Eating for Two

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Ask anyone what you should or should not eat while pregnant, and you’re liable to get any one of several dozen conflicting pieces of advice.

“Don’t go anywhere near trans fats!”

“Don’t touch anything microwaved!”

“Don’t you dare eat seafood!”

It’s enough to make a mama-to-be’s head spin. And as one of our writers has rightfully pointed out, much of it is fear-mongering. The fact is, no one is perfect, and while super-celebrity moms might live on organic kale chips for nine months, the rest of us mortals are allowed a bit more slack.

A better approach might be simply to focus incorporating a few vital ingredients into a more-or-less balanced diet. Being a mom is tough enough without self-criticism and deprivation. So try work a few of the following in, but when that craving for chocolate kicks in, go for it.

Expecting Expats

Folic Acid

You’ve probably heard all about this one before. Most expecting mothers opt to take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid built in, but getting a little in your diet certainly won’t hurt. You’ll find it in dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and all sorts of veggies. Whole grains are a terrific source, as are nuts and seeds. Try a whole wheat PB&J for a super-healthy snack.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These are essential for developing brains. The only caveat? Most of the best sources of Omega-3s are finned, and doctors are on the fence about how good an idea it is to eat certain fish while pregnant. Thankfully, doctors have said that certain species, such as salmon, are a pretty safe bet. Just try to stick to no more than 350 grams (about two servings) a week, roughly one miso-glazed salmon steak at a Japanese restaurant.

Calcium

Your baby’s skeletal structure is growing and it needs all the calcium it can get. Dairy is the easiest source (yep, cheese and ice cream definitely count), but some green veggies also pack a surprisingly respectable amount. Have an omelet stuffed with cheddar and broccoli for a double-whammy.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins are key for a healthy nervous system. Be especially sure to get enough B12, found in egg yolks, meat and seafood. It’s especially concentrated in liver, so if you’re a pâté-lover, dig in.

Potassium

Just about everyone knows that bananas are a great source of potassium, but what you may not know is that loads of tasty fruits and vegetables are even better. Potatoes and sweet potatoes both contain more than 600 milligrams per spud. And one of the best sources of all is the avocado. It turns out that a bowl of guacamole and some chips might have more benefits than you thought.

Vitamin C and Iron

Why put these two together? Because Vitamin C will help your body absorb iron more effectively. Your baby needs both, so consider pairing the two wherever possible when planning meals. That’s a whole lot easier than it might sound. Throw a spinach salad or some steamed broccoli next to your steak and you’re good to go.

Protein

This one sounds obvious, but it’s a biggie and many women don’t get enough. If you’re a carnivore, it should be fairly easy to meet your requirement. Vegetarians will have to work a little harder. Make sure to get lots of tofu, legumes, eggs and cheeses in your diet.

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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