During pregnancy, women tend to place the health and welfare of their unborn babies at the top of their priority list. But with all the preparing and worrying and excitement that come along with having a new baby, it can be easy to forget that the health of the mother is just as important.
One of the easiest ways to increase the chances of a problem-free pregnancy for expecting mothers is to eat a healthy diet. In addition to being key for mothers, a healthy diet is critical to a baby’s growth and development.
Nearly all women need to add more of these to their diet when they’re expecting:
- protein – the amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body, too
- vitamins and minerals – such as folic acid for baby’s brain health and iron for mom’s hemoglobin production
- calories – for energy
When it comes to how MUCH the mother-to-be needs to eat during pregnancy, you might be surprised.
If you start your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you don’t need any additional calories in the first trimester. In the second trimester, you only need about 340 extra calories – or, for example, a fruit smoothie made with 2% milk.
And in the third trimester, when the baby is doing most of his growing, you need an additional 450 calories, which is the equivalent of a blueberry muffin from Starbucks.
However, if you’re underweight or overweight, you’ll need more or less than this, depending on your weight gain goal. More
Have you heard? March is National Nutrition Month!
Each March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages Americans to return to the basics of healthful eating through National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives.
“This year’s ‘Savor the Flavor of Eating Right’ National Nutrition Month theme is a great reminder for everyone to develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods, while also taking the time to enjoy everything that a healthful and tasty meal brings with it,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton.
“Slowing down and taking time to appreciate the positive emotions that accompany mealtime are important steps to developing a sustainable healthy eating plan,” Crayton said. “The knowledge and experience of registered dietitian nutritionists is one of the best tools for striking that balance between creating a healthy lifestyle that includes the foods and activities we enjoy with those we need.”
As part of this public education campaign, the Academy’s website (eatright.org) includes a variety of helpful articles, recipes, videos and educational resources, all designed to spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. More
The U.S. government recently announced its latest dietary guidelines, which recommend a “healthy eating pattern” with limited sugar and saturated fat, less salt and more vegetables and whole grains.
For the first time, the government put a cap on sugar, saying added sugar should make up only 10% of your daily calories.
Also for the first time, the government has removed the limit on cholesterol.
The new guidelines continue to emphasize eating protein from seafood, lean meat and poultry. There is a specific mention of eating at least 8 ounces of seafood per week. The guidelines also single out males for eating too much protein.
The guidelines recommend eating 2½ cups of a wide variety of vegetables from all the subgroups of colors and starches a day. The suggested two cups of fruit a day, with half coming in the form of whole fruit, provides many essential vitamins and some have high fiber, which helps with digestion.
The guidelines suggest you get 10% of your daily calories from “good” fat, which includes heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids like the kind found in some fish.
According to CNN: These are general suggestions on what you should eat to avoid disease and to maintain a healthy weight. As the guidelines said, this is a “healthy eating pattern” rather than a “rigid prescription” and “an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget.”
If you have a chronic condition or special dietary restrictions, you’ll need to see what works best for you. More
To see the guidelines in their entirety, visit this site.
Do you still have your un-carved Halloween pumpkins on your front porch? If so, you’re not the only one! If you’re like a lot of folks, you don’t know what to do with that pretty, orange vegetable.
Just some food for thought: have you ever considered eating it?
There are many creative ways pumpkin can be incorporated into your diet, which includes soups, salads, preserves and, of course, desserts!
According to the USDA National Nutrient database, one cup of pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt contains 49 calories, 1.76 grams of protein, 0.17 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol and 12 grams of carbohydrate (including 2.7 grams of fiber and 5.1 grams of sugar).
Consuming just one cup of cooked, canned pumpkin provides the following:
- more than 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A
- 20% of the daily value for vitamin C
- 10% or more for vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese
- 5% for thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Eating a diet rich with a variety of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. And studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods – such as pumpkin – decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, overall lower weight.
Now that you know all the amazing benefits of pumpkins, maybe next year you’ll get two – one to carve and one to eat! More
November is the unofficial start to the holiday season, and along with gifts and gatherings, the holidays also bring with them calories. Lots and lots of calories in the form of Christmas cookies and Thanksgiving pies and everything in between.
All these extras add up, and if you’re like most Americans, you’ll put on a pound or two by New Year’s Day.
So what’s the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it’s just a pound? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.
In fact, researchers found that half of annual weight gain in the U.S. occurs during the holiday period.
WebMD has some great, common sense ways for you to keep from gaining weight this holiday season.
Never Arrive Hungry
New York psychologist Carol Goldberg, PhD, says planning ahead can help you maintain discipline in the face of temptation. “Don’t go to a party when you’re starving,” she warns.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. “It’s not just about calories but about control,” Finn explains. “If you drink a lot you, won’t have as much control over what you eat.”
Walk it Off
Make a new holiday tradition: the family walk. Besides burning some extra calories, this will get everyone away from the food for awhile.
Visit WebMD for the rest of their tips to avoid holiday weight gain. More