October 17, 2011
1. Take a Prenatal Vitamin
Even if your diet is close to perfect, it is difficult to get all of the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy. Your baby’s neural cord, which becomes the brain and spinal cord, develops within the first month of pregnancy, so it’s important you get essential nutrients, like folic acid, calcium, and iron, from the very start – a prenatal vitamin prior to conception is a smart idea.
2. Get your Folate
Folate is found in fortified grains (bread, cereal, pasta) green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, citrus fruits and beans. This B-Vitamin is necessary to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. 400 micrograms daily before and during the first 12-weeks of pregnancy is recommended.
3. Go Fish
“Brain food for your baby”. For pregnant and nursing women, omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are important for the health of mom and baby. DHA is the most common omega-3 in the brain and eyes. It helps to support a baby’s brain and eye development and function. Women should get at least 200 milligrams of DHA every day. Expecting moms can safely eat up to a total of 12 ounces per week of salmon, herring, sardines or fresh-water trout.
4. Recharge with snacks
Feeling tired and nauseous are common during pregnancy. Eating every two to three hours will help relieve nausea while giving you a boost of energy. Recharge with healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, yogurt, unsalted nuts or cheese and crackers!
The many benefits of exercise include stress reduction, improved endurance, improved self-esteem and better sleep habits. During pregnancy, regular exercise can help prevent excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, keep those aches and pains away and help get you ready for labor. Grab a partner and make it fun!
6. Track your weight Gain
Eating for two? Well, sort of… pregnancy doesn’t give you the green light to pack on the pounds. In fact, gaining too much weight can have negative consequences. For one, it will make losing the baby weight later more difficult, secondly according to a study published in the Lancet, Expectant mothers who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to give birth to heavier babies, who are more likely to become obese later in life.
Based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) before becoming pregnant, here are the weight gain guidelines for a single baby.
§ Underweight (BMI below 18.5) Gain 28 to 40 pounds
§ Normal Weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) Gain 25 to 35 pounds
§ Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) Gain 15 to 25 pounds
§ Obese (BMI 30 and above) Gain 11 to 20 pounds
7. Switch up Chores
Take advantage of the fact that people are very willing to help out during your pregnancy. Exposure to toxic chemicals, lifting heavy objects, or coming in contact with bacteria can harm you and your baby. Here are some things to take off your to-do-list:
§ Heavy lifting
§ Climbing on stepstools or ladders
§ Changing kitty litter (to avoid toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by a parasite which cats can carry)
§ Using harsh chemicals
§ Standing for long periods of time, especially near a hot stove
8. Know when to call your doctor
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
§ Pain of any kind
§ Strong cramps
§ Contractions at 20-minute intervals
§ Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
§ Dizziness or fainting
§ Shortness of breath
§ Heart palpitations
§ Constant nausea and vomiting
§ Trouble walking, edema (swelling of joints)
§ Decreased activity by the baby
Grilled Salmon Steaks with Mustard-Orange Marinade
Makes: 4 Servings
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
§ 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
§ 2 tablespoons frozen orange-juice concentrate, thawed
§ 1 tablespoon minced scallions
§ 4 (5-ounce) Salmon steaks
§ Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Preheat grill or broiler
2. Stir together mustard, orange-juice concentrate and scallions in a shallow dish. Add salmon and turn to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
3. Oil the grill rack or a cookie sheet. Cook the salmon just until it is opaque in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper.
Make it a Meal: Serve with potatoes, carrots and your favorite greens.
274 Calories; 15g Fat; 3g Saturated Fat; 5g Monounsaturated fat; 84mg Cholesterol; 254mg Sodium; 577mg Potassium; 4g Carbohydrates; 0g Fiber; 28g Protein
July 12, 2011
Your bouncing baby boy or girl has created quite a stir in your life! From feeding every couple of hours to diaper changes and lack of sleep you’re wondering how can I fit in any time for me? Regular exercise and adequate sleep are major components to getting back into shape; although it won’t happen over night it can certainly happen for you. I personally know of many women who are even more health conscious and in better shape after they have children!
So, first things first – You’re not alone. Just about every woman, at one time or another has struggled with exercise after pregnancy; here are some tips to help you get back into shape!
Start out slow
Within the first 6 weeks after delivering your baby, your body is healing. During this time, caring for the baby, managing the basics such as establishing a routine and household chores are enough. Discuss precautions with your physician before you get started.
