nutrition for mamas
Hi friends! Jessi here:)
So before the whole bedrest shenanigans started, my friend Lauren and I started collaborated on a series called "fit pregnancy". I was going to write some biographical stuff about my unhealthy pregnancies of the past & what I was doing to make this one a little different and she as a registered dietician, was going to fill in all the wise-nutritional advice.
Welp. Now I've got nothing to say:) I won't be running the 10k I'd planned to run in October and I'm just hoping to get cleared for making dinner for my family or an occasional walk around the block with my kiddos! But also, as of right now, my nutrition is super, super important. Eating the right things is one of the best ways I can grow this babe as healthy as possible and so I'm super thankful for Lauren's willingness to still do her side of the post!
So this is for all mamas - pregnant or not. Lauren is giving us lots of advice on getting what we need nutrition wise and I am super grateful!
I'm so so happy and honored to be here today to talk about nutrition and lifestyle choices during pregnancy. I am a Registered Dietitian who learned first hand 2 years ago that eating healthy during pregnancy isn't nearly as easy as I told soon-to-be mamas it was.
I lived off of grilled cheese, french fries, slurpees, and milkshakes during the bulk of my pregnancy. Oh it was bad, and I definitely took a lot of heat about it at the lunch table from my dietitian co-workers. They were appalled at my diet and understandably so. But here's the thing – it was hard to eat well while pregnant, at least to me, plus I had a hard time tolerating the healthy food. Mostly I struggled with getting my act together to eat better. I knew it was bad, and I wanted to do better for my child. But I was stuck. I want to share with you some things I've learned both as a nutrition professional and a mama.
After I met my little man and realized the amazing gift of life that he is, I vowed I wouldn't treat my body like that again, especially with baby inside. Lord-willing we will have more babies, and I will eat better. Not perfect - I never do - but better. So please hear me, when I say I understand how hard it is.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind during pregnancy [and before & after, too].
*The most important things for moms to know about their own nutrition in the midst of caring for others
As moms we tend to take care of everyone else before ourselves, but when it comes to nutrition during pregnancy, it's important to take the time to take care of our own bodies, too. We need to be well-fueled to care for those in our lives that we love, both inside and outside of our bellies! I have found the best way to do this is to make a plan ahead of time. That may mean planning out meals, packing or preparing lunches the night before, or buying food at the grocery store that helps you to easily get good nutrition in.
Nutrition is not an all or nothing kind of thing. We tend to think that just because we don't get all of our fruits and veggies in every day or don't have 6 small meals a day [seriously, how many moms get meals to themselves anyway, let alone six??] we're not on track nutritionally. Do things that work with your lifestyle - for me, that means limiting my afternoon Diet Coke pick-me ups and trying to replace it with more water. A big help for pregnant mamas is to keep a healthy snack in your purse, so you have something healthy on hand when hunger hits. This helps eliminate those fast food drive-thru runs when you're out and about.
*The biggest things we should be avoiding
Watch out for false claims and fad diets, especially during pregnancy. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Packaged foods that claim to be the next best thing usually don't have the beneficial nutrients that you'd get from snacking on fruits or vegetables.
Fad diets give big promises but they aren't healthy and cannot be sustained. Stay away from these diets and instead focus on making healthy decisions that work with your life.
*Nutrition-related things that we should NOT be worrying about
Quantity over quality. So many women worry about that calorie number - 2200, 2000, 1800 [or whatever their number is] calories in a day. Many women count everything they eat but don't focus on what they're eating. As part of a well-balanced and healthy diet, what we're eating matters, too - not just the number of calories. It's not doing our bodies as much good to stick to 2000 calories a day from snack foods as it would to focus on eating whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and lean protein every day.
I think when it comes to nutrition most of us want to do it all. We want to make a big, radical change that happens fast but sticks with us and our families forever. That's not realistic. I'm a huge fan of small changes. For example, try serving fruit for dessert with a meal for a healthy change. Or if you're one to usually skip breakfast, try starting your day off with a healthy breakfast of low-fat yogurt and blueberries. And don't worry if you have an unhealthy meal on occasion. My family? We love pizza and wings, so we don't stress about it when we occasionally splurge on those things [especially with pregnant cravings]. We try to eat a generally healthy diet, which allows room for some splurge food and desserts.
Give yourself some grace during this time. We all know it's so important for our babies to eat well during pregnancy, so celebrate the healthy choices you make but allow yourself to indulge in those cravings sometimes.
*Setting an example
The best thing about taking care of ourselves is that it sets a great example for our kids, too. When they see us eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, it paves the way for them to do it, too. They see that it's important to take care of ourselves and make nutrition a priority.
This can be a tough path to walk down at times, so it's nice to have some resources at our hands. The United States Department of Agriculture has a great site with lots of science-based, reliable nutrition information. It can be found at choosemyplate.gov. There you can even track your intake - if you want.
You can also find nutrition information at these sites:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at eatright.org.
I blog at adventuresofjackandme.wordpress.com where I try to share about nutrition and healthy eating in the midst of everyday life. I try to post easy recipes that add nutritional value without a lot of work or time.
A word of warning - be cautious as you seek nutritional advice online- make sure it is coming from someone who is trained and knowledgeable in the field.
Jessi, thank you so much for having me here today, and thank you all for reading along!