We speak to Anna Jacob, director of Nutrition at Abbott Laboratories.
I want to provide the best for my baby. How do I make the healthier choices at food centres?
You’re right to be concerned. Your nutritional needs are now higher than before, but you don’t want to gain excessive weight.
The good news: You can still eat healthily at food centres. Here are some tips to make better choices:
– Pick chicken noodle soup rather than a deep-fried dish such as chicken cutlet.
– Ask for an extra serving of vegetable.
– Avoid oily or intensely sweetened desserts like buboh cha cha. Instead, end meals with fresh fruit.
Such choices will help you moderate total energy intake while increasing the nutritional quality of your diet. When there are gaps in the nutriment, a maternal milk supplement helps meet the extra nutrient needs.
If milk is so nutritious, can I take it in place of water all day?
Maternal milk supplements, especially those low in fat, do deliver all the nutritional goodness of milk and additional vitamins, minerals and even dietary fibre that are important in an expectant mum’s diet.
The Health Promotion Board recommends that a pregnant woman consume two glasses of milk each day. While it’s good for health, you don’t have to drink more than this, as it will displace other valuable food groups from a well-balanced diet.
Can I drink coffee to stay alert?
It’s normal to feel tired during your first and last few weeks of pregnancy. If you’ve to turn to caffeine, most nutrition experts suggest that you limit it to about 200mg per day. This amounts to around two standard cups of regular coffee or five cups of brewed tea. As these beverages deliver little nutritional value and take up space in the stomach, it’s important to avoid consuming too much.
How else can I keep my energy level up, especially at work?
Keep a healthy stash of snacks in your office drawer. Snacking can also be a smart way of getting adequate vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and other nutrients, particularly for some expectant mums who struggle with nausea and heartburn, and cannot eat three large meals.
Depending on your preference, include two or three snacks in your daily meal plan. Fresh fruit, milk including maternal milk supplements, yogurt, wholegrain crackers and unsalted nuts are some good choices. But moderation is key. Unsalted nuts, for instance, are rich in many valuable nutrients, particularly protein, but they also contain substantial amounts of fat. Limit yourself to about 30g daily.