Is it time to eat for two?
‘Congratulations! You get to eat for two now!’ is a phrase you may hear when you announce you’re pregnant. Some may think this is the chance for us to eat more of the foods we love, or not worry as much about the foods we’re choosing. However, eating for two does not mean it’s a time for us to eat twice as much food. Instead, aim to eat twice as healthy during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a great time to put some focus on how you are eating and make some changes to benefit both you and the baby. Aim to eat foods that are rich in nutrients that support the fetus’ development. Especially at 4 weeks gestation where your body works hard to start forming vital organs for the baby which is only the size of a grain of rice. Once you enter your second and third trimester, your needs increase by a few hundred calories a day so adding a few snacks between meals is helpful.
Eating twice as much food can lead to increased weight gain for you and your baby, but it doesn’t mean baby is any healthier. It may also lead to some complications during labour, increase the risk for a caesarean birth and physical injury to the baby during birth. Babies born with a higher birth weight may be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes later on in life as well.
What can you do to eat ‘twice as healthy’?
Here are a few ideas:
- Drink more water every day. Bring a reusable water bottle wherever you go. Water plays many roles including transporting nutrients to and removing waste from the baby.
- Go dark green! Include dark green vegetables in your meals, such as broccoli, spinach, or avocado. They’re rich in folate, which is important in the development of the fetus’ neural tube, in the growth of the uterus and placenta and the increase in blood volume. Keep it simple by adding frozen vegetables to your meals.
- Go meat-free at least once a week by choosing pulses such as lentils, cow peas, chickpeas or kidney beans as your protein source. Pulses are affordable, yet high in protein, iron, fibre as well as other nutrients. Add them to your usual dishes, your soups, stews or salads.
- Fill your day with fibre. Vegetables, fruits, whole grain products, pulses and seeds all provide fibre to our diet, but they also help add a variety of other important nutrients to our pregnancy. Grab a fruit or half a peanut butter sandwich for snack!
- Try steaming, roasting or stewing your food instead of frying or deep-frying.
- Focus on what you’re eating. This allows you to pay attention to your hunger cues, to focus on the types of foods you’re eating and to slow down in this busy and life-changing moment in your life!
- Check out these recipes for more ideas! Beef chili recipe , Salad in a Jar recipe, Snacks on the Go .
Learn more about healthy eating during pregnancy and if you have questions you can eChat with a health professional or call (416) 338-7600.
Share your tips on eating twice as healthy during your pregnancy by commenting below!