PRENATAL NUTRITION

Natural ways to combat heartburn 

natural ways to combat heartburn

Most pregnant women will experience heartburn at some stage of their pregnancy – especially in their third trimester when baby is taking up more space and putting more pressure on your stomach.

Why do you get heartburn?

Heartburn is the process of stomach acid going back up your esophagus and giving you a “burning” sensation. Stomach acid is normal. We need it to break down food and to fight bacteria in our food. However, during pregnancy, the hormone progesterone slows down our digestion and loosens the opening between our stomach and our esophagus. This slowing down and loosening of your digestive tract is why stomach acid can go back the wrong way, especially in the third trimester when your baby is taking up more space and putting more pressure on your intestines and stomach. 

What can you do?

Here are 5 natural tips and tricks to prevent heartburn. 

1.    Eat smaller meals

Now that I’m in my third trimester, I’m almost guaranteed to get heartburn if I eat too large a meal. Instead, I try to eat slowly (chewing also helps prevent heartburn) until I feel full but not stuffed.If I haven’t finished my meal, I set it aside and come back to it in an hour or two when I’m hungry again. Eating smaller meals but more frequently seems to be the trick to preventing heartburn. 

2.    Don’t eat too late

Just like eating a large meal, if I eat too close to my bedtime, I’m guaranteed to get heartburn. I’ve had to change my dinner time to early evening, and then have a small snack of non-acidic foods if I’m still hungry closer to my bed time (see below for some snack ideas).

3.    Lie on your left-side

If you have to lie down shortly after a meal, lie on your left-side. Not only is this better for your circulation (and a good way to prevent varicose veins), but it also reduces the likelihood of heartburn. The opening between your stomach and your esophagus is on the right-hand side of your stomach. So, if you’re lying on your right, it’s much easier for stomach acid to go back up your esophagus and give you heartburn. If I have to lie down, I lie on my left-hand side and prop myself up with pillows so my heart is higher than my stomach. It works a charm. 

4.    Avoid acidic foods

Acidic foods can trigger heartburn or make it worse. What are the worse culprits? Citrus fruits and tomatoes. I try and avoid these from late afternoon onwards. Fried foods also sit in your stomach for longer, increasing your chance of heartburn, so be mindful of this if you’re going to have to sit or lie down shortly after you have fried foods. 

5.    Have alkaline snacks

Just like acidic foods can trigger heartburn, alkaline foods can help prevent it. If you’re going to have a just-before-bed snack, here are your best options: 

·     Bananas

·     Oatmeal

·     Brown rice 

·     Potatoes 

·     Raw almonds or almond milk

I personally love having a banana with a glass of unsweetened almond milk as a late night (or middle of the night) snack. Alternatively, try a small bowl of oatmeal with some sliced banana or try my banana oatmeal and raisin muffins that are perfect for an any-time-of-day snack. 

Happy (heartburn-free) eating! 

How to prevent stretch marks with nutrition

healthy diet during pregnancy

About 9 in 10 women develop stretch marks during pregnancy. Despite all the stretch mark creams available on the market today, experts agree that the determining factor on whether a person gets stretch marks is genetics.

Although genetics play a major role, holistic health practitioners will also say that nutrition can be the determining factor. I have to agree. It would explain the fact that I got faint stretch marks on my hips from a growth spurt during high school but I didn’t get any stretch marks during my first pregnancy with a collagen-rich diet (and I’m working on preventing any during this pregnancy).

 

How can food help prevent stretch marks?

First up, your skin is an organ that needs specific nutrients to function at its best. Your skin is your body’s largest organ so just like your heart or liver, it needs nutrients to thrive.

The key nutrient for healthy-looking skin is collagen.

Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissue such as bones, joints and ligaments. Without collagen, our skin would be inelastic, i.e., it wouldn’t be able to stretch. That’s why the beauty industry has long-used collagen in anti-ageing serums and moisturizers. Collagen improves our skin elasticity and without it, our skin is prone to wrinkles, sagging and stretch marks.

Improving skin elasticity from the inside out

I’m all about health from the inside out. Healthy skin is a reflection of a healthy diet and lifestyle. By eating more collagen-rich foods we can improve skin elasticity from the inside out. After all, stretch marks are a sign that the skin is not as elastic (or cannot stretch) at the rate it’s being asked to. 

