Get Your “Fertility” Plate in Shape with Nutrition for Fertility
In recognition of National Nutrition Month, this is the first of four blogs in March focusing on nutrition for fertility. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (formerly American Dietetics Association) has announced this month’s theme as “Get Your Plate in Shape.” The Academy is using the new USDA’s My Plate design to remind consumers of the importance of eating balanced meals comprised of all the food groups.
We all know that this concept is easier said than done and I wish that healthy eating was as simple as choosing food groups at each meal. Before the food gets to our plates, we do have to figure out (1) when to go grocery shopping, (2) what to buy, (3) how to prepare the food, and (4) when to eat it. These decisions compete with the many other daily tasks in our busy lives.
Pregnancy Diet Planning
To achieve a healthy pregnancy diet before we create our plate, we must make time for all our meals--breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. Many women and men skip meals because they are too busy, too tired, or wrongly believe that skipping meals will help them lose weight. Long term meal skipping can cause many unhealthy metabolic changes such as weight gain, elevated fasting glucose, HgbA1c, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased insulin resistance. Any one of these symptoms prior to pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk for gestational diabetes.
Skipping meals does not help weight loss. Meal skipping, especially breakfast and/or lunch, slows metabolism, increases drowsiness, and increases cravings for carbohydrates. The human body becomes very efficient at conserving calories when meals are skipped. The body then goes into storage mode and it stores more calories as fat.
Maternity Diet Warnings
Both skipping meals and consuming fewer calories than recommended will also contribute to poor health by causing nutrient deficiencies. A woman’s nutritional status prior to pregnancy and her maternal diet directly affect pregnancy outcome and quality of breast milk after birth. Low nutrient intake, such as foods rich in protein, folate, B12, and other B vitamins prior to pregnancy could contribute to neural tube defects and other birth defects, as well as anemia and poor growth.
Remember YOU. Your health is so very important to you and your future child. If you are a meal skipper, think ahead and plan a breakfast/lunch the night before. Take a moment to plan menus and grocery shop. Consult with Fertility Nutritionist Carolyn Gundell, M.S. at RMACT. A well-balanced meal plan will give you and your baby a healthy start.