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Eating for Two
by Rebecca Garland

One of the greatest parts of pregnancy is the freedom to eat. At least that is what it would seem before you actually become pregnant. From the time you start to actually work to conceive or find that you’ve become pregnant, your diet becomes almost obsessive as you work to get in everything you should and keep out everything that is forbidden or just in poor taste, pun intended.

Perceptions of Pregnancy
Many mothers who have dieted over the years prior to pregnancy are excited at the prospect of midnight ice cream runs and double helpings of the comfort foods. For the first time, they will be allowed to gain weight and then losing the weight again will be simple with the help of breastfeeding and all the stroller pushing you’ll be doing.

Not to burst the bubble of anyone excited about eating for two, but in truth you only get to eat about 250 more calories a day than you currently consume to maintain a healthy weight. That’s less than a candy bar. And breastfeeding is not a given to removing the weight again. For some mothers, breastfeeding can make the body retain fat as if it thinks it’s still in some stage of pregnancy.

The Real Pregnancy Diet
It’s only natural for women who have controlled their weight fanatically over the years to obsess about their weight as they start to watch the scale go up. This is not a time to be obsessive about weight as it will go up unless you are working to harm your baby by not gaining enough healthy weight. Instead, transfer that energy into making sure that you are eating the right things.

The Good Stuff
The first trimester is tricky when it comes to a good diet. With morning sickness and fatigue almost overwhelming you, it’s acceptable to eat what stays down and feels good. Just don’t overdo your portion size. When your tummy finishes its drama, bring up the balance until you’re eating a balanced diet high in proteins. Skip the empty carbs and opt for things that have plenty of vitamins and nutrients for your child. Remember, he gets his food through you – so you really are eating for two, even if you’re not eating much more.

Your body is working hard to keep fat on as it helps the milk supply later, so if you eat more than you need to, you can bet that the extra food will become fat. That fat might also be a bit harder to lose than you expect as it’s of a different variety. Skip the foods that just produce calories with no nutrients, but do eat plenty of healthy fats. Fat is one of the major ingredients necessary to build a healthy brain for your baby.

The Bad Stuff
Empty calories are always bad, but in pregnancy there is an ever-growing list of things that pregnant woman should eat in moderation or not at all. Some of the more common things on the list include:

  • Any amount of alcohol
  • Soft cheeses
  • Cold deli meat or hot dogs
  • Raw fish or shellfish
  • Raw or rare meats
  • Fish high in mercury such as tuna
  • Smoked seafood
  • Raw eggs
  • Non-pasteurized milk or juice
  • Pate
  • Unwashed vegetables
  • Caffeinated drinks (in extreme moderation)
  • Artificial sweeteners (in moderation)

As always please check with your Doctor with any questions or concerns before making any decisions.

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