As a side note, I still use stretch mark prevention creams, along with good nutrition, to prevent stretch marks. Since your skin is your largest organ (and everything you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream within 27 seconds), I've been on the hunt for natural stretch mark creams that actually work. I love ThinkBaby's Best Stretch Mark Creams for Pre and Post-Pregnancy list for natural creams that have been tried and tested on moms who've either used these creams and haven't got stretch marks - or moms who've seen stretch marks fade and disappear after using these creams.

Collagen-rich foods

The richest source of collagen is from bone broth. Beef, chicken and fish broth contain collagen from the bones it was cooked from. By slow cooking these bones, collagen is released into the broth. I personally love the taste of broth, so I drink a small bowl of it almost every day. There are a few places around New York you can get broth, but I’ve found that cooking my own is so simple and inexpensive, that I make a batch in the slow cooker almost every weekend.

Broths are also a great base for home-made chicken and noodle or minestrone soups. This is how I sneaked broth into my diet during my first trimester when the thought of broth by itself made me feel ill!

What if you can’t stomach bone broth?

If the thought of drinking bone broth makes you want to gag, try collagen powder. You can add a spoonful in to your sauces, your soups, your smoothies or smoothie bowls for a collagen-boost. Vital Proteins and Dr. Axe have high-quality collagen powders you can order online that are rather taste-neutral and easy to mix into soups, smoothies or even juice or water.

If you can drink bone broth, check out my easy chicken broth recipe that takes only a few minutes to prep and you'll have enough broth to last you a week. In my humble opinion, it’s totally worth the many benefits it can give to your skin and your body (not to mention your baby’s development too).

   Chicken Broth 

COLLAGEN + GLYCINE

 

 

10 foods surprisingly high in iron

dark chocolate rich in iron

About 1 in 2 pregnant women suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. Even if you’re not pregnant, iron-deficiency anemia affects about 1 in 20 women due to heavy blood loss during their monthly periods.

For most women who suffer from iron-deficiency anemia, the words “get more iron” are all too familiar. And while there is a role for iron supplements, there’s also a lot you can do with your diet to boost your absorbable iron intake.

What is absorbable iron?

To start with, there are two types of iron and they are both absorbed very differently by your body. There are also foods to avoid because they block your body’s ability to absorb iron and there are foods to eat more of because they increase your body’s ability to absorb iron.

Heme vs non-heme iron

Heme iron is absorbed more effectively by your body. Heme iron is found only in animal meat and the best sources are grass-fed beef, chicken liver, seafood, turkey and chicken (in that order).  

Non-heme is found in plants, eggs and dairy products. Your body has to convert non-heme iron into heme iron before it can use it for the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen around in your blood and not having enough of it can cause you to feel tired and fatigued.

It’s good to note that gram for gram, vegetables have a higher concentration of iron, even compared to meat. However, vegetables contain non-heme iron so you have to be more intentional about eating more plant sources of iron to get the same amount of absorbable iron as meat. Despite this, it is still possible to get your recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron from plant sources, especially when eaten with the right foods (check out the next section).

 

10 foods surprisingly high in iron

 

1.     Spirulina – 1 oz contains 8mg iron (44% RDI)

2.     Tofu or tempeh – 6 oz contains 3.6mg iron (20% RDI)

3.     Oats – 1 cup, cooked oats contain 3.4 mg iron (19% RDI)

4.     Lentils – ½ cup contains 3.3mg iron (20% RDI)

5.     Dark chocolate – 1 oz contains 3.3 mg iron (19% RDI)

6.     Spinach – ½ cup cooked spinach contains 3.2 mg iron (18% RDI)

7.     Potatoes – 1 large, unpeeled potato contains 3.2mg iron (18% RDI)

8.     Garbanzo beans or hummus – ½ cup contains 3mg iron (17% RDI)

9.     Quinoa – 1 cup, cooked contains 2.8mg iron (16% RDI)

10.  Mushrooms – 1 cup, cooked white mushrooms contains 2.7mg iron (15% RDI)

 

How to increase your iron intake

Did you know that your body is better able to absorb iron when you get foods rich in Vitamin C in the same meal? It might sound strange, but during my first pregnancy I craved burgers and I would eat an orange straight afterwards. I guess it was my body’s way of absorbing more iron! Other foods rich in Vitamin C include bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli and kiwi fruit, so try and include more of these foods into your diet if you’re anemic.

