It is generally not advisable to go on diets during pregnancy as this means limiting the intake of nutrients. However, if the mother-to-be is overweight or obese, complications like preeclampsia, premature birth and gestational diabetes can occur. It has been found that dietary intervention is beneficial for a safe pregnancy and delivery. A properly planned pregnancy diet for overweight women can greatly reduce any associated pregnancy risks. Pregnant women need additional folic acid, protein, calcium, iron and carbohydrates.
Pregnancy Diet For Overweight Women
Low Calorie Folate-Rich Foods
The best sources of folic acid can be found in vegetables. Green leafy vegetables in particular are folate-rich foods. Collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, endive and even seaweed are excellent sources and are low in calories. Other fairly good sources include asparagus, okra, brussels sprouts, broccoli, pinto beans, beetroot, white beans, avocados, green peas, lima beans, split peas, pinto beans and kidney beans. Meat like liver, chicken giblets, kidney and egg yolk are also rich in folic acid. However, they are high in calories and hence, are not recommended in the pregnancy diet of overweight women.
Low Calorie Protein Foods
Most meat products are the richest available sources of protein. Unfortunately, they are equally rich sources of fat. The good news is that lean meat can provide you with the required amount of protein for a healthy pregnancy. Ground turkey, chicken, lean beef like sirloin, filets and cube steak and pork loin are good low calorie protein food sources. Other sources include egg whites and seafood like shrimp, tuna, salmon, perch, tilapia, halibut, cod and snapper. Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, edamame or soybeans, kidney beans, skim milk, mung beans, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds and flax seeds are recommended for vegetarians.
Low Calorie Calcium-Rich Foods
Calcium is strongly associated with milk and milk products. However, there are other low calorie sources such as bok choy, okra, curly kale, broccoli, green beans, black beans, canned sardines in tomato sauce, mackerel, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, oranges, spring greens, peeled prawns, dandelion greens, arugula, collards, watercress, red leaf cabbage and anchovies. Among milk and milk products, you may eat fortified soy yogurt, low fat mozzarella, low fat fruit yogurt, skim milk, goat’s milk and milk based soups like clam chowder or vegan corn chowder.
Low Calorie Carbohydrate Foods
Rice and refined white flour contain a lot of starch. If they form a regular part of your meals, you can substitute with quinoa, whole wheat pasta, burgur and barley. Fruits like apples, watermelon and strawberries are good low calorie foods which are both filling and nutritious. Natural cheeses like cheddar and parmesan as well as salad vegetables like cucumber, lettuce and watercress are low in carbohydrates.
Low Calorie Iron Foods
As with protein foods, the best known sources of iron come from meat like beef, chicken and turkey liver. In order to control weight gain, it is important to limit the intake of meat and its by-products. Instead, include healthy portions of salmon, wholemeal bread, fortified cereals, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, garden peas, broccoli, brussels sprouts, white bread as well as clams, mussels, oysters, shrimp, squash seeds, sesame seeds, lean lamb roast, white beans and lentils. You can indulge your sweet tooth with a piece of good quality dark chocolate as it contains approximately 5 mg of iron. Structure your diet to include healthy portions of foods that contain these nutrients and take supplements recommended by your gynecologist.