12 ways to eat for two
Making a few simple changes to what you eat, instead of how much, helps you and baby get off to the healthiest start. Dietitian Catherine Kong shares how.
Your Old Habit: Skipping your breakfast
Switch To: Just a packet of fresh milk or yogurt
This helps to maintain and prevent a dip in your blood sugar levels that may lead to tiredness/fatigue. A high-protein, high-calcium food choice also helps to meet the needs of your growing baby.
Your Old Habit: Eating white bread, crackers and rice
Switch To: Wholemeal bread, wholemeal crackers and brown rice
Constipation is one of the main complaints of pregnant mothers. Eating unrefined grains and grain products help to ease bowel movements by absorbing water and softening stool.
Your Old Habit: Peanut butter or Nutella on toast for breakfast
Switch To: Tuna, cheese, sardines, lean chicken meat
There’s nothing wrong with consuming peanut butter or Nutella occasionally but let it not be an everyday affair. Variety plays an important role in meeting your nutritional needs. Better options as suggested help to meet certain requirements such as cheese for calcium, tuna and sardines for Omega 3 and protein as well as chicken for protein.
Your Old Habit: Drinking caffeine-based beverages such as coffee, tea and cola as pick-me-ups
Switch To: Fresh fruits
Caffeine can traverse to the baby, causing low birth weight and an increased risk of miscarriage. It is advisable to consume less than 300mg per day, which is equivalent to two small cups of regular instant coffee. Fruits are a better option because they are refreshing and high in vitamins and minerals.
Your Old Habit: Too busy for between-meal snacks
Switch To: Make sure your main meals are complete
It is alright not to have between-meal snacks as long as the main meals are complete, balanced and adequate.
Your Old Habit: Eating sushi and deli sandwiches
Switch To: Cooked food at these restaurants
Reduce risk of food-borne illnesses and bacteria from raw food, as uncooked foods are not sanitised with heat.
Your Old Habit: A nightly glass of wine or beer with dinner
Switch To: Plain water or freshly squeezed unsweetened fruit juice
Alcohol is not recommended during pregnancy as it may cause foetal alcohol syndrome which includes physical abnormalities, low birth weight, slowed growth and development, and later might even lead to mental health problems.
Your Old Habit: Eating cake, chocolate or sweet biscuits for snacks
Switch To: Milk, fruits, salads, crackers, yogurt
High-calorie snacks promote weight gain too quickly, especially in the middle of pregnancy. This will result in gestational diabetes and an overweight baby. Take sweet snacks occasionally during pregnancy as they will lead to hormonal change and an increased risk of dental problems such as caries.
Your Old Habits: Take-away dinners
Switch To: Again, make sure they are balanced and complete
Take-away dinners are fine as long as they are balanced and complete. This means at least one carbohydrate option (such as rice, bread, noodles or potato), one source of protein (chicken, fish, beef) and a generous size serving of vegetables.
Your Old Habit: Forgetting your vegetables
Switch To: Make sure greens are a must-have on your plate. Start eating at least three servings of vegetables everyday. (1 serving = 1 cup uncooked or ½ cup cooked vegetables)
Vegetables are packed with nutrients such as vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy well-being. It is also loaded with fibre, which aids digestion and prevents constipation.
Your Old Habit: Having a cup of juice instead of a piece of fruit
Switch To: Fresh fruits
Fruit juices are usually void of fibre and hence, the added benefit of fibre from fruits which promotes a healthy digestion, would be lost. Fibre also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut through prebiotic. Fruit juices purchased from supermarkets with no-added sugar contain a high level of fruit sugar, compared to eating a piece fruit, as it takes a large volume of fruit to produce a glass of juice. In addition, fresh fruits also provide the feeling of fullness to get you through the day.
Your Old Habit: Not drinking enough water
Switch To: Drink at least two litre of water per day
Adequate water maintains adequate blood volume which is necessary for the growing foetus, helps flush out toxins, prevents dehydration and constipation as well as maintains healthy blood pressure.