Pregnancy diet and nutrition
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Pregnant? Get snacking!

Whilst excess weight gain isn't great for your pregnancy or birth, it is important to keep eating snacks rather than only eating three big meals a day.

Posted: 13 September 2010
by Laura Lee Davies

Your pregnant diet

During the early weeks of pregnancy, if you suffer from morning sickness you might feel like you'll never eat or keep anything down again. However, right from the start of a pregnancy, many women notice a change in their appetite, a need to graze to fend off hunger and/or dizziness.

Fear of over-eating

Whilst it's true that 'eating for two' does NOT mean ordering double egg, large chips and an extra burger for lunch, you do need to treat your body with some respect.

You will start feeling sick or dizzy if you do not eat often enough, but you shouldn't wait for your body to tell you. Instead, carry around small snacks that you can have little and often, but which should not replace regular meals.

Pregnancy is NOT a time to diet. The additives in 'diet' foods can be harmful to your baby, and both you and your baby's longterm health will suffer if you are not taking in the essential nutrients. (For example, if you are not having enough calcium in milk, yoghurt or other calcium-rich foods, your baby might be OK because she can use your supplies, but in years to come, you are more at risk of developing osteoporosis.)

Good snacks on the go

OK, so you know I am not going to suggest you eat crisps and lots of cakes!

In fact, the odd cream cake isn't going to ruin your health regime, and if it helps you kick-back and relax then fine. However, what we are really talking about is more natural sources of valuable vitamins and nutrients:


Some women worry about eating peanuts in pregnancy in case it passes on a nut allergy to their child. This is not a known cause of nut allergies in children, but peanuts are at the less preferable end of what you should be eating because they are very fatty and often overly salted.

Instead, try brazil nuts as a great source of selenium. Almonds, cashews, pistachios and hazelnuts are all great sources of iron, but don't over eat them as they can cause stomach ache in high volume.

Trail mix, dried fruit and seeds

Sunflower seeds, dried apricots (preferably organic ones, the bright yellow ones have sulphates in them), raisins and packs which mix nuts and things like dried cranberries, are fantastic for iron, slow-burning energy, and calcium.

Dark chocolate and liquorice

Some women find liquorice good for feelings of nausea, but others find strong tastes worse in pregnancy. However, if you do like them, both dark chocolate (a good, high cocoa content one like Green & Blacks) and liquorice are good for iron.

Fruit and veg

Of course we associate oranges, pears, melons and many other fruit with their rich sources of vitamin C. This is important in itself and also aids the absorption of valuable iron. These fruits can also help keep your skin and muscle tissue in check during pregnancy – which is great for counteracting the effects of hormonal changes on your back, legs, skin and hair.

Cucumber is a great, light snack to eat and easy to munch on when cut into sticks. It is hydrating and good for muscles, bones and other body tissue.

Apples are a great source of energy and aid digestion.

For more about good sources of pregnancy nutrition, and information on pregnancy supplements, go to the ThinkBaby Diet and Nutrition pages.

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