ENERGY IN=ENERGY OUT
Your daily intake of energy through healthy eating should balance with the energy spent on physical activity. If the intake is greater than energy spent, there is positive energy balance and weight gain. Likewise, when the energy spent is higher than the energy intake, there are negative energy balance and weight loss. During pregnancy eat healthily and stay active; do not try to lose weight. Post pregnancy, begin a healthy exercise routine that will help you lose weight in the longer term.
KNOW YOUR ENERGY GIVING FOODS
Macronutrients: provide energy (carbohydrates, proteins, fats)
Micronutrients: help in the functioning of the body (vitamins & minerals)
Ensure that you do not eat more calories than what you can burn through physical activity. If you consume more calories than what you can expend, you will end up gaining weight.
HAVE A RAINBOW ON YOUR PLATE
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal. Avoid foods that are deep fried or highly sugared sodas as they provide excessive empty calories.
NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD; SOME ARE GOOD; SOME EVEN ESSENTIAL
Healthy fats like mono and polyunsaturated fats found mainly in liquid fats like oils are good for health as they reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol. Saturated fats, which are typically solid at room temperatures like butter or ghee should be consumed in limits as they tend to raise bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol that may increase health risks.
CHOOSE YOUR SNACKS SMARTLY
Pick nutrient rich, low/med calorie, high satiety foods that keep you fuller longer. Eat often and have smaller portions if you feel nauseated. Choose lighter snacks instead of heavy greasy snacks as it may increase heartburn and gastric issues in pregnant women.
Nuts-Rich in proteins, fiber and essential fatty acids (good fats)
Dairy foods-Rich in proteins, calcium, vitamins A/D and essential fats
Eggs-Proteins, vitamin A/D and essential fats
Salads, vegetables, fruits-Fibre, Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients
Soups with vegetables-Hydration, water soluble vitamins, fiber
DON’T AVOID, TAKE SMALLER PORTIONS
Make sure you take smaller portions and enjoy a treat every now and then. Start with smaller portions, eat slowly and as our mom’s say,‘ food is not running away’. Another way to control your portions is to use smaller plates. Remember, however, in pregnancy you need 300kcal extra per day than your usual intake!
3 MEALS AND 2 HEALTHY SNACKS
Three healthy meals and two healthy snacks is a great plan for most people. 200 calories or less is sufficient for a snack. Enjoy desserts, dairy foods as extra calories are important for your growing baby and calcium from dairy foods is helpful. Watch the portions and the calories though!
CUT THE SALT!
Reduce salt intake as excessive consumption of salt raises blood pressure and increases insulin resistance. In pregnant women, excessive salt intake increases the risk of PIH (Pregnancy induced hypertension) that leads to further complications if not corrected.
WHO recommends 5g/salt per day per person. This is 1 tsp of salt from all sources. All foods contain sodium naturally-enjoy them naturally. Remove table salt. Taste food before adding salt. Avoid pickles, papad and salted snacks.
DRINK ADEQUATE FLUIDS EVERYDAY
The human body is made up of 45-70% water. Water regulates body functions and body temperature. Without water humans can survive only for a few days. A pregnant and lactating mother should take plenty of fluids including 8-12 glasses of water per day.
Drinking water reduces the risk of preterm labour and some women find that drinking water regularly helps relieve symptoms of morning sickness, acidity and heartburn and indigestion. It also helps in keeping your body cool and maintaining your temperature, especially in the hot and humid months. It helps improve lactation as well.
Fluids include water, milk, buttermilk, juices, water ice, ice cream, tender coconut water, milk shakes.
Mindfulness involves being conscious of the activity you are indulging in. Eating during times when not hungry can lead to mindless eating. It can lead to bad choices that is neither enjoyed nor nourishing. Avoid emotional eating. Enjoy eating with the family.