Pregnancy Diet

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Pregnant women should eat 1,800 to 3,000 calories per day, depending on their pre-pregnancy weight. "You're not eating for two ... or three, or four! You only need 300 more calories a day," Dr. Lisa advises. "Remember, you want to put things in your body that are going to make your baby heathy," Dr. Lisa says. Find out what you should — and shouldn't — eat while expecting.

Pregnancy Snacks

Pregnant women should eat 1,800 to 3,000 calories per day, depending on their pre-pregnancy weight. Identical triplets Erica, Jaclyn and Nicole whip up preggo-friendly snacks.

Dos and Don'ts for Pregnancy Diet
When you are pregnant, you want to make sure you are doing the right thing at each meal. Dr. Lisa explains which foods you should feel free to eat, and which you should leave off your plate when pregnant.


FOODS TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING


Eat your fruits and vegetables since they have beneficial vitamins
. Four or more servings per day is ideal.

• Whole grains - six to nine servings per day

• Dairy products - four servings per day. Dairy products like low-fat yogurt are high in calcium, which helps strengthen your baby's teeth and bones

• One serving of cooked fish per a week can help with your baby's eye and brain development

• Foods high in iron like spinach

• Foods high in folic acid like whole-grain cereals, nuts and seeds

Dr. Lisa adds, "Once a week, give into a craving. Just once a week." 

FOODS TO AVOID WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING

• Raw or undercooked fish, like sushi, or fish with high mercury levels

• Cold cuts (meats) unless they're piping hot

• Raw or undercooked eggs

• Unpastuerized cheeses or milk (due to risk of listeria)

• Raw or undercooked meat. All meat needs to be well done. 

• Unwashed vegetables 

• Liver and pâté, which contain vitamin A, and can cause birth defects

• Excessive caffeine

• Aboslutely no alcohol

The Mommy DietAlison's new book, The Mommy Diet: A Month-By-Month Plan for a Healthy Body and Mind Before, During and After Pregnancy, is a great resource for staying healthy, whether you're a new mom, mom-to-be or mom on the go!

Alison has a 2-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son, and says she learned a lot about staying healthy after her first pregnancy.

"I learned so much from my first experience about how to attack it, how to deal with it the second time," she says. "I gained less weight with my second pregnancy. Obviously, the knowledge that I learned at The Biggest Loser helped a lot ... I was able to lose the weight a lot quicker the second time, and I developed a better attitude about it with the second pregnancy, which is not to try to get back what I had before, but to be the best and healthiest me I can be today.

"The premise of The Mommy Diet is that you need to take that time for you," Alison adds. "If your kid is 2 or 20, it's still applicable. It still helps you, because you need to make that time for yourself. You can be a good role model for your kids by taking that time and emphasizing your own health."

The book is divided by trimester, and Alison shares simple tips for maintaining your health during each phase.

First Trimester: Eat a Folate-Filled SaladThe salad is easy to make and a good way to get lots of nutrients, including extra folate, into your diet.


2 cups raw spinach leaves (100 micrograms folate)

2 tbsp orange juice (10 micrograms folate)
1 tsp olive oil

1 cup whole strawberries, hulled and chopped (36 micrograms folate)

Toss the spinach leaves with the juice, oil, salt and pepper so the leaves are all lightly coated. Add the strawberries, toss gently and serve.


"This would be great
before the first trimester, when you're trying to get pregnant," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says.

Second Trimester: ExerciseExercising is vital to staying healthy during and after pregnancy. Alison and Dr. Lisa demonstrate simple exercise tips for pregnant women.


Third Trimester: Rekindle RomanceAlison stresses that keeping the romance alive during pregnancy is important to your relationship. So don't be shy and keep the passion high

Is Caffeine OK During Pregnancy?
Is that morning cup of coffee or an afternoon soda while pregnant putting your baby at risk? Caffeine is a stimulant and diuretic which increases your blood pressure, heart rate and frequency of urination, reducing body fluid levels, and can lead to dehydration. All of those are potential dangers to pregnant women and their babies. "What you put in your body goes directly to the baby," Dr. Lisa says.

Caffeine crosses the placenta, and since the baby's metabolism is still maturing, it cannot fully metabolize or handle the amounts of caffeine you may consume. "It is a stimulant, so it's going to do what it would do in your body the same as it will do in the fetus' body," Dr. Lisa says. "The information out there is that you shouldn't drink coffee because it may cause birth defects. There are no studies that show it causes birth defects in humans.

"There are also no studies that show that it affects the growth of the baby at all," Dr. Lisa adds. "We do know that after a certain amount it can affect the baby, but we're not sure in what ways. The recommendation, right now, is that you can have one cup or less than 100 mg. So one cup of coffee is fine, as long as it's not one of those big, giant bowls."

Risks of Overeating During Pregnancy
For most women, one of the perks of pregnancy is the chance to indulge in their favorite foods. But overeating for two can have deadly results. Pregnant women who are or become overweight or obese during pregnancy risk preeclampsia, diabetes, hypertension, pre-term delivery, stroke, stillbirth and increased rate of c-section and difficulties in labor. Oftentimes problems that develop during pregnancy can last a lifetime, so it’s critical to be responsible with weight, diet and exercise.

Bisphenol A (BPA) Dangers

Industrial chemical used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. High levels of BPA may lead to hormone problems, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and liver toxicity. A Johns Hopkins University Study found elevated levels of BPA in pregnant women lead to babies with smaller head circumference and lower birth weights. BPA is banned in the European Union. In the US, effort has been made to eliminate BPA from baby bottles and water bottles, but it is still found in the linings of food cans and containers.

Food Dyes
Every year, 15 million pounds of dye is put into food marketed toward children, but most people don't realize that these harmful additives have been linked to behavioral problems like ADHD and inflammatory problems such as allergies. The popular dye Red #3 has also been acknowledged by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a carcinogen, but is still found in some processed foods.

Dangerous Food Dyes to Avoid •Red #40
• Red #3
• Yellow #5
• Yellow #6

• Blue #1


Food Label Tips

The first five ingredients listed on a nutrition label are the main components of the food you're eating. Choose your foods wisely by remembering these three label tricks:
• Any ingredient that ends with "ose," such as fructose, is another word for sugar and sweeteners, and should be avoided.
• Monosodium glutamate, popularly known as MSG, is an unhealthy preservative.
• Enriched means the product lost its nutrients through processing and they are restored artificially.

More on healthy eating tips for kids.