A healthy diet is extremely important in our everyday lives. It’s actually much more important than many of us seem to know, and not many truly understand the reason why it is so vital to eat well, together with what it means. 

We don’t learn enough in schools or from our society about the right and good food choices, and the advertising commercials make us think much too often  that we are eating what’s right for us and our family, but this is really only a brand that has paid a lot of money to make us think we are buying and eating the right food and food products. 

In my opinion food, nutrition and the reasons why we need fuel for our bodies and minds to maintain the optimal function and health should be taught in schools throughout childhood starting very early, even in kindergarden. That way our wonderful, precious children will have a great, strong foundation of well balanced life and will bring healthy eating habits into their adulthood, therefore maintaining a stronger form of wellness and overall wellbeing all their lives. So to me, you see, it only makes sense that this should be done, and I do not quite understand why this has not already been happening for some years now. It would be just wonderful if all of us parents would just stick together and convince kindergartens and schools to FINALLY change their menus into more heathy, fresh, clean foods and snacks for our kids.

 The strangest thing is that even doctors don’t study nutrition and the real connection between food and our bodies thoroughly during their studies in school, unless they are specializing in topics that are food related. I believe this is something that is not so complicated to add into our society and should have been done much more and much earlier, since the relation to what we eat has been proven to be so important.Many people are now changing this themselves and there seems to be a lot of confusion among people about what is really healthy and how we should really be eating. Why are doctors still advising mothers to feed their young babies parmesan cheese and prosciutto?  (which small children should NOT be eating, in case you are wondering)

Like I have written here before on the blog, when I got pregnant with my first son many of my friends would say to me “oh you are so lucky you’re pregnant you can eat whatever you want, go nuts on the ice-cream and pizza!”. Meanwhile, I felt just the opposite. During pregnancy and then breastfeeding later on, was exactly the time I would have to take very good care of myself, my health and be careful about what I ate. During pregnancy so many things are being created, growing and changing each day in our body and if we want our baby in the making to reach the optimal start for a good life we need to eat well and be sure nutrition is high and regularly entering your body. Vitamins, minerals, protein, calcium and fat for most meals of the day will not only give you and your baby the power you need each day while maintaining a healthy weight, but could also be a key to a delivery without to many complications. A healthy mamma, healthy baby.

Eating well and regularly also maintains your blood sugar  at the right level so you don’t feel super hungry and eat a whole bunch of the wrong food due to a craving. Instead, you will feel balanced and will crave more heathy food. 

You don’t have to eat for two, this is an old saying that is not true. Your baby foetus does not need a large plate of food, rather a regular sized meal that will be easy on your digestion and count as good source of vitamins, minerals, folate,  protein, calcium and fat. You may want to have a snack in the afternoon that includes nuts, seeds or fruit, if you are pregnant now in this lovely december season I recommend tangerines or clementine as a snack as they are now in season and you have them so juicy and fresh on every other corner in town.

Maintaining healthy weight is also important for you and your baby  during pregnancy. The whole baby progress will feel better, and it will be easier to carry your baby belly if you are not too much overweight, helping not to strain your joints and ligaments, but you should definitely not be thinking about being too skinny ether. It is best to speak with your doctor and he should suggest you the weight that is the best for you and your body type and height.

I tried to eat a lot of vegetables when I was pregnant and actually I still do even when I am not pregnant. Vegetables and fruit was my main food choice, plus some legumes, fish, eggs, whole grains. Every now and then my body would go crazy and crave meat, and in general personally I feel better when I eat meat every now and then (from an organic farm of course, I am very careful and mindful about where I buy my meat from). Drinking lots of water and exercising regularly are also very important. Believe me, if you are pregnant with your first baby you will need that abdominal strength to push that baby out 🙂

Here are some ideas to maintain good health and food choices during pregnancy.

Whole grain toast with smashed avocado: squeeze lemon over and add some hemp seeds and/or pumpkin seeds on top. This is great for breakfast or lunch. You may also scramble some eggs ( I do my eggs plain with no butter and no milk) or add a salad with dark leafy greens, extra virgin olive oil with carrots and beets .

If you are pregnant during summertime watermelon is wonderful, I ate so much watermelon during my pregnancy and then I was so happy to learn that watermelon is naturally high in amino acids, vitamin A and folate.

Brown rice or quinoa with steamed vegetables such as kale, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, zucchini or any of your favorite greens. 

Roasted beets with walnuts and apples: Beets are are known for lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow in your body, have B vitamin folate which helps reduce the risk of birth defects and fight inflammation. However, the sugar levels are high in beets, so it is a good idea to eat them with some kale or something very green.

I use to do my own mix of nuts and dried fruit in a bag or a box and kept it with me in my purse on the go, just in case I started to crave something or run out of energy. Walnuts, almonds, cashews mixed with dates, goji berries and mulberries are known to be high in iron as well so they go well with the protein from the nuts.

Always carry your water bottle with you everywhere you go. Make sure your water source is good and it is good to invest in a good water bottle that is BPA free, something like Klean Kanteen, or a glass bottle. It is also better for the environment.  

 I just love Almond Butter. I used to slice an apple and dip it in some almond butter…. so yummy!

Home made hummus: spread it on a wholewheat toast with some fresh tomatoes and basil. Or use it as a dip with raw fresh organic vegetables.

Oatmeal: I cook mine with water and add  home made almond milk at the very end. While I cook it I also add cinnamon, walnuts, a full teaspoon of coconut oil and chopped up medjool dates.

I was crazy about trying out new soup recipes, so I made all different kinds of vegetable soups.

Home made gluten free breads: you can search the internet for so many easy recipes!  I will share mine very soon here on the blog.

Smoothies: I made a smoothie every morning and I added some muesli with it for some crunchiness as everything I ate in my pregnancy had to be crunchy otherwise I would get nauseous, especially in the first 4 months 🙂

Do NOT SMOKE!!!!!! I can not believe I am even writing this, but I do see women here in Italy smoking during pregnancy and that is a pure violation to your child. Remember, you are not bound to have a child,  but if you do, you are bound to protect it in the best way you can. You must set your needs aside for the next year or so, and this means also after your child is born. Smoking around a new born can have serious side effects on the child. Keep this in mind also when you take your child to an aperitivo which I see often in Italy: just keep your baby away from the smoke. Also remember that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is not ok either. I know the culture here in Italy is different, but why bother, it is just a period of your life and you must think of your child’s needs above yours. 

Pregnancy can be a confusing time for many women. So many changes and so many new confusing things to keep in mind. Plus, many women are very sick in the first months and some even through the whole pregnancy. But this is in most cases, I hope, also thankfully a beautiful time to do as much as you can to just enjoy this special moment. You are a goddess, and you are making a baby inside your body: plus, you are very lucky that you are able to make one. There are women who can’t get pregnant so we must be thankful for this miracle. Keep in mind this is just temporary, and you will look back to this time one day with warm thoughts while you watch your child grow up. Do the best you can to treat yourself well, relax and enjoy. More than listening to your friends and the internet, listen to yourself and your instincts. Most of the time you will know what is best for you and your baby. Follow your heart, you are doing the best you can and you don’t have to be perfect, just do your best. Your body will change so much and you will grow, but if you keep your pregnancy as healthy as you can you will stay pretty close to your old body , but keep in mind the miracle you are creating! What you get from all of this is so much better than a perfect body 🙂 

be proud of yourself, you are doing a wonderful job.

love JM

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