As the old saying goes, you should ‘eat for two’ during your pregnancy. But should you really?
Here are MM’s tips for eating healthily and feeding your growing baby without piling on the pounds….
First of all, let’s look at the facts.
A pregnancy is divided into three stages, or trimesters, each of which is about thirteen weeks long.
During the first trimester, you’ll experience very little weight gain – most of the changes taking place are with your baby. During this time you’ll probably put on no more than five pounds (2.25kg) and your abdomen will only grow a little.
During the second trimester, the average weight gain is a total of 17 to 24 pounds (7.65 to 10.8kg), while in the third and final trimester your baby will put on a great deal of weight, even if you don’t. Total weight gain by delivery time is generally around 25 to 35 pounds (11.25 to 15.75kg) for the average woman.
There’s no doubt that many women put on excessive weight during pregnancy and, to be fair, who can blame them? Pregnancy is a time for indulging yourself, putting your feet up and generally being pampered. But, at the same time, you don’t want to give yourself weight problems that may continue after delivery. So, how do you go about ensuring that your baby is thriving, without gaining excess pregnancy weight?
Here are our top tips:
* Go shopping for food on a full stomach
It’s regularly trotted out by dieticians and food experts, but, let’s face it, it’s true! You should never go shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll only buy lots of scrummy things that you’ll devour as soon as you get home!
* Choose foods that are low in fat and sugar
During pregnancy it’s more important than ever to choose foods that have low fat and sugar levels, so it’s vital to read the labels. If you eat something that has a higher-than-average sugar content, try to eat something nutritious alongside it – a glass of milk, for example. This will ensure that your blood sugar levels don’t ‘spike’ and stimulate fat storage. Try and veer more towards foods that are high in fibre, as these tend to make you feel fuller and help to remove excess fat.
* Drink eight glasses of water a day
Often quoted, but true every time. Often when you feel ‘hungry’ you’re actually just dehydrated. So, if you’re eating everything that you should, and you’re still hungry, then you may need to drink more water.
* Draw up a menu plan
Compiling a menu plan on a weekly basis will help you to plan what you are going to eat – and what you are going to buy! If you take a packed lunch to work, planning ahead will allow you to resist the urge to splurge out when the hot food van stops outside, or when the sandwich trolley comes round! Healthy snacks, such as carrot sticks, fruit and rye or wholegrain crackers will allow you snack to your heart’s content – without the guilt!
* ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord, dine like a pauper’.
Again, old but true. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – particularly when you are pregnant, so you should try to eat a nutritious breakfast. Skipping breakfast may make you feel light-headed around mid-morning.
* Grill, don’t fry!
How you cook is almost as important as what you cook. Frying is out of the question, so always go for the boiling, steaming or roasting options. Where possible, go for the raw option – you can’t beat it for sheer old-fashioned goodness!
* Eat in before dining out!
Sounds a bit silly, but if you have something to eat before you head out, you’re less likely to pig out once you hit the restaurant!
* Avoid people who encourage you to pile the weight on!
Unfortunately, people will often encourage pregnant women to eat everything that they want to eat themselves! Human nature being what it is, you need to politely say thanks, but no thanks! Remember – they won’t be the one hitting the gym in a few months’ time, trying to shift the excess weight!
All of these hints and tips may sound simple – and perhaps a little old-fashioned – but, if you follow them, you’ll stop yourself from gaining unwanted pregnancy weight that you may find hard to shift even when you’re cuddling ten pounds of it!