The week of July 20 is Healthy Pregnancy Week at DietsInReview.com.
Elizabeth B. Rahavi, R.D. specializes in providing science-based communications about nutrition, health and wellness. She has extensive knowledge in consumer understanding of nutrition and food safety and serves as the Associate Director, Wellness at the International Food Information Council (IFIC). Elizabeth is also an avid runner, chef, and yogi, and lives with her husband in Washington, D.C.
During pregnancy, it’s hard to turn a corner without running into someone offering advice. While useful, advice can often fall short, particularly when it comes to health and nutrition. Expecting mothers often ask, “What do these nutrients mean and how do I include them in my diet?” “I hear that folic acid is important, but how do I get it?”
As a dietitian, I feel very at home in the grocery store, which is where advice gets put into action. Here are three quick tips that every mom-to-be needs to know when walking the aisles at the grocery store.
1. Great Grains. Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy, especially for pregnant women. To make the most of these energy powerhouses, look for ready-to-eat cereals and breads that contain “whole grains” or “whole” before the grain’s name.
*BONUS* Many of these foods also contain folic acid, which may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.
2. The Case for Calcium. Calcium is a vital mineral to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Moms-to-be should consume enough calcium for themselves and their baby. While milk is an excellent source of calcium, some people have a difficult time tolerating it. The good news is that calcium can be found all over the grocery store, not just in the dairy case. Look for calcium-fortified orange juice and ready-to-eat cereals. Tofu, salmon, and leafy greens also provide a healthy dose.
3. Iron: It’s Not Just about the Gym. The body demands more iron during pregnancy due to its important role in developing blood cells. During this time a woman’s blood volume increases by fifty percent to account for the growing baby. The produce and meat aisles are your best bet for finding iron in the grocery store. In the meat aisle, look for lean meat and poultry. In the produce section, green and leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are good sources. Vitamin C helps your body better absorb this necessary mineral.
How do you shop for health in the grocery store? Here are more tips on incorporating various foods for health into your diet and advice on healthy eating during pregnancy.
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