fbpx

Pregnancy Nutrition Tips from a Mom RD Print

What to eat during and after pregnancy

While there are many things to think about when it comes to prenatal and postnatal nutrition, here are some of the most important tips to keep you and your baby healthy.

a version of this article appeared in Best in Baby Biz

Top 2 nutrition tips during pregnancy

1.  Instead of eating for two, eat twice as healthy

Top Nutrition Tips During & After Pregnancy by Andrea Holwegner RDPregnancy requires extra calories, carbohydrates and protein to support your growing baby. However, unlike the popular saying “eating for two”, your nutrient needs do not double during this time. Doing this can lead to unnecessary weight gain that can lead to big babies, increased risk for diabetes and difficulties losing weight after your pregnancy. Rather than eating for two, think about eating twice as healthy during this period of rapid growth and change.

On average your body needs approximately 300 extra calories per day during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. Adding another snack or including a slightly larger serving at a meal can achieve this. This could look like:

  • An extra piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter or almond butter at breakfast
  • An evening snack of 3 cups of popcorn with small drizzle of butter, 1/4 cup nuts and an orange
  • An extra snack of a yogurt parfait with 1 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup granola and ½ cup berries as well as a handful of cut up raw vegetables

2. Optimize iron and folic acid intake

During pregnancy, iron needs increase since your body is making more red blood cells to carry oxygen through both your body and your baby’s body. Choose a prenatal supplement that supplies 16-20 mg of iron each day (unless otherwise advised by your physician). Make sure to include a variety of high iron food sources daily such as:

  • Beef, chicken, pork, eggs and fish
  • Beans such as kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and lentils
  • Vegetables such as green peas, spinach, apricots and prunes
  • Grains such as oatmeal and quinoa as well as fortified breads and cereals

Folic acid is needed for long-term health and to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. It is recommended that pregnant woman take about 0.6 to 1 mg of folic acid each day – ideally starting 2-3 months prior to pregnancy and continuing until 4-6 weeks postpartum/during breastfeeding. Choose a prenatal vitamin supplement that contains 1 mg of folic acid. The best food sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, asparagus, legumes, sunflower seeds and fortified grain products.

Top 2 nutrition tips for breastfeeding

1.  Increasing milk supply

Here are some tips to support a healthy milk supply to meet your baby’s needs:

  • Feed your baby often. The more your baby sucks, the more your body will produce milk.
  • Get enough rest. Sleep when your baby sleeps as much as possible.
  • Try to reduce stress. Ask for help when you need it.
  • Up your fluid intake. Sometimes busy new moms forget to drink. When your baby is feeding, always grab a glass of water.

2.  Supplement vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body use calcium and is important for healthy bones and teeth as well as long-term health.

Babies require at least 400 IU of vitamin D daily. Breast milk does not have enough vitamin D and therefore babies should receive a daily supplement of this vitamin. Putting one drop of vitamin D right on your breast right before baby feeds is the easiest way to give vitamin D to your baby.

It is also important for you to consume enough vitamin D. Since vitamin D is found in only a few foods (egg yolks, fatty fish and fortified milk), most people can benefit from a supplement. Take a multivitamin daily and speak to your dietitian and physician to see if you require additional vitamin D from supplements.

Top 2 postpartum nutrition tips for mom

1.  Reduce calories safely

Your body requires additional calories to support healthy milk production during breastfeeding so it is important not to reduce your calorie intake drastically.   Patience is key since it takes time for weight gain to come on and it takes time for weight to come off.

Many moms find that if they listen to their body and trust their hunger cues, weight will naturally decrease without intentionally decreasing their intake. Once breastfeeding is established, moms carrying extra weight can safely reduce their intake by 250 to 500 calories per day to help support weight loss without impacting breast milk production.

The best way to reduce your calories is to be mindful of portion sizes of high-calorie foods. Try these tips for hard to manage sweet and savoury foods chosen for taste and enjoyment:

  • Frame the Quantity: Instead of mindlessly eating items like nuts, popcorn, candy, or chocolate almonds directly out of a bag,put them in a small bowl or container. It gives you an endpoint rather than the end of the entire bag or box.
  • Portion Packages: Most of us don’t eat portions, we eat packages. When making a trip to the store, buy foods that are individual sized or have portion control indicators. This is often more successful than hoping you’ll stop at a few handfuls.

2.  Meal plan for success

A little planning can go a long way to improve your nutrition. Some moms find planning all their suppers for the week ahead helpful, but if you find this overwhelming start small. Plan three meals for the week that have plenty of leftovers.

To ensure you have enough energy and are left feeling satisfied, make sure your breakfast, lunch and supper contain three things for balance:

  • Grains/starchy food such as rice, potatoes, toast or pasta (whole grains and higher fibre options will also keep you fuller longer)
  • Vegetables and/or fruit
  • Source of protein such as meat, poultry, fish, nuts, legumes or eggs

Some examples of balanced meals include:

  • Roasted chicken breast, with quinoa and steamed asparagus and broccoli
  • Chickpea curry with rice and fresh or frozen stir-fried vegetables
  • Homemade hamburger, garden salad and yogurt for dessert
  • Scrambled egg omelet with vegetables and roasted potatoes
  • Whole grain toast with almond butter and soy milk
  • Slow-cooker stew served with toast and raw veggies and dip on the side
  • Greek pasta salad made with loads of chopped raw veggies, feta cheese, grilled chicken breast and vinaigrette

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This