Your Preconception Diet
Find the right regimen to promote conception and a healthy baby
Food You Shouldn’t Be Without
- Fresh, lean cuts of meat, pork, poultry, and fish: Your body needs protein now, and lots of it. Make sure you get at least four to six ounces a day, and don’t hesitate to eat protein at every meal. When planning the menu, think “broil, roast, and bake.”
- Nuts and legumes: Keep roasted almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, and sunflower seeds at the ready. These staples are easy to keep in your purse and in your pantry. They’re a great between-meal snack, as their high fat content will help you stave off cravings for worse alternatives and keep you satisfied until your next large meal.
- Whole grains: In this category, Frosted Flakes don’t cut it! You need minimally processed varieties of cereals and breads, particularly those that are low in sugar and high in dietary fiber. Choose whole wheat over white breads, honey over sugar, and wild rice over white, “instant” varieties.
- Fruits and vegetables: You need at least five to eight servings a day—two to three of fruit and three to five of fresh veggies. Eat as many as possible in their raw state and steam the rest. Vary the color to maximize the vitamin content, remembering that orange and yellow signal foods packed with beta-carotene. Load up on carrots, apricots, peaches, nectarines, papaya, mango, and cantaloupe. Apples are loaded with vitamin C, as are citrus fruits. All of the berries provide powerful antioxidant power with minimal sugar. Eat blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, raspberries, and strawberries to your heart’s content. And don’t forget your green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, Bibb lettuce, radicchio, and red leaf lettuce provide you with much needed vitamins.
- Olive oil: Studies have shown that mono-saturated fatty acids found in olive oil, canola oil, and avocado may act as powerful anti-cancer agents. Your body requires good fat to function at its peak; brain and organ function depend on adequate levels of it.
- Prenatal vitamins: Women of childbearing age need 400 micrograms (mcg) per day of folic acid. Most prenatal vitamins pack at least 400 mcg of this critical B-vitamin punch—many contain as much as 800 mcg. Ingesting this amount seems to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in babies. Talk with your doctor if you have not considered taking a prenatal vitamin before becoming pregnant. Meanwhile, load up on green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and nuts, legumes, and grains, all of which contain folic acid.
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