Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nutrition and Over-40 Pregnancy

by Michelle Schnaars

A nutritionally sound diet is important to over 40 expectant women. What we eat during pregnancy is not only crucial for us but also for the development of the baby. A prime example of the importance is folic acid. Folic acid, or folate is a B vitamin and extremely important in the first few weeks of pregnancy for the development of baby’s spinal cord and brain.

During pregnancy we have to consume a whopping 300 more calories a day, and more if expecting twins. We can do this by choosing a variety of healthy foods and avoiding junk foods. Variety is important as it helps ensure you’re getting the daily amounts of recommended vitamins and minerals every day from the foods you eat. Foods like, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat and grains, and dairy. Our goal is to get a balance of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E, and calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Keep the food pyramid in mind when choosing foods at the grocery store. And, check out for meal planning during pregnancy.

With each of my three pregnancies I developed sneaky ways of getting a healthy balance. I incorporated a wider variety of vegetables, eating dark leafy greens, and a colorful variety of other veggies like bell peppers. I also learned about ones that I had never heard of before like Jack Fruit and Jicama; and I ate some that I hadn’t eaten in probably years. It became fun trying to figure out what new meals I would prepare that week.

Here are the sneaky things I did to get those nutrients: For extra protein eat mixed nuts. Make your own milk shakes, fruit drinks, and veggie drinks. Add Wheat Germ to pancakes, veganaise, vegan ‘cheese’, and salads for calcium (4%), iron (40%), dietary fiber (15%), and protein (27g). And, snack on fresh vegetables, fruit and cheese in between meals for extra nutrients. But also keep in mind during pregnancy it is better to ‘graze’ than trying to eat three meals as you did before pregnancy.

You’ll also want to avoid those foods that bring on pregnancy discomforts: gassy, acidic, high sugar and white flower, for example. And, remember to keep well hydrated drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

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Aerin-sol said...

The USDA has a list of foods by nutrient content which I think is helpful. Check out the protein one (PDF), for example.

Aerin-sol said...

(I think I mis-linked the protein PDF. It's here.)

Michelle said...

Great information, Aerin-sol. Thanks for sharing!