"I am 28 weeks pregnant with my fist child. I have been hearing from a few friends that I need to stay away from my favorite fast food, french fries. I crave them every day! Isn't this the one time in my life that I can happily indulge?"
Well, Rita, I too loved my fast food fries while I was pregnant, so I am not the one to go to for proper nutritional advice. I went to Melissa Monteforte, a certified health coach who specializes in nutrition and wellness for moms-to-be, mothers and children, to get your question answered.
“Congratulations! Being pregnant is one of the most amazing times in your life. During this time, however, your body goes through incredible changes in order to guide the fetus along the growth process and prepare the mother for birth. Sometimes, as part of these changes, food cravings can occur when a mother is lacking a certain vitamin or mineral in their diet. These cravings are perfectly normal, but when the junk food becomes a necessity that’s when you need to take a closer look at food choices. It is not what you do once in a while that will affect you or your baby, rather it’s the constant indulging in these empty calorie foods that may pose certain health risks. Junk food is what’s called an empty calorie because it has a ton of extra calories and fat and provides little to no vitamins and minerals for mom and baby. These empty calories can lead to excessive (unhealthy) weight gain and water retention during pregnancy.
During pregnancy it is crucial to make better food choices for yourself and your baby. Your unborn baby needs good nutrition to be healthy. Eating well during pregnancy will not only ensure that the pounds gained go towards the benefit of the pregnancy, but are also more easily shed after the baby is born.
The next time you get a craving for a bit of junk food try choosing a snack that is far healthier and will keep you satisfied longer. For example, if you are craving something salty, have some whole grain tortilla chips with salsa instead of the fries or potato chips. If you are craving something sweet or creamy like ice cream, why not try making your own smoothie with fresh fruit and yogurt?
Here a few more tips to help have a healthful pregnancy.
- Water. Keeping the body hydrated will ensure proper transport of nutrients, regularity, prevent swelling and so much more. Aim for a minimum of eight (8) 8oz glasses per day.
- Wide variety of fresh foods. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are nutrient dense and will provide the body with the vitamins and minerals you and your growing baby needs.
- Small, more frequent meals throughout the day. Try eating a little something every three hours, such as a handful of nuts, yogurt, etc. This will keep your blood sugar level and help you feel better.
- Prenatal vitamin. You can pick up a good pre-natal vitamin at a health food store that is whole foods based and doesn’t have any artificial fillers or harsh diuretics.
- Limit your intake of soda, caffeine and processed junk food. If you need the carbonation try some seltzer water and add a slice of lemon or lime to it.
Wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy!”
Please share your pregnancy experiences in the comments section below.
(Editor's Note: The opinions in this article are those of Parents “R” Talking. The opinions are not medical advice. Always consult your pediatrician about any changes you are contemplating.)