Motherhood is an extremely rewarding journey, but it can sometimes drain your energy – you are always on-the-go and it may seem that time is always against you.
This rings especially crucial during pregnancy, because you are not only responsible for your own well-being, but also that of your developing baby. It is important to note that a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are especially important during pregnancy or lactation.
Remember, nutrition is key during pregnancy– what you eat can affect your child’s development, which is why focusing on yourself should always be a priority as well. Neglecting this aspect could lead to stress, malnutrition, and growth deficiencies for your child.
This might sound a bit overwhelming, but fret not, with adequate nutritional knowledge and guidelines, including your doctor’s recommendations, you will do just fine.
So, here are six useful diet hacks that we have put together to ensure you get that maternal and child support during your pregnancy journey.
#1. Pan fry a quick salmon for your omega-3 fatty acid fix
According to a research study from the University of Granada, adding salmon to your diet during pregnancy increases omega-3 fatty acid levels that are vital for both your health and your child’s.
It also improves your antioxidant defenses due to nutritional contents such as selenium and retinol in salmon. Salmon also contains essential proteins, minerals, and vitamins like iron. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that pregnant or lactating women can take up to two to three servings of salmon per week.
Pan-frying a salmon is one of the easiest, tastiest ways of cooking this fish – just follow these fool-proof tips:
- Seasoning: Just season salmon with salt and pepper – these two spices are more than enough to enhance the flavour.
- Use a non-stick skillet: Using a non-stick skillet allows you to easily flip the salmon when pan frying. Cook it with olive oil (this is also high in omega-3 fatty acids!) until golden brown for about four minutes. Do the same for the other side.
- Add a healthy side: You can also quickly pan fry some asparagus – these green stalks are high in Vitamin K and support your child’s development.
#2. Crazy busy week up ahead? Make pre-packed meals
Meal preparation may sound daunting and time consuming, but making pre-packed meals is a smart way to make sure you get your healthy portions for the whole week. You only need to spare one day in a week to prepare.
The most important thing to consider is making sure you get enough of your macronutrients. Here are some ideas to add to your grocery list:
- Protein: This is especially important to help build your child’s important organs including the brain and heart. You can add poultry, fish, dried beans, peas, eggs, nuts, cheese and tofu.
- Carbs: Pregnant women should have between 175 and 210 grams of carbs daily. Carbohydrates, which become an easy energy source for your body include whole grains, pasta, cereal, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables.
- Healthy fats: According to the American Heart Association, the majority of fats that you should take must be from unsaturated fats – there are two types of good fat: monounsaturated (almonds, avocado, olive oil, mixed nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans). You should aim for four servings of healthy fat per day.
From here, prepare between three or four different recipes so you can have diverse meals for the week. Meal prep does not have to be extravagant, it can be as simple as setting aside a few almonds, steaming some veggies and some brown rice. Cooked brown rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days when stored in a tight shallow container.
#3. Blend a nutritious smoothie
Smoothies are a great way of packing in the essential nutrients, fibre, and minerals that you need into a tasty treat! Instead of heading down the smoothie corner near you to sip some sugar-filled drinks, you can make a healthier version.
All you need are the essential ingredients plus a blender, and you are good to go. Here are some of your must-have nutritious ingredients to shop for:
- Organic, green vegetables such as baby spinach or baby kale
- Peanut butter
- Nuts (walnuts, cashews) and seeds (flax, chia, hemp)
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Fruits like banana, mango, avocado, orange, apple, grapes, mixed berries, lemon
- Greek yoghurt
- Ginger or turmeric
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Honey for sweetness
There’s a lot more to add on the list, but try to avoid any canned options as these are generally high in sugar – so watch out for the food labels.
#4. Give yourself a snacktime
Setting aside time to snack ensures you get small, frequent meals throughout the day. Pregnancy and lactation can give you intense hunger cravings.
But, when you go hungry, it is easy to grab whatever is in the pantry. However, chances are, you will be grabbing onto something that is high calorie and low in energy, such as cookies or sweet biscuits. While there’s nothing wrong to consume these foods in moderation, these empty calorie foods contain high preservatives, while the calorie levels give you little energy or nutrients that you need throughout the day.
Thus, it is important to eat the right and healthy snacks that can both satisfy your hunger, give you energy, as well as provide you with essential nutrients. One of the best foods that you can snack on is nuts and seeds – these are a good source of healthy fat and protein that are essential to your diet.
You can try a trail mix by mixing up dried fruits, salt-free nuts, dark chocolate, and oats.
#5. Make a weekly menu plan
If you are going for a pre-packed meal for the whole week, you will only have to prepare your menu once in a week. However, if you feel like you have enough time to make fresh meals every day, then you will need to have a good menu plan to maintain a healthy diet.
Planning what you want to eat at the start of the week can save you time when thinking about what you should eat – at least you will know exactly what to prepare when your meal time comes.
Always keep in mind your nutritionist or dietician’s advice for the essential nutrients that you will have to include in your menu. You can make your menu plan any time you want as long as consider the portions that you need to take. Just like pre-planned meals, the daily menu needs to include your dose of essential carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, as well as vitamins and minerals from fruits or vegetables. Menu plans can make you extremely creative, resourceful, and disciplined to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
#6. Drink Enfamama A+ to support your nutritional needs!
But sometimes, no matter how much we prepare or how hard we try, some things in motherhood do not always go as planned. Some days, you have little to no time to calculate your macronutrients for the week, other days you just do not get enough nutrients in your body no matter how hard you are trying. But, that is perfectly fine especially if you can get your quick fix with formulas such as Enfamama A+.
What is Enfamama A+?
Enfamama A+ is scientifically formulated to support the nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating mothers. During pregnancy, as we have reiterated, mummies have increased nutritional needs to support both themselves and their developing child.
With proper nutrition and stimulation, you can help support your child’s growth and development from pregnancy.
Enfamama A+ contains 100mg DHA (in two servings daily) which is formulated to meet the expert recommended daily DHA intake*. It is also high in Folic Acid, which is essential for growth and division of cells.
Other than that, Enfamama A+ contains a unique blend of nutrients:
- Choline: Choline is a nutrient necessary for the muscle, brain, and liver to function properly. Choline is also an essential nutrient for pregnant and lactating mothers. Choline has been shown to improve the fetus’ cognition, brain development, and placental functioning. It also acts to protect your developing child against neural and metabolic deficiencies.
- Calcium: Calcium intake is especially important during pregnancy and lactation. Calcium is essential in a child’s bone development. Conversely, there are adverse effects on maternal bone health if maternal calcium stores are depleted.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D supplementation is essential for the absorption, as well as utilisation of calcium and phosphorus.
- Iron: Iron is important as it is a factor in red blood cell formulation. Women who do not get enough iron in their diet may feel tired throughout the day and are at risk for infections.
- Inulin (prebiotic): Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that is crucial to increase intestinal bifidobacteria to help maintain a good intestinal environment.
In summary, Enfamama A+ is a great choice for maternal and developing baby’s nutrition. It helps you get the supplementary nutrients needed, while skipping the hassle or worry of getting enough – it also comes in two delicious flavours of chocolate and vanilla!
*For adult pregnant and locating females, the minimum intake for optimal adult health and fetal and child development is 300mg/d EPA+DHA, of which at least 200mg/d should be DHA. Reference: FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper no.91, FAO: Rome.
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