Unlike Vitamin C, caffeine has the opposite effect; it hinders your body’s ability to absorb iron. If you have an iron-rich meal, avoid having a coffee or tea for at least 2 hours. The same applies with taking your prenatal supplement. I try and avoid having a tea for at least 2 hours after I’ve taken my prenatal supplement, so my body’s ability to absorb the iron is increased.  

Practice safe food: what not to eat while pregnant

If you’re pregnant, it can be a little overwhelming to think of all the foods that you can’t eat during pregnancy. No raw fish. No unpasteurized cheese. Even prepared salads are out of bounds. It can seem a lot.

These foods are a ‘no go’ during pregnancy because they’re more likely to harbor bacteria called listeria. Listeria is food-borne bacteria, just like E. coli. However, unlike E. coli, listeria can cross the placenta and cause infection or blood poisoning in the baby. In severe cases, it’s been linked to miscarriage and preterm delivery.

Each year, there are 2500 reported cases of listeria poisoning in the US. Out of that 2500, about 500 of them are pregnant women. When you do the math, that's about 1 in 8000 pregnant women. That’s pretty slim odds, but still, it’s best to avoid listeria-harboring foods until after your baby is born, just to be on the safe side.

When I was pregnant with my son, I craved penne carbonara a lot in the last trimester. Penne carbonara is made with raw egg so I held out and sure enough, it was the first meal we had delivered to the hospital after my son was born. I still remember every bite, it was that good!

Here’s the lowdown on what to avoid and how you can lower your chances of listeria poisoning.

 

SEAFOOD

salmon

·      Raw or undercooked seafood including sashimi, crudo and raw oysters. Cook any fish until its opaque (not see-through) in the middle.

·      Fish high in mercury. Mercury has been linked to brain damage and development delays in babies. The bigger the fish, the higher up on the food chain it is and the more mercury it could contain. That includes larger fish including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna and tilefish. On the flip side, smaller fish such as anchovies and sardines are low in mercury. So are wild-caught  cold-water fish like salmon, cod and halibut. As a bonus, cold-water fish are higher in Omega 3s so they promote heart and skin health along with your baby’s brain development.

·      Tuna more than once a week is not advised. Canned tuna is generally lower in mercury than tuna in other forms so don’t sweat it if you have canned tuna from time to time. I’d recommend limiting tuna to one serving per week and eating other types of seafood that are lower in mercury such as wild-caught salmon, trout, cod, halibut, shrimp, Pollock and tilapia.

·      Smoked or pickled seafood thats unpasteurized including lox, kippered and nova style fish because there’s a greater chance they could contain listeria. If you have to have it, canned smoked salmon has been pasteurized and is safe to eat.

 

EGGS

eggs

·      Raw or undercooked eggs. Save your ‘over easy’ eggs for after the birth and for now, cook your eggs so the yolks are firm and not runny.

·      Desserts that contain raw eggs including mousse, meringue, tiramisu, egg nog and cookie dough (sorry).

·      Home-made mayonnaise and home-made sauces such as hollandaise, béarnaise, aioli and Caesar salad dressings because these all contain raw eggs. Store-bought versions of these sauces are okay and if you’re eating out, just check with the restaurant to see if their sauces use raw eggs.

 

DAIRY

cheese platter

·    Avoid raw milk and raw cheeses. Legally, all milk sold in the US has to be pasteurized so you don’t have to worry about the milk you buy from the grocery store. If you do buy milk straight from a farm or farmers market, check to see if its pasteurized.

·    Avoid soft cheeses like brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican style cheeses like queso blanco and queso fresco. Most of these cheeses are imported and could be made with raw milk so it's best to avoid them unless you can guarantee that they’ve been made with pasteurized milk. Swiss, cheddar and mozzarella are safe to eat during pregnancy.

 

MEAT

hot dog

 

·      Raw or undercooked meat. Cook your meat all the way through so no ‘pink’ is visible, especially ground beef and pork.

·      Pâté (raw chicken liver). If you love the stuff, you can eat canned pâté which has been pasteurized. 

·      Luncheon meats including ham, roast beef, bologna, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs. Luncheon meats are more likely to harbor listeria so if you have to have them, heat them until they’re steaming (about 165° F.).

 

PRACTICE SAFE FOOD.png

 

5 safe food tips

1.     Wash your hands before you cook or eat your food to reduce bacteria.

2.     Wash your fruits and veggies before eating them. It’s good practice to wash off any residue from herbicide and pesticide anyway.

