduction in gestational diabetes, small babies, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure and other high risk pregnancy complications. Focus on these healthy foods in your diet daily.

  1. Vegetables: 12 servings per week minimum.

  2. Fruits: 12 servings per week minimum.

  3. Nuts: 3 servings per week minimum.

  4. Extra virgin olive oil: olive oil included most days of the week, and upwards of 30+ ml (2 tbsp) of olive oil daily.

  5. Oily fish: 3 servings per week minimum.

  6. Whole grain cereals and less than 2 servings per week of rice, pasta or white breads.

  7. Legumes

  8. Skimmed dairy products: 1 serving per day.

Protein in Pregnancy

Protein is an important nutrient in pregnancy. When protein levels fall below 60 grams per day, some people may be at a higher risk of pregnancy related complications and smaller for gestational age babies.

A person’s goals for protein intake during pregnancy will differ slightly based on other fueling requirements such as the number of calories needed. Most patients should aim for 20-25% of their caloric intake from protein.

Sources of protein include the following:

● eggs

● lean meats and poultry

● lean cuts of beef, pork and wild game

● turkey

● chicken

● nuts and seeds

● peanuts

● almonds

● cashews

● nut butters

● sunflower seeds

● fish and shellfish

● trout

● shrimp

● salmon

● scallops

● sardines

● mackerel

● lower fat dairy products

● milk

● yogurt

● lower sodium cheeses

● beans, peas and lentils

● brown, green or red or other lentils

● peas such as chickpeas and split peas

● dried beans such as black beans and kidney beans

● fortified soy beverages, tofu, soybeans and other soy products

Choline in Pregnancy

Choline is an essential fatty acid in pregnancy and can support the healthy neurological development of babies. Choline is abundant in eggs, and pregnant patients who consume 2-3 eggs, 3-4 x per week easily meet their choline needs. If you choose to not eat eggs in pregnancy you can choose from these sources of Choline in the diet (mg/serving)

  1. Lecithin. Use 1-2 tbsp per day in smoothies or in cereals.

  2. Chicken, liver, cooked (3 oz) 247

  3. Soy flour, defatted (1 cup) 201

  4. Salmon, sockeye, smoked (3 oz) 187

  5. Egg, whole, raw, fresh (1 large) 125

  6. Quinoa, uncooked (1/2 cup) 60

  7. Chicken, broilers or fryers, meat and skin, roasted (3 oz) 56

  8. Turkey sausage, cooked (3 oz) 55

  9. Wheat germ, toasted, plain (2 tbsp) 50

  10. Milk, nonfat, fluid, with added vitamin A (8 ounces) 38

  11. Cauliflower, cooked, boiled (1/2 cup) 24

  12. Peas, green, frozen, cooked, drained (1/2 cup) 22

  13. Bacon, pork, cured, cooked (2 pieces) 20

  14. Almonds (1 oz) 15

  15. Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained (1/2 cup) 15

  16. Frankfurter, beef (1) 15

  17. Oat bran, raw (1/2 cup) 15

  18. Pecans (1 oz) 15

  19. Tomato paste, canned (2 tbsp) 12

  20. Flaxseed (2 tbsp) 11

Choosing a Mediterranean-based diet with a focus on protein adequacy and high choline foods can help prevent negative pregnancy outcomes like gestational diabetes & hypertension, preterm birth, small for gestational age babies and preeclampsia. These simple lifestyle changes can have profound impact on you and your future babe.

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