Make exercise a priority
Sleep deprivation is one of the most uncomfortable feelings, however exercise can be an energizer and help you feel better about yourself. Scheduling some easy exercises for 15 minutes each day is a great start. Work your way up to 30 minutes each day and you’ll be back into your favorite jeans in no time.
Get out there!
Once you feel comfortable venturing out with the baby, it’s time to introduce her to shopping! Taking several laps around the mall or the supermarket can do wonders for cabin fever and your fitness.
Did you know that breast feeding can burn 500-600 extra calories daily?! That’s great news for your waistline. Remember that your body needs adequate fluid and calories to produce milk, so while exercise is ok cutting back on calories is not.
Make wholesome foods a priority
Keep your diet filled with wholesome foods such as whole grains, beans & legumes, low fat dairy, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Some women find they are starving during the time that they are exclusively breastfeeding, don’t deprive yourself but do make healthy choices. If you have chosen not to breastfeed, you can begin a weight loss regimen. Loosing 1 to 2 pounds each week is a healthy and steady pace.
You can do it, mom!
By staying active, you will be able to keep up with your little one and she grows and become more active. Stay in shape and enjoy every moment of motherhood!
July 10, 2011
Dining out often can wreck havoc on your diet – even when you have the best intentions. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make good choices. A healthy diet takes balance and eating out can be part of your plan.
For the mom-to-be there are some challenges to restaurant meals:
- Typically large servings may tempt you to overeat; take half of it home or doggy-bag-it.
- Higher fat foods and fried food may cause heartburn or nausea.
- Servings of vegetables and fruits are usually minimal. Consider ordering a side salad or side of veggies to round out the meal.
- Low fat milk may not be available, if you eat out regularly be sure to get your dairy at home.
Savvy at the Salad Bar
Most people think salad bar and healthy go hand in hand; however you have special concerns such as soft cheese and deli meats. Here are some tips to creating a healthy salad.
- Choose good sources of protein: Eggs, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, grilled chicken breast
- Go easy on the hidden fats: fried noodles, coconut, bacon bits, mayonnaise based salads, fried zucchini and potato skins.
- Load up on the veggies: bell peppers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, lettuce and avocado are some of my favorite salad toppers.
- Add in fruit: fruit is a sweet addition to salads, go for strawberries, pineapple and melon which complement savory ingredients.
At the table
Have you ever seen a women rip through a bread basket like she’s never eaten before? She was probably pregnant! Resist the temptation by either having a small snack before heading out, or ask the waiter to hold it before it ever arrives and ask for a soup or salad instead.
On the menu:
- Healthy entrée lingo: Marinara sauce, grilled, baked, poached, steamed, stir-fried, lean and light.
- Over-indulgence lingo: Butter, butter sauce, hollandaise, au-grain, alfredo, creamed, cream, pan fried, fried.
- For soups always order broth based soups such as vegetable, chicken noodle and lentil.
- Order dressings or sauces on the side.
- Fajitas – Vegetable, chicken, beef, shrimp
- Chicken enchiladas
- Burritos – vegetable, tofu, chicken, bean
- Veal or chicken with pasta in marinara sauce
- Pasta primavera
- Ravioli with marinara sauce
- Vegetable lasagna
- Slice of pizza and side salad
- Grilled chicken sandwich
- Grilled veggie wrap
- Grilled shrimp over whole grain pasta
- Filet mignon 7 to 8 ounces
- Grilled salmon or other low-mercury fish
- Tomato, bean or vegetable soup
- Hummus and corn tortilla chips
- Shrimp cocktail
- Mixed green salad
- Baked potato, brown/wild rice
- Baked beans
- All vegetables
- Whole grain pasta
- Fresh fruit
- Sorbet or sherbet
- Frozen yogurt
- Fruit crisp
- Crème brulee or flan
July 8, 2011
Variety is the spice of life! Eating a variety of foods helps keep the right balance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need for your baby’s development.
Follow “ChooseMyPlate” the eating for Americans icon which replaced the food guide pyramid.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, ¼ protein, ¼ grains and a glass of low fat milk.
Bone up on Calcium
Calcium has never been more important in the diet. In fact, consuming 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium a day may help reduce the risk of pregnancy induced high blood pressure. After pregnancy you should consume three servings a day, especially if you are breast feeding.