3.     Keep your fridge below 40° F and throw out leftover food that's been sitting out for more than two hours.

4.     Don’t eat picnic or buffet food that’s been sitting out for more than two hours. Sadly, this includes pre-prepared fruit and veggie salads because they can be a breeding ground for listeria too.

5.     Don’t eat the stuffing from a roast chicken or turkey, unless you know the insides have been heated to at least 165° F.

 

 

Real vs fake food

doughnuts

Knowing the difference between real and fake food is the best place to start when making healthier choices during pregnancy, or in life in general.

It’s a lot easier to define what fake food is, so let’s start there.

Fake foods come from a factory. You can’t find them in nature. Think, Doritos, potato chips, candy bars. They’re considered fake because they have little nutritional value but are high in calories that can easily be converted and stored as fat, if they’re not used for energy.

Fake foods are often packaged and have long ingredient lists with ingredients that are hard to pronounce. I would save these foods for an occasional treat but avoid them on a daily basis because the worse thing about these foods is that theyre addictive. They can taste good, fill you up for a short period of time, but they'll leave you wanting more a few of hours later.

On the hand, real foods look exactly how they would in nature, from the plant or animal they come from. Think, fruits and veggies, fish, eggs, lean meat, nuts and seeds. These foods deliver nutrients, without the empty calories that you find in processed or “fake” food, so excessive weight gain during pregnancy is less likely. Eating an abundance of real food during your pregnancy – or before you get pregnant – is key to optimal nutrition. My goal is to make these foods the basis of my every day diet.

Then you’ve got your foods that float somewhere in the middle.

These foods do exist in nature but they’ve been somewhat processed to look the way they do when they end up in your kitchen, like bread or hummus. In the case of bread, flour has been milled and baked to form bread. In the case for hummus, chickpeas have been mashed with tahini, lemon juice and salt to form hummus. These foods can still be considered a whole food thats been minimally processed.

What makes these foods beneficial or not, is the question, what else has been added?

Has sugar, artificial flavors and preservatives been added to extend its shelf life and make it taste better?

Does it have hidden trans fats to make it taste fresher?

Or has it been overly processed so theres little nutritional value left?

In the case of rice crackers, rice cakes and most cereal bars on the market today, they’ve been so processed that none of the fiber or nutritional value from the grain remains. These products are sold as healthy but it couldnt be further from the truth. Instead, you’ve got calories that are low in nutritional value, but high in simple carbohydrates and sugars that can be easily converted and stored as fat if they're not used for energy.

Why does it matter?

Real food delivers real nutrients that your body will happily receive and use to support the little life growing inside of you. Real foods are nutrient-dense, with a higher nutrition to calorie ratio, compared to packaged foods. Your pregnancy weight gain will more likely to be slow and steady, and within the normal range.

On the flip side, if you’re always eating processed foods to satisfy your hunger, you’re more likely to put on excess weight because these empty calories don’t deliver real nutrients. When you eat fake foods, you might feel full for the moment but you’ll find yourself hungry for more, shortly afterwards. You might find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle of eating fake food, getting hungry shortly afterwards and doing it all again. 

What you can do today

Have a look at what you’re eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner and your snacks in between. Are your meals from real food ingredients? If not, what can you do to change them, so that they are? If you’re having a bowl of cereal or a cereal bar for breakfast, can you change it to a bowl of wholegrain oatmeal and berries? Can you have a pre-made frittata muffin instead of an energy bar if you’re rushed for time? It all starts with one small change at a time. You’ve got this, bella mama!

Broccoli cheddar frittatas

PROTEIN + CHLOLINE

Caffeine during pregnancy

i love coffee

Coffee: to drink, or not to drink?

When it comes to coffee, many experts agree that drinking about one cup of coffee - or less than 200mg of caffeine per day - will not affect your pregnancy

A good thing to remember is that, the longer you brew coffee, the more caffeine it has. Filter coffee has more caffeine than espresso because it takes less than 30 seconds to make an espresso but a few minutes to brew filter coffee.

It’s also good to remember that a latté or cappuccino in the US has two shots of espresso in it, which is about 150 mg of caffeine. In Australia and some European countries, lattés and cappuccinos usually have one shot of espresso in them.

