Pregnancy diet: What you should and shouldn’t be eating
How do you know what your pregnancy diet should include? Well Amelia Phillips, a registered nutritionist, trainer and Co-Founder of health and fitness program Voome, has answered all of our questions about what a pregnancy diet should and shouldn’t include.
Check out your new pregnancy diet cheat sheet below, courtesy of Amelia Phillips...
What foods should pregnant women avoid in their diet?
Basically, any foods where there could be an increased risk of some of the nastier bacteria such as listeria and salmonella (as this can harm both mother and baby).
Processed meats (ham, salami, mortadella) unless cooked at high temperature and eaten immediately.
Raw meat and seafood - cooked is fine.
Shellfish - Unless cooked and eaten immediately. For example, you shouldn’t eat raw oysters but cooked hot mussels are fine (the cooking kills the bugs).
Raw eggs (so no chocolate mousse), but cooked eggs are fine. In fact, new research shows that the yolk can remain runny providing there were no cracks in the eggs before cooking.
Soft cheese such as brie, camembert, ricotta, feta (unless cooked to high temp).
Processed cheeses like cottage or cream cheese are fine if eaten within two days of opening.
Soft serve ice-cream (packaged ice-cream is fine but don't go overboard!)
Sprouts (such as alfalfa) - The bugs thrive in sprouts
Be careful of any foods sitting in Bain Maries in food courts or pre-packaged at cafes. The nasty bugs thrive in warm temperatures (5-50 degrees). Use your discretion about the food handling in shops.
Alcohol and large doses of caffeine (one coffee per day fine).
Are there certain foods that are more likely to give you morning sickness?
Absolutely not. However small frequent light healthy snacks can help relieve the symptoms. My go to’s include multigrain toast, corn or rice cakes, air-popped popcorn, and bananas.
What are the best foods for pregnant women to include in their diet?
Big life changes such as moving house, a new job and pregnancy have been shown to be ideal times for successful habit changes. Pregnancy is the perfect time to adopt healthier habits, both you and bub will benefit and maintaining appropriate weight gain can make the pregnancy more comfortable and safer. Your body is demanding so many more nutrients from your diet, and baby takes priority so your body delivers vital nutrients to bub first then you. Therefore your motto should be ‘eat nutrients for two’ not ‘eat for two.’
Stick to whole foods as much as possible, minimise foods from a packet. Apart from all the usual healthy suspects (veggies, fruit, lean proteins), there are a few particularly important foods to include.
Iron-rich foods: Lean red meat (twice per week), dark green leafies, broccoli, legumes and iron-fortified cereals.
Omega-rich foods: Oily fish (cooked - such as salmon, sardines), walnuts, eggs, olive oil and green leafies. You can take a fish oil supplement but check with your doctor because it is not recommended with some pregnancy conditions (such as blood conditions).
Good quality carbohydrates: Grainy bread and low sugar/high fibre cereals are important not just for the high fibre (helps with constipation) but also they are fortified with iodine which is crucial for a healthy pregnancy.
More green veggies: Any green veggie is really the silver bullet of health for Pregnancy.
From iron to folate to fibre and a myriad of anti-inflammatory properties, this really is your pregnancy secret weapon. Each meal, try to sneak in something green (wilted spinach or avo for breakfast), a fresh green juice, frozen peas with some olive oil and almond slivers, just make it happen!
Should your diet change at different points/trimesters throughout your pregnancy?
The only real change throughout the trimesters is energy requirements. In the first trimester, your energy needs barely change so you don’t need to eat more. The challenge here is managing fatigue, morning sickness and cravings from hormonal changes. Find healthy versions of your cravings foods (popcorn instead of crisps, low fat choc milk instead of a choc bar).
Trimester two energy needs increase to an extra 340 calories per day (equivalent to three bananas) and trimester three around 450 calories per day (around a main meal). Heavier people require less than this. Keep an eye on iron and sugar intake as the pregnancy progresses, keep iron intake up and sugar intake low as you progress.
Why do pregnant women get cravings? And how should they approach cravings – should they just listen to their body or follow a strict diet instead?
Being a mum of four I can tell you that those cravings are real and can consume you!
Instead of fighting them (you won’t win!), find healthy versions to satisfy them. Here are my go-to cravings swaps that worked for me and my clients:
Chocolate - swap for a good quality chocolate milk drink powder (the healthy chef does a great one). It’s much lower in calories and higher in nutrients. Or dipping fruit in dark chocolate is a great alternative too.
Sweet treat - Swap for jam on grainy toast
Ice cream - Yoghurt and fruit or homemade rice pudding
Crisps - Popcorn or nuts
Hot chips: Homemade veggie chips (slice with mandolin, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle of dried paprika and 5 minutes in the oven).
What is an ideal ‘day on a plate’ for a pregnant woman?
Breakfast - Alternate porridge with fruit and eggs, spinach, baked beans on toast
Morning tea - Rice cakes with carrots and cashew nut butter
Lunch - Toasted spinach cheese and tomato sandwich
Afternoon tea - Unsweetened yoghurt with fruit and nuts
Dinner - Protein and veggies (red meat twice per week, oily fish twice per week)
You can find out more about Amelia and her Voome Kickstarter Program and Power through Pregnancy Program at www.voome.com.au.
What did your pregnancy diet consist of? Did you have pregnancy cravings?