We are very excited to have nutrition expert Sara Jane Mercer speaking to us about pregnancy nutrition. Certified as a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Sara focuses on clean, pure and simple living and recipes that are 100% plant based (something we at Nine Naturals are very conscientious of as well!). Having recently been pregnant herself, Sara has both personal and professional experience on all the foods to loathe & love during pregnancy!
Growing a person inside your body is hard work! When you are pregnant what you eat is incredibly important to the health of your growing baby. Despite what you may have heard pregnancy is not a time to “eat for two.” In fact, during the first trimester there is no need to increase your food intake at all! For the second and third trimesters you should only be consuming about an extra 300 calories a day to feed your growing baby. As your your belly grows eating large amounts of food becomes difficult so every bite should be nutrient dense and health promoting. These foods to love and loathe lists will help you make sure your body, and your baby are getting the right type of nutrition all forty weeks!
Four to Loathe
Sugar: Sugar has no place in any healthy diet, and even less of one when you are pregnant. Sugar is highly toxic in our bodies and its consumption can lead to all sorts of illness. Don’t be fooled, agave, honey, and maple syrup may be “natural” but are still just as bad for you as processed white sugar. Have a sweet tooth? Reach for a piece of fruit instead. The natural sugar in fruit is ok in moderation-and most fruits are super hydrating which is an added bonus.
Soda: Soda is basically just liquid sugar mixed with chemicals and should be avoided by all persons always. Not only is it terribly unhealthy but also soda is actually quite dehydrating and pregnancy is a time when you need as much hydration as you can get and then some.
Alcohol: No amount of alcohol, not even one sip is safe when pregnant. As tempting as it may be to have “just a tiny bit,” the risk is just not worth it. After a month or so you won’t even miss your nightly glass of white wine. I promise!
High Mercury Seafood: If fish is part of your diet be very careful what type you eat while pregnant. As our oceans become more and more polluted, fish becomes less and less safe to eat. As a rule the larger the fish the riskier it is to eat. High mercury fish such as tuna and swordfish should be avoided while pregnant. In fact, it should be avoided when not pregnant as well!
Four to Love
Dark Greens: Dark leafy greens such, as spinach, kale, collards and chard should be eaten with abandon when pregnant. These nutrient dense powerhouses contain lots folate and iron both of which are vital to your baby’s development.
Avocados: Healthy, plant based fats are key when pregnant. Not only are avocados a great source of healthy fat but they are also a good source of vitamin K, C and folate all important for expectant mamas! Avocados also contain fiber, which can help fight pregnancy related constipation.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats and protein for pregnancy. Flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also a great source of Omega 3’s which are important for baby’s brain development as well as your health.
Pineapple: Fresh pineapple is a great source of vitamin C and fiber. As an added bonus pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which has be known to be a cervical softener. While some caution that the bromelian in pineapple can bring along early labor, the quantities you would have to eat for this to happen are incredibly immense. So go ahead and eat a few slices of pineapple, just don’t eat seven whole pineapples!
Sara Jane Mercer is a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, Vegetarian Chef and Food Writer and the vibrant, creative spirit behind her eponymous blog that is the go- to source for Clean, Pure and Simple living. After countless hours developing healthy recipes in her own kitchen and sharing them with friends around the world Sara realized that all people needed were the right tools, simple steps to follow and easy, quick recipes. Her mission was to educate and to simplify and thus the Clean, Pure and Simple way of life was born. Sara lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter and dog and enjoys exploring all of the healthy hidden treasures the city has to offer from local food markets and vegetarian restaurants to natural beauty finds and fun new fitness classes. All of her favorites can be found on her website www.sarajanemercer.com.