A healthy pregnancy diet for a happy child
If you are a normal weight before pregnancy, you need only an average of 300 extra calories per day—the amount in a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich—to fuel your baby’s growth and keep you healthy during pregnancy, according to The American College Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
However, because you have a higher need for some vitamins and minerals while pregnant, your healthy pregnancy diet needs to include more nutrient-dense foods, leaving little to no room for items lacking in nutrition, such as the ones linked to mental disorders in the JAACAP study. To increase your odds of having a healthy, happy child, avoid consuming empty calories by shunning foods with added sugars, such as soft drinks and desserts, and items containing solid fats, like fried foods, whole milk, and fatty meats. Instead, focus on eating from the food groups recommended for pregnant women by the USDA:
- Vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, squash, tomatoes, kale and other greens.
- Fruit, such as cantaloupe, honeydew, mangoes, bananas, apricots, oranges and grapefruit.
- Whole grains, especially iron- and folic acid-fortified whole-grain cereals.
- Lean protein, like beans, lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, crab, salmon, trout, lean beef, lamb and pork.
When your little one begins eating solid foods, apply the same strategy, providing him with maximum nutrition and minimum empty calories.
See more: The Key to Raising Healthy Eaters