The standard cup of coffee, tea or cola has this much caffeine...

how much coffee

Three reasons to limit your caffeine intake during pregnancy

1.     It makes you pee more

If you’re already pacing back and forth to the ladies, reducing your caffeine might be a good idea. Caffeine is a diuretic so it increases the production of urine so you’ll have to pee more. If you feel you pee excessively, try added a pinch of sea salt to your water bottle for added electrolytes. 

2.     It stops your body from absorbing certain nutrients

 Caffeine can also hinder nutrient absorption. For example, caffeine blocks the absorption of iron and calcium when consumed at the same time. If you drink coffee or tea, it's best to wait at least an hour before or after your tea or coffee before you take your prenatal supplement to improve its effectiveness.

3.      It can make your boobs more tender

Research has found that lowering your caffeine intake may also help with breast tenderness in the early stages of pregnancy. So, experiment with cutting out or lowering your caffeine intake if sore boobs are making you miserable.

But, I still need caffeine!

If you want a lower, steadier dose of caffeine, try black or green tea. Some black tea may contain a similar amount of caffeine to coffee, but the caffeine in tea is absorbed at a much slower rate so you don’t get that same caffeine-high (and crash, a few hours later), that you can get with coffee.

Caffeine-free alternatives

Rooibos, peppermint and chamomile teas are herbal teas generally regarded as safe for pregnancy. Be mindful about herbal teas during your pregnancy because some herbs have negative side-effects such as uterine cramping or bleeding. These herbs include St John’s Wort, Don Quai, Ginseng, Pennyroyal, Licorice Root, Yarrow and Ephedra. Check out the full list from the American Pregnancy Association if you’d like more info.

GREEN COCONUT  SMOOTHIE

POTASSIUM + MAGNESIUM

Why you need folate, not folic acid

green salad

Most of us have heard about how important it is to get enough folate in pregnancy to prevent birth defects.

You may have also noticed that folate is sometimes called folic acid. In fact, most prenatal supplements have folic acid in them instead of folate. So, what’s the difference and why does it matter?

Folate vs folic acid

Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate which means, it’s been manufactured in a lab.

Most supplements on the market today have synthetic vitamins and minerals in them because it's much cheaper to produce and sell. And the catch is...  these "vitamins and minerals" aren't as bioavailable as the vitamins and minerals found in real food (FYI, bioavailablility means how much of that nutrient your body is able to absorb).

This applies to folic acid which is significantly less bioavailable than folate in its pure and natural state, found in real veggies, fruits, beans and lentils. 

Research has also found that 4 in 10 people might have a gene mutation that doesn't allow their bodies to recognize and use folic acid. For more info on that, click here.

Why you need folate

Folate (otherwise known as Vitamin B9), is one of the most important nutrients your baby will need in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Folate will help ensure your baby’s “neural tube” forms correctly. Your baby's “neural tube” extends right down from your baby’s brain to form your baby’s spine and includes all the nerves along the way. Extensive research has found that a deficiency in folate, especially as the “neural tube” forms in the first few weeks of pregnancy, can lead to birth defects such as spina bifida.

How much do I need?

Pregnant women need about 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate each day.

If you eat a lot of greens and veggies, chances are you're easily getting this amount. However, I highly recommend taking a good-quality prenatal supplement as an insurance policy.

I took a couple of brands during my pregnancy that made me feel great and my son was born (and still is), very healthy. I loved Garden of Life Raw Prenatal and Naturello Wholefood Prenatal supplements. The best thing about these two prenatals is that they both have real folate in them and not the cheaper folic acid stuff that your body has a harder time using.

Folate in food

As the name suggests, folate is richest in “foliage” type food like leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens and romaine lettuce.

Brussel sprouts, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, beans, peas and lentils are also great sources of folate too. 

What to eat

As a guide, here are some ways you can get your daily folate intake.

You can easily boost your daily folate-intake by adding beans and lentils to your meals, or adding a cup or two of spinach in a smoothie you can have in between meals. 

BREAKFAST

1/2 avocado smashed onto whole-wheat toast (50mcg)

SNACK

1 cup of spinach in a smoothie (50mcg)

LUNCH

Choose two

2 cups of spinach, kale or romaine in a salad (100mcg) 

1/2 cup Garbanzo beans (175mcg) 

1/2 cup black beans (100mcg)

1/2 cup Kidney beans (50mcg)

DINNER

Choose two

2 cups of spinach, kale or romaine in a salad (100mcg)

5 spears asparagus (100mcg)

1/2 cup Brussel sprouts (80mcg) 

1/2 cup peas (65mcg) and 1/2 cup broccoli (50mcg)

green goddess dressing

GREEN GODDESS SALAD DRESSING

FOLATE PROTEIN OMEGA 3s

How to make healthier choices during pregnancy

colorfulhealthytoast

Don’t know where to start making healthier choices during pregnancy? Here are two simple ways to start that can really shape your pregnancy for the better.

