If you are currently pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, here is a quick guide to dietary supplements that should be included in your daily regime according to the most recent version of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These are important minerals to include in addition to eating a healthy and well-balanced meal plan.
**Consult with your healthcare provider for guidance regarding caloric intake during pregnancy and lactation.
Supplements and foods to consider:
- Folate/Folic Acid- It is important to increase folic acid intake at least one month pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy in order to prevent neural tube defects. The recommended amount is 400-800mcg of folic acid per day. Food sources include dark leafy greens, beans, peas, and lentils. All enriched grains (i.e., bread, pasta, rice, and cereal) and some corn masa flours are also fortified with folic acid.
- Iron- Levels tend to fall when pregnant and then return back to normal post-lactating once menstruation begins. Pregnant women need twice as much iron in order to make the blood supply for the baby. Iron also helps move blood from your (and your baby’s) lungs to the rest of your body. Iron deficiency is very common for pregnant women so it is very important to consume at least 30mg/day to support this. Most prenatal vitamins cover this amount. Food sources include most animal sources, dark leafy greens, beans, lentils and peas.
- Iodine- Having the proper amount of iodine consumption is important for neurocognitive development of the fetus. Iodine is primarily in dairy products, eggs, seafood and iodized salt. Most pregnant women do not need to take a supplement.
- Choline- This mineral supports infant brain health and spinal development. This mineral is typically not found in prenatal vitamins but can be found in eggs, meat and some seafood as well as beans, peas and lentils. Speak with your healthcare provider if for choline supplement guidance.
- Seafood- A great source for Omega-3’s which are found in fatty fish. It is recommended to intake 8-12 ounces of seafood per week from sources lower in methylmercury. Over time, this mineral can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time. This, in turn, can lead to negative effects on the developing fetus. Here are the best options: sardines, pollock, flounders, cod, tilapia, shrimp, oysters, clams, scallops and crab.
For more information about the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, visit: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov
If you’re interested in joining my Prenatal or Postpartum Fitness classes, submit your request HERE or e-mail: Allison@allyfitatl.com
To indulge or not indulge over the holidays?
The holidays are quickly approaching and if you’re like me, it’s the most challenging time of year to stay ON TRACK with healthy eating and exercise! The key is to plan ahead before temptations arise with these few easy steps:
- Plan your Weekday Meals– Before the holiday even begins, don’t stop meal prepping for the week! This means over the weekend, write down your family’s meals for each day of the upcoming week and put your grocery list together. For my family, that usually means grilling or baking proteins like chicken or lean meats and washing, roasting and prepping fruits and vegetables so they’re ready to grab and eat. With my husband and I both working from home, this is great because we never have to think, “What’s for lunch?”.
- Limit Alcohol Consumption– Holidays are a great excuse to eat AND drink a little bit more…but did you know that one festive drink can rack up to 300+ empty calories? Yikes! That doesn’t even include meals! Even wine isn’t calorie free The average, 5 ounce glass of wine has 120 calories, martini about 200 calories, margarita and daiquiri…wait for it….up to 300+ calories PLUS over 50 grams of sugar! (think about how many glasses were consumed at your last holiday event!). So before grabbing that first or even second alcoholic beverage, think twice and maybe enjoy a small extra helping of your favorite food dish instead!
- Make Healthy Cooking Substitutions– I LOVE a good, rich dessert and creamy mac & cheese (who doesn’t?)! Unfortunately, that probably means there’s extra butter, cream and sugar in that yummy dish. If you’re planning to host or bring prepped food to your next family gathering, think small ingredient substitutions that, honestly, no one will know you made except you! Play around with recipes before the event.
Here are some of my “sneaky” healthier cooking subs:
- Cut the amount of sugar by a third or half in cookie recipes.
- Use applesauce instead of butter in cake recipes.
- Substitute two egg whites for one whole egg in any baking recipe.
- Making mashed potatoes? Substitute half cauliflower for half of the potatoes, use fat free half-and-half or low-fat milk instead of heavy cream, cut the butter in half, use fat-free plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
- Use whole-wheat pasta for the next mac & cheese dish and also low or fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
- For cheese and charcuterie platters: Choose low-fat cheeses and leaner meats like turkey salami or thin sliced lean ham.
- For regular ground beef dishes, use ground sirloin/extra lean ground beef or substitute ground turkey or chicken breast instead.
- Plan your Workouts– Don’t let the holidays get in the way of your regular workouts! Even if it’s just 20-30 minutes/day, get it in! Make it a family affair and take walks or hikes together or play outside. You can also follow along with some of my no equipment home workout videos on Youtube!
- Choose Food Splurges Wisely– Is there one or two special dishes or desserts that you only get to eat once a year? Enjoy those foods MORE and minimize the foods you can have any other time of year.
Stay up-to-date and accountable with more health and fitness tips throughout the holiday season on my YouTube Channel and Instagram page!
Do you find eating healthy at home is challenging? I feel ya! Being home 24/7 has its highs and lows when it comes to making right food choices. If you have kids, it’s even harder! Junk food takes up a good space of the pantry and way too easy to grab and eat. Here are some tips and tricks to get back on the healthy eating train:
- Buy more FRESH fruits and vegetables– If you’re like me, when I have fresh produce in my fridge, it forces me to eat healthier because I do not want the food to spoil and have to throw it all away! TIP: If you find that you cannot finish all of your fruits or veggies before they expire, freeze them! Wash, cut, Ziplock and date your produce and store them in your freezer for future use. I do this all the time and it’s great to be able to quickly grab and use these items when I’m in a pinch for dinner (or a smoothie)!
- Get rid of the junk food– OK, we’ve heard this before but realistically, junk food is comforting at times, especially at a time like now. The key is to not go overboard with the quantity of unhealthy food. Just have a couple items that bring you joy! Allow yourself one or two portion size snacks per day to keep away those binge cravings. My comfort snacks are pretzel M&M’s, butter toffee peanuts and full-sugar coffee creamers!
- Have an accountability buddy– This “buddy” can be a family member, friend, neighbor, whoever! Check in with each other everyday or just once a week to make sure you’re staying on track. Make it a team effort!
- Write it down– I promise you, writing down every single piece of food down in a journal or app will open your eyes to what you’re consuming each day! Whenever I feel like I’m getting off track on my eating habits, I fire up Myfitnesspal app and start documenting. I know this may sound tedious at first, but just do it for a few days and it’ll be enough to make a difference make you more aware.
- Get moving instead of snacking– There’s a difference between eating because you’re really hungry and snacking due to boredom and something to do. Get up and MOVE instead if you’re simply bored. Even if it’s just doing some jumping jacks and push-ups in your living room, play with your kiddos or go for a walk outside…whatever!
- Drink more water– I’ll admit, this is one that I’m continuously working on. Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger and that can lead to overeating when we should be hydrating instead. Our bodies are made of about 60% water! We should be consuming anywhere between 2-3 liters of H2O per day! Have a re-fillable water bottle on your desk or next to you at all times and make sure it’s filled. When hunger strikes and you just finished a meal, taking some big gulps of water and wait about 15-20 minutes. If you really are hungry after that time, eat a light and healthy snack.
Incorporate these tips and new habits into your routine and let me know if they worked for you!