Healthy food during pregnancy

Most foods are safe for pregnant women and their babies, but more care will have to be taken when choosing certain products. 

Fish and shell fish:

Fish and shell fish is an important part of a healthy diet.  Fish are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which has heart health benefits.

Although we know that omega-3 fatty acids are vital for brain development of a baby, caution should be take when choosing the fish we eat while pregnant. Fish species that are high in mercury should be avoided, very high levels might compromise the optimal development of your baby’s nervous system. Fish that should be avoided is sword fish, tilefish, king mackerel and shark.  Seafood should not be eaten uncooked (clams, oysters, scallops), this includes refrigerated uncooked seafood labeled nova-style, lox, kippered, smoked, or jerky.  It will be safer to avoid sushi as well.
It is safe to eat well-cooked seafood into your diet at least twice a week e.g.: shrimp, crab, clams, oyster, scallops, canned light tuna, salmon, Pollock, catfish and cod.

Fruit juice, milk and eggs:

100% Fruit juice, low fat milk and boiled or poached eggs are often recommended as part of healthy diets. Juice contains lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Milk is a great source of calcium and high in protein and eggs are also high in protein. These nutrients are also important during pregnancy as nutrient needs are increased. There can be a danger during pregnancy when you choose unpasteurized juice, milk or eggs as it may contain traces E.coli bacteria.  Thus make sure when you buy these product that they are pasteurized.


Meat like chicken and lean cuts of beef is widely recommended as part of a healthy diet.  If meat is not cooked thoroughly it can increase the risk for the presence of harmful micro-organisms that can cause food poisoning.  For safety reason rather consume well cooked meat during pregnancy.

What diet should you follow when pregnant?

During pregnancy it is important to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of food (not excluding any food groups), at least 3 balanced meals per day with snacks in between. Make sure that your daily consumption can be proportioned into approximately 15-20% Protein, 30-35% Fat and 50-60% carbohydrates; foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. A well-balanced daily intake should consist of all 5 food groups: dairy products, fruit and vegetables, meats (fish/meat/eggs/chicken), fats and carbohydrates.

What extras do you need to take during pregnancy while exercising?

During pregnancy there is already increased nutrient requirements.

  • Energy requirements are increase by 300-450 calories from the second trimester. Two glasses of low-fat milk and a handful of sunflower seeds, nuts or a tuna sandwich will add enough calories to meet the needs increased energy required.
  • Protein needs also increases but will be met by including one of the following: 1 cup drinking yogurt / 2 slices bread + peanut butter / 1 cup Futurelife shake mixed with water or milk.
    • Fibre requirements are increased by 3g per day. It can be easily met by one slice of whole grain bread, adding 1 teaspoon bran fibre into breakfast cereal or eating one medium fruit.
  • Micronutrients like Folate, Calcium, Iron and Vitamin D is usually taken as an antenatal supplement (speak to your doctor before taking any supplements during pregnancy). Other vitamins and minerals such as choline, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium and vitamin C is also important to be taken daily.   The requirements can be met with a variation of food in the diet.

As you can see the increased requirements can easily be met by adding a few healthy snacks on top of the food that you consumed before pregnancy. Very active women would have eaten more foods, especially before and after training in comparison to inactive women. It is therefore not necessary to increase intake of specific nutrients if you exercise during pregnancy on top of the already added extras mentioned above. If eating one or two of the snacks mentioned above the higher calories and protein needs will be met.  If you are still hungry after exercise, consume an extra healthy snack.

I usually make a shake to recover after a workout or drink protein shake. What are the do’s and don’ts when pregnant?


  • Choose food first for recovery after exercise (milk, yogurt, yogisip, nuts, peanut butter sandwich)
  • If you choose a protein shake
    • Make sure you are familiar with all the ingredients in the protein shake
    • Ask your doctor or dietician to recommend a good protein shake for you
    • Stick to pure forms of protein such as whey isolate or soya isolate


  • Don’t drink too much protein (15-20% of you intake should be from protein and can easily be met by eating protein foods).
  • Don’t use protein shakes that are designed for athletes with ingredients such as performance enhancing herbs or drugs
  • Don’t use a protein shake with added vitamins and minerals if you are taking antenatal vitamins and eating a healthy balanced diet

Supplied by: Futurelife

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