How to eat a healthy diet without gaining excess weight in pregnancy

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Are you pregnant and torn between wanting to eat so that your baby is born healthy – and not wanting to eat so that you don’t become fat?

Well, there is a way to eat for two without gaining excess weight.

Read on to find out.

Facts about weight gain in pregnancy:

  1. It is impossible to go through pregnancy without gaining some weight.
  2. Eating for two does not mean eating double the quantity of food. Do not eat 2 ice creams instead of one. Check this link to understand the hunger pangs that you should avoid.
  3. Nutrient requirements do increase during pregnancy and not taking in the right nutrients can lead to long term health problems for your baby. Never go on a restrictive or crash diet during pregnancy.
  4. Packaged and processed foods are just empty calories. They have none of the nutrients that you and your baby need. They just make you fat. As far as possible eat food freshly cooked at home.
  5. The nutrient requirement slowly increases as your baby grows and is maximum in the third trimester. You need not eat double the quantity you eat as soon as you become pregnant.
  6. It is important to focus on the nutrients in the food you eat rather than the actual quantity of food eaten. Educate yourself about the nutrient content of various foods. Check this link to know all about having a healthy breakfast during pregnancy.
  7. Pay special attention to micronutrients i.e.- vitamins and minerals when you plan your meals. Many physiological pathways can be disrupted by a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. This can influence how your baby develops.
  8. Reduce your stress so that you do not crave junk food.
  9. Plan healthy snacks so that you can eat a healthy meal every 2 hours. Small frequent healthy meals ensure that you get all the nutrients without gaining excess weight.

Nutrients required in pregnancy:

  1. Carbohydrates 
  2. Proteins
  3. Fats especially DHA and EPA. Check this link to know in detail about the fats that you should add to your diet.
  4. Vitamins – Folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin D
  5. Minerals – Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Chromium, Copper

How to eat a nutrient rich diet that will not result in excess weight gain:

  • Make rotis with whole wheat atta, jowar or bajra
  • Eat brown or red rice instead of white rice
  • At every meal eat different whole, unrefined, unpolished dals like green moong, whole masoor, Kabuli chana, rajma, cowpeas, horse gram
  • Have a bowl of green leafy vegetables at each meal
  • Eat different coloured vegetables at each meal so that you are eating a rainbow through the week
  • Eat different colored fruits through the week including citrus fruits
  • Eat dry fruits like peanuts, cashew, walnuts, and almonds once a day
  • Eat a bowl of curd once a day
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat paneer as often as you can
  • Drink a glass of milk twice a day
  • Eat egg, fish, and chicken if you are non-vegetarian
  • Always use iodized salt

 Consult your doctor before you start eating anything new.

Remember that despite eating the most nutritious foods you may require a nutritional supplement to fulfill your body’s needs during pregnancy. Follow your doctor’s advice for that.

By

Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD

Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a practicing doctor, a parenting consultant, and the founder of WPA whatparentsask.com She conducts online and offline workshops on parenting for schools and corporate organisations. She also conducts online and offline prenatal and infant care classes. She is a well-known thought-leader in parenting and an expert on play, learning and eating habits. Her books on parenting are published by Juggernaut Books and are among their most read books. She is frequently quoted in national and international publications of repute for her empathetic and compassionate approach to parenting and her application of physiology and brain science to parenting.

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