Pump up the iron
Anemia during pregnancy has consequences– a three times higher risk of delivering a low birth weight baby and double the chance of having a premature infant. An iron supplement or multivitamin with iron is recommended during pregnancy. Iron rich foods include meats,
Go for whole grains
Whole grains pack a nutritional punch and should be present at every meal. Whole grains contain important trace minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates for energy and whole grains high in fiber can help prevent constipation. Examples include whole wheat bread, brown rice, popcorn, quinoa, amaranth, oats and whole grain pastas.
The many benefits of exercise include stress reduction, improved endurance, improved self-esteem and better sleep habits. During pregnancy, regular exercise can help prevent excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, keep those aches and pains away and help get you ready for labor.
Get your fill of fluids
Eight to ten glasses a day are recommended during pregnancy. You can have fluids in the form of 100% juice, decaffeinated beverages; but try to have most of it as water! Avoid sugary drinks which don’t provide much nutrition.
Focus on Fiber
Most of us don’t get enough fiber; 25 grams are recommended by the National Academy of Sciences for women under 50 years of age. During pregnancy, increasing your fiber intake may help prevent or combat constipation. High fiber foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes.
Hold the Extras
“Extras”, like junk foods and other foods with poor nutrient density. Save sweets and other non-nutritive foods until you have eaten all of your “must eat” foods first. With all the extra nutrients you need during pregnancy, you can’t afford to eat too many “empty calorie” foods.
Download the “Healthy Pregnancy Shopping List” to help you organize your grocery store shopping trip!
July 6, 2011
Your first trimester is full of emotions – from excitement over your pregnancy to the sick feeling of nausea and vomiting; both feelings very common although one of these is not so welcomed. Despite its name, “morning sickness” can actually be “anytime sickness”, so learning to cope will help ease you into your second trimester feeling more comfortable as morning sickness usually disappears during this time.
- Odors strong and weak can trigger nausea – if certain foods such as cooked poultry or eggs cause you to put your hand over your mouth than steer clear of these foods and consider sticking with more neutral smelling meals.
- Cold/room temperature foods tend to have less of an odor such as green salads, tuna salad or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Eat these if you’re sensitive to smells. In addition, carbohydrate rich foods such as breads, crackers and rice cakes may be more comforting to you.
- Keep crackers at your beside. In the morning before rising, eat a few crackers or other dry carbohydrate.
- Eat small frequent meals (5 to 6); an empty stomach can cause you to feel sick or even light headed. Be sure you’re eating every 3 to 4 hours.
- Drink frequent small amounts of fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
- Nausea can become worse if you’re tired and/or irritated. Choose relaxing activities such as a warm bath, watching a movie or napping to help relieve stress.
- A fizzy drink like seltzer can help settle your stomach. Ginger has long been known to ease a sensitive stomach; try grated fresh ginger into water for a refreshing drink. Limit soda which contains caffeine and excessive sugar.
- Avoid fatty, greasy, spicy, or acidic foods if you find that they cause discomfort; these foods tend to irritate the digestive tract and can cause reflux.
- Is your prenatal vitamin making you feel ill? Taking it with food or in the evening before bed can help reduce nausea associated with your vitamin. If that doesn’t work, talk to your health care provider about switching to a different vitamin.
- When is it time to speak to your doctor about nausea and vomiting? If severe and loosing weight speak to your doctor immediately.
- Frozen fruit (grapes, blueberries, strawberries)
- Frozen fruit bars – made with all natural fruit
- Low-fat Yogurt
- Raisins, dried cranberries, apricots, prunes
- ½ apple with one tablespoon peanut butter
- ¼ cup Trail mix
- 1 cup natural apple sauce
- Banana Popsicle – Insert a popsicle stick into the middle of a peeled small banana, dip in melted dark chocolate and freeze until chocolate hardens.
- ½ almond butter and sliced banana sandwich
- Whole grain pretzels
- ½ cup salsa with corn tortilla chips
- 1 ounce cheese and grapes
July 4, 2011
Eating for two? Well, sort of… pregnancy doesn’t give you the green light to pack on the pounds. In fact, gaining too much weight can have consequences. For one, it will make losing the baby weight later more difficult, secondly according to a study published in the Lancet, Expectant mothers who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to give birth to heavier babies, who are more likely to become obese later in life.
