Whilst exercise is important, dietary intervention has a greater impact on your health during pregnancy. However, if you’re like a lot of women, you get to lunch time and hunger takes over, causing you to grab the first thing in arm’s reach – add in the exhaustion of pregnancy, and it’s a recipe for disaster! I recommend introducing a meal plan into your daily life for exactly this reason. The goal of meal planning during pregnancy is not to lose weight – it’s to dedicate some time towards nourishing your baby. Keep reading for some dos and don’ts when creating your meal plan.
- Start early! Get into good habits as soon as possible to set yourself up for the coming months of pregnancy
- Plan realistic meals in line with your weekly schedule and energy levels
- Include all the core food groups – wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, healthy oils and lean protein sources – and aim for three serves each of red meat, fish and legumes every week
- Write a shopping list and stick to it – no more spontaneous chocolate bars in the trolley!
- Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season
- Pay attention to the packaging of foods to choose the best brand
- Be aware of portion sizes
- Make eating a priority
- Eat every 3-5 hours, starting with breakfast. You may find eating smaller meals more regularly is helpful when experiencing morning sickness or reflux
- Consult with a dietitian if you are concerned about your diet
- Skip meals to avoid excess weight gain
- Follow fad or detox diets – it is important to get adequate nutrients for the development of your baby and these types of diets rarely do the job
- Cut out any food groups – instead, consume healthy fats found in fish or nuts, natural sugars found in fruit and low-fat diary like milk or yoghurt
- Give up because you fell off the horse – jump back on and give it another shot!
By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to a more nutritious pregnancy – your body (and your baby!) will thank you for it. If you’re feeling inspired and want to get started right away, check out my YouTube video for a step-by-step run through of how to set up your meal plan. For meal and snack ideas that take the half the work out of healthy eating, register for my FREE 7 Day Pregnancy Meal Planner.
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