Goal setting for eating healthy during pregnancy
Myths of pregnancy such as 'you need to eat twice as much because you're eating for two' or that indulging your cravings will give your baby birthmarks are outdated and inaccurate.From a scientific perspective, we know what the increased nutrient demands of pregnancy are, but the wisdom of the body also tells us pregnancy is a time to focus on nourishment. It is a time for the mother-to-be to focus on being as healthy as she can because that care will translate to her baby in utero, but also, establishing healthy habits now will set a positive example that will benefit the child over their entire lifetime.
The increased caloric needs during pregnancy are minimal; about 300 extra calories are needed each day. This is equivalent to three-quarters of a blueberry muffin or 2 apples or 2 ounces of chocolate milk. However, there are also a number of micronutrients or vitamins that are needed in increased amounts. The increased requirements are not just due to the growth of the fetus. The changes in metabolism of the mother also contribute to the increased nutritional needs. The goal of healthy eating during pregnancy is to maximize micronutrient density. In other worlds, make sure you are getting maximum nutrition out of every bite and that you avoid "empty" calories. It's also important to know what to stay away from - foods that have a higher risk of food-borne illness and foods that are toxic to a developing fetus such as alcohol, mercury-containing fish, and trans fats1. For many women, taking a prenatal multivitamin can be "insurance" against bad eating days, however, it is important to remember that supplements supplement the diet; they aren't replacements for healthy eating.