On the flip side, not gaining enough weight can also have consequences such as giving birth to a low-weight birth with is a risk factor for developmental problems.
Based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) before becoming pregnant, here are the weight gain guidelines for a single baby.
- Underweight (BMI below 18.5) Gain 28 to 40 pounds
- Normal Weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) Gain 25 to 35 pounds
- Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9) Gain 15 to 25 pounds
- Obese (BMI 30 and above) Gain 11 to 20 pounds
Tips for keeping track of your weight
- Beginning in the second trimester through birth, pregnant women need to consume 300 to 450 additional calories each day. If you are underweight shoot for the higher end, overweight women should stay at about 300 -350 extra calories. This translates into an extra two snacks like a smoothie and ½ sandwich or one mini meal like a sandwich or bowl of soup.
- Watch your diet – gaining weight from sugary sodas, ice cream and cake is not nutritionally sound. Drink more water and remember good nutrition – low fat dairy, lean meats, fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise – physical activity is a must, develop a routine that’s right for you. Swimming, jogging or an aerobics class are all appropriate; talk to your doctor to find out about any special limitations you may have.
July 2, 2011
Making your own baby food is easier than you think. There are many foods that your baby can share making meal prep for the both of you even easier.
Why make your own?
- It’s economical
- You know exactly what is going in it
- You can tailor to your baby’s tastes and preferences
- Allows baby to explore new tastes and flavors your family is accustom to which may help lessen the impact of the “picky eater” stage
- Blender, Food Processor, or Hand-held Stick Blender
- Food processor
- Steamer – for veggies and fruits. You want to lock in nutrients
- Ice Cube trays, plastic wrap and freezer grade containers
- Permanent marker – it will be easy to confuse carrots and sweet potatoes. Be sure to label foods with the following information: Food item name, date it was made. Use within a month, thaw and heat the desired number of ounces.
- Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables to remove dirt, bacteria and/or possible pesticides.
- Peel and remove seeds.
- Best cooking methods include steaming or boiling to soften fruits and vegetables, you will want a mushy consistency if your baby has just started solids. If your baby has been eating these foods for a couple of months, you can cook the food until it is easily pierced with a fork to allow a thicker consistency.
- Using a blender, food processor or hand-held stick blender, process the food until reaches the right consistency for you child’s stage of eating.
- Strain the food to remove any stray peels or seeds.
- Now its time for your ice cube trays! Spoon pureed food into each square in the tray, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. When the cubes are frozen, you can put them into a food storage container and label with food name and date food was prepared.
- It’s time to eat! Thaw as many cubes as you will need, warm slightly for your baby to enjoy!
- Once you know what your baby can tolerate, combine flavors to create an interesting eating experience. Think peaches and bananas or curry and sweet potato!
- Did your baby food turn out to liquidity? Add some baby cereal such as rice or oats to thicken the consistency
- Wait three to five days after trying a new fruit or veggie before starting another so you can pinpoint a potential food allergy or intolerance.
- High-nitrate vegetables, such as beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, lettuce, spinach and turnips, should not be fed to babies in large quantities. The naturally occurring nitrates in these vegetables can bind iron in the blood and make it difficult to carry oxygen. Limit the serving size of these vegetables to one to two tablespoons per feeding.
Pleasant peas – 4 to 6 months
- 1 package frozen organic peas*
- ½ cup water
- Place frozen peas in steamer. (If you don’t have a steamer, place metal colander over a pot of boiling water and cover.) Steam peas for 6 to 7 minutes or until tender.
- Remove cooked peas from steamer/colander and put in food processor. Add water and process until completely smooth.
- Once cooled, distribute mixture evenly amongst ice cube trays or cupcake tins, dependent upon desired portion size.
Curried Sweet Potatoes – 6 months
Introducing new flavors and textures early on can help your baby be more accepting of new foods.
- ½ pound Sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder
Avocado Baby Food – Tofu and Avocado Cream – 8 months
This makes a great dip for finger foods at this stage.
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) silken tofu
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) plan yogurt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Mash and puree all ingredients together, chill and serve!
July 2, 2011
According to the American Dietetic Association, exclusive breastfeeding with no foods or liquids other than breast milk provides optimal nutrition and health protection for the first six months of life. Human milk offers optimal nutrient composition for infants and reduces the risk for a large number of acute and chronic illnesses.
