Tips for a healthy diet during pregnancy

Tips for a healthy diet during pregnancy


When I was writing this article, I was nicely settling into my 40-weeks pregnant, waiting for the baby to come… The feature picture of te article was taken at exactly 39 weeks and 5 days.

I have nothing to complain about during these 40 weeks, which I realized is pretty rare (and I’m really grateful for) and I’ve been enjoying a pregnancy where I could carry on with most of my activities:

  • Sports & exercising (cross fit and weight lifting with Dick from Vondel Fysio until week 35 and Mom in Balance still),
  • Work (until week 35),
  • Social activities and what not

I’ve decided to write a blog post about one of the 2 major reasons that I find helped me throughout this pregnancy: a healthy and balanced diet (the other one being sports – another detailed article to follow).

Being careful with my diet made me feel both healthy and happy with the way I was looking throughout my pregnancy. As with most expectant moms, you aim to gain a ‘normal’ amount of weight that is healthy for you and the baby and which takes into account your BMI before getting pregnant. There are many websites that calculate a ‘normal’ amount of weight that you should be gaining during pregnancy. This is the one I used, but I also suggest you read this article beforehand too. According to the BMI calculator I was at a normal weight before pregnancy, thus should have gained between 11.5kg to 16kg by delivery. When I reached week 40, I was at 11,3 kg weight gain and I felt just perfect.

Since I found out I was pregnant I’ve been going through crazy amounts of research about what one should and should not eat while pregnant. I did take into account the general rules (no red meat, soft cheeses, raw eggs, etc.), but I opted for a balanced diet that I thought was healthy. I did have my cheat meals (or desserts – thanks, God, for the ice-cream machine), but I tried to balance it all out.

Here are the main foods I included in my pregnancy diet:

  • Oatmeal – I would have it even up to 5 times a week during breakfast and top it with chia seeds, flax seeds, bananas, kiwis, berries (or any other mix I felt like during that particular morning).
  • Spinach – had crazy amounts of it – either in home-made juices (my favorite being a mix of spinach, lemon, kiwi, fresh curcuma root, a bit of ginger and almond milk) or lunch salads.
  • Water – I don’t think I’m exaggerating when saying I drank on average 3 liters of water per day.
  • Anchovies – I preferred anchovies over any other ‘allowed’ fish, even if I had weekly servings of salmon too. I ate anchovies on a piece of toast with boiled egg or just top my salads with it.
  • Avocado – This was new to me. I don’t like avocado in general, but knowing how beneficial it is for the diet (especially the one of a pregnant woman), I started eating avocado. I have to admit that, surprisingly, I grew to like it ;))
  • Fruits in general, but especially mangoes, kiwis and bananas
  • Eggs – I had on average 1 to 2 boiled eggs per day
  • Lean meat (from chicken and turkey, to lamb and beef)
  • Beans – I eat decent amounts of hummus following this great Jamie Oliver recipe I’ve been making every 2 weeks or so. But also black and white beans and lots of lentils.
  • Nuts especially walnuts – Nuts in general are very nourishing for the body but walnuts are even more important as they are extremely good for the brain. So, if you want a naturally intelligent child, you know what to do ;))

There are also foods I avoided (except the ones you hear about in all do-not pregnancy diets):

  • Salt – especially because it helps retain water. I have to say I had only 2 days of pregnancy when I had water retainance in my fingers and feet.
  • Deep-fried food
  • Processed meat
  • Pork (I did eat pork, but in extremely small quantities)

I feel that these are not only pregnancy food choices, but should also be general guidelines for a balanced and healthy diet. Thus, I expect this list of foods to be inspiring whether or not you are pregnant. In case you are though, I wish you a lovely and healthy pregnancy all together and happy children :)

All my love,

Manu

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