1. Eat real, whole foods most of the time

Choose real, whole foods when you can, so you don't feel bad about the times you have an insatiable craving. I'm a big fan of the 80/20 principle, which means you eat real, nutritious whole foods 80 percent of the time and leave yourself 20 percent for more-processed meals or snacks.

Real, whole foods are the opposite of food that comes from a factory, which is most food that comes out of a box or packet. However, in our busy, modern-day lives, eating food out of a box or a packet is sometimes unavoidable.

Unless you cook all your meals from scratch, it's inevitable that you're going to eat some packaged food here and there. But the secret to a healthier pregnancy is to make sure you're eating real, whole foods at least most of the time, so you don't feel bad for the occasional treat or meal that comes out of a box or packet.

2. Choosing the least processed option

Processed foods don't contain the same amount of nutrients for your baby's development as real, whole foods. Instead, what these processed foods have are a lot of ‘empty’ calories - calories with little nutritional value that can contribute to excessive weight gain if not used for energy.

For example, if you need to choose an energy bar, choosing one that has whole food ingredients (like a Larabar or Rx Bar) is better than choosing one with a long list of ingredients, especially if that list includes added sugars, artificial sweeteners or preservatives you can't pronounce.

When I was pregnant, I would often go to long work meetings that were catered. (Some of these meetings would go for 3-4 hours at a time!) There would always be cookies and pastries, and sometimes sandwiches and fruit. If the sandwiches were made with whole-wheat bread, I would have a sandwich and a small serving of fruit. If there were no real, whole foods available, I’d always have one of my own snacks that I’d pre-packed in my handbag for when I got hungry. I'd always carry a piece of fruit or a packet of raw almonds or my own home-made trail mix so I would have a nutrient-dense option to eat and not be left hungry… because no one wants that when you’re pregnant!

Try out my pregnancy superfood trail mix below!

superfoodhealthytrailmix

SUPERFOOD TRAIL MIX

PROTEIN CALCIUM MAGNESIUM

Pregnancy Myth #1: But I'm pregnant, I'm supposed to eat whatever I want!

icecreaminarow

If you’re like me, your idea of what a pregnant woman should eat is probably from what you've seen in the movies and on TV… the pregnant mama chowing down on her third packet of Oreos… or screaming for Doritos and ice cream at 3 o’clock in the morning. It makes us feel like we could, or should be doing exactly that when we're pregnant.

And while you could eat whatever you like during pregnancy, being mindful about what foods you eat during your pregnancy will have payoffs - for both you and your baby.

By no means is pregnancy a time for restrictive eating... your body has additional energy requirements because you are afterall, growing a human being inside of you and that takes a lot of work!

However, it is a time to be intentional about the choices you make when it comes to food.

Real food vs junk food

If you choose to eat real, whole foods most of the time, you’ll get the nutrients your baby and your body needs, without worrying about excessive weight gain during pregnancy and the complications that may bring. 

Real foods allow your body to naturally put on weight where you're biologically programmed to. The beautiful thing about mother nature is that you'll be biologically programmed to lose weight from these places once you've given birth.

On the other hand, junk or processed foods don't contain the nutrients your baby needs so you're left hungry for more - and more susceptible to the cycle of cravings. Someone once told me that if eating junk food before you were pregnant made you put on weight, wouldn’t the same thing happen while you were pregnant? Food for thought...

So, while you can eat whatever you want during pregnancy, not everything is going to benefit your baby’s development - or give your body what it needs to stay healthy and strong after your pregnancy. 

Instead, make healthier choices when you can, and focus on eating real, whole foods that don’t come out of a packet or box. Choose meals with real food ingredients, that you have to put together yourself.

As a quick and easy snack (or breakfast), I love to make whole-wheat toast topped with nut butter, bananas and chia seeds. It's quick to make, satisfying to eat and full of nutrients that'll look after your baby and your body.

bananachianutbuttertoast

BANANA CHIA + NUT BUTTER TOAST 

PROTEIN FIBER OMEGA 3