Pregnancy nutrition: what the experts say
In between battling morning sickness, hunger pangs and bizarre cravings, mums-to-be have to make sure the food they eat supports not just themselves, but their growing babies too. After all, what you eat, your baby eats.
Maintaining a balanced diet full of essential nutrients will help to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. That’s why the team at Ísey Skyr have scoured the web to find some top pregnancy tips from nutrition experts and health institutions. Here are five of the best:
Get smart with snacking
Read the word ‘snack’ and we immediately think of high-calorie foods and sugar-laden treats. But snacks can be healthy, and in fact, snacks that are good for us have the added benefit of keeping us fuller for longer. So, clear your cupboards of crisps and choccy bars and load up with foods like whole grain crackers, almond butter and homemade trail mix. While you’re at it, fill up your fruit bowl and stock the fridge with some delicious pots of creamy Ísey Skyr, which is naturally fat free and high in protein to keep you and baby satisfied!
Eat small meals
If you’re one of the many mums-to-be who suffer from morning sickness, the very thought of a huge meal could turn your stomach. Rather than avoiding food until you feel better, try eating smaller meals regularly throughout the day. For example, first thing, enjoy a small bowl of low-sugar cereal topped with a couple of dollops of Ísey Skyr; then an hour or two later, slice up an apple and smother it in almond butter. Lunch could be toasted pita and hummus, followed by veggie sticks for an afternoon snack. Eating little and often will hopefully settle your stomach, as well as keep those blood sugar levels in check.
Make your cravings healthier
As is usually the way during pregnancy, any cravings you experience tend to involve foods that you shouldn't eat too often. But rather than deprive yourself of them altogether (which you’ll find nigh on impossible), find ways to make them healthier. Day-dreaming of pizza? Make your own cauliflower crust and sprinkle with low-fat cheese. Craving ice cream? Create your own ‘nice cream’ using frozen bananas and vanilla Ísey Skyr, which is made with over three times the amount of milk found in typical yoghurts. Bear in mind that food cravings can hint at deficiencies in your diet, so it may be worth speaking to a nutritionist.
Don’t knock supplements
Taking pregnancy supplements is one of the easiest ways to get some of the essential nutrients your baby needs for healthy development. For example, the NHS recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, from before you’re pregnant up until 12 weeks. Meanwhile, the Department of Health advises vitamin D supplements – but by no means should you take vitamin A tablets, as they could harm your baby. Whatever you take to support your baby, it’s important to speak to a professional first. You can buy supplements from supermarkets and pharmacies, or get your GP to prescribe you some.
Combine a healthy diet with regular exercise
While attending spin or taking part in high intensity classes aren't recommended during pregnancy (particularly in the latter stages), you should still try to exercise moderately for around 20-30 minutes most days of the week. Staying active will help to keep your body strong during pregnancy and will also stop you from gaining too much weight, which can lead to a big baby and possible complications during labour. Whether you keep active by swimming, walking or taking part in pregnancy yoga, make sure you speak to your doctor first.
Of course, all mums-to-be are different. While these tips will help to ensure you and baby are happy and healthy throughout pregnancy up to the birth, you should always speak to your GP about what’s best for you.