Breastfeeding with complementary foods from 6 months to at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants.
Breastfeeding not only improves mom’s health and well-being, it saves families time and money.
The following tips are brought to you by the American Academy of Pediatrics
Breastfeeding decreases the possibility that your baby will get a variety of infectious diseases, ear infections, diarrhea, etc.
Breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster and have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They also experience less postpartum bleeding, as the hormones that help with breastfeeding also make the uterus contract.
For the family
Breastfeeding facilitates bonding. Fathers and other children can participate by helping the mother with burping and rocking the baby, making sure the mother is eating and drinking enough, and helping with breast pump equipment and bottles.
For the community
Breastfeeding is lean, green, and clean. Breastfed babies are at a lower risk of being obese children. Breastfeeding won’t put a huge dent in your wallet, it saves water, and it doesn’t use energy for manufacturing or pollute the environment with garbage or manufacturing air pollution.
Reasons not to breastfeed:
There are very few reasons not to breastfeed. Mothers make good healthy milk even if their diets are not full of nutritious foods. Tattoos, piercings and breast surgery often do not interfere with breastfeeding. Most mothers who need medications for chronic conditions can breastfeed safely. Talk to your baby’s doctor, and/or your doctor or nurse midwife to determine if breastfeeding is the right choice for you.
NOT reasons not to breastfeed:
There are also a few reasons that you may think might make it impossible for you to breastfeed. This may not be the case. Talk to your doctor about any illnesses or conditions you may have, if you smoke, or if you are taking medications. Many medications are compatible with breastfeeding.
July 1, 2011
A balanced diet is an important part of every healthy lifestyle; as a pregnant woman it is even more important because what you eat affects you and your baby. Follow these guidelines through pregnancy and if you plan to breast feed your infant.
Important nutrients for you and your baby include folate, calcium, iron, choline (found in eggs), protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Consume approximately 300 extra calories a day to support your pregnancy. It is very likely that your doctor has prescribed a pre-natal vitamin; take this supplement according to his/her directions. Click “here” to learn more about our free pre-natal vitamin program.
Folic Acid: Found in fortified grains (bread, cereal, pasta) green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. This B-Vitamin, also known as folate is necessary to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. 400 micrograms daily before and during the first 12-weeks of pregnancy is recommended.
Choline: Important for eye and brain development is found in eggs; eggs are also a good source of protein – enjoy an omelet or egg sandwich a few times a week!
Protein: Found in eggs, lean meats (poultry, beef, pork, fish), nuts, nut butters, dairy, beans, legumes and soy. Include a source of protein at each meal.
Iron: Found in red meat, egg yolks, dark leafy greens, dried fruit, beans, lentils. The iron in red blood cells helps carry oxygen to your organs, tissues, and baby. During pregnancy, extra iron is needed to support the growth of the baby and to produce extra blood.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: “Brain food for your baby”. For pregnant and nursing women, omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are important for the health of mom and baby. DHA is the most common omega-3 in the brain and eyes. It helps to support a baby’s brain and eye development and function. Women should get at least 200 milligrams of DHA every day. Expecting moms can safely eat up to a total of 12 ounces per week of salmon, herring, sardines or fresh-water trout.
Calcium and Vitamin D: dairy foods such as low fat milk, cheese and yogurt, sardines, fortified drinks such as soy milk and almond milk. Helps build bones and teeth. Strive for three servings of dairy foods a day.
Limit caffeine to 200mg/day; about two 8-ounce cups of coffee. AVOID Tile Fish, Swordfish, Shark, & King Mackerel – these fish contain large amounts of mercury.
AVOID unpasteurized milk and soft cheese such as blue cheese and gorgonzola, raw or undercooked meats, fish, shellfish. In addition, deli meats and hot dogs should be heated until steaming hot. The foods mentioned here may contain bacteria that can cause a harmful illness known as Listeriosis. Cook everything well!
Healthy lifestyle tips:
- Stop smoking and don’t be exposed to second hand smoke. Ask your doctor about programs that can help.
- Do not drink alcohol. There is no known safe level during pregnancy and alcohol can cause birth defects.
- Don’t take over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies without first consulting your obstetrician.
- Get adequate sleep–at least eight hours a night. If you’re suffering from sleep disturbances, take naps during the day and see your physician for advice.