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Healthy Eating : Your recipe for a healthier baby!

Babies often get a good head start on growing, well before most women learn that they are pregnant. If you are already eating a healthy diet at the time pregnancy happens, you’ll have helped your baby get the best start possible.

If you are eating a healthy diet and are taking a multivitamin with folic acid before you become pregnant, you will have helped your baby get the best possible start.

Now is a great time to make positive changes in your eating habits for both you and your partner. This will not only give you good health before you conceive, but create healthy habits for your future growing family.

Your choices…

For each statement, check the box that matches what is true for you:

Do you eat regular meals and snacks?

Try to include foods from at least 3 of the 4 food groups at meals and food from at least 2 food groups for snacks to be sure you are eating a variety of foods throughout the day.

Do you eat 7-8 servings of vegetables and fruit each day?

Vegetables and fruit will give you important vitamins, minerals and fibre. Choose dark green and orange vegetables and fruit more often. Try to choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.

Do you eat 6-7 servings of grain products each day?

Grain products like cereals, bread, pasta and rice provide vitamins, minerals and fibre, especially when you choose whole grains. Try some grains you have not tried before like buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, spelt and wild rice.

Do you have two servings of milk or alternatives each day?

Drinking milk provides you with calcium, vitamin D and protein. If you don't like or can't drink milk, lactose free milk or fortified soy beverages are a good alternative. Other milk products like cheese and yogurt can be enjoyed, too. Choose low-fat milk products more often. (If you are allergic to milk products consult a dietitian for alternative sources of calcium).

Do you eat 2 servings of meat and alternatives each day?

Meat and alternatives provide you with iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein. Choose lean meats and poultry as well as meat alternatives like beans and lentils prepared with little or no added fat or salt. Include at least two servings of fish each week. Good choices are salmon, sardines and trout. (Vegetarians, who do not eat eggs or milk products, may need to consult a dietician to ensure that they are getting enough iron, vitamin B-12 and protein.)

Do you include small amounts of healthy fats in your diet each day?

Healthy fats like canola, olive and soybean oil are needed for the body to use certain vitamins. Use a small amount (2 - 3 tablespoons or 30 - 45 ml per day) when cooking or in salad dressings. Avoid unhealthy fats like butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening.

Do you limit the amount of high-fat, sweet or salty foods and beverages?

Foods like cakes, donuts, granola bars, ice cream, French fries, chips and beverages like soda, sports drinks and fruit flavoured drinks do not have the nutrition you need. Limit these foods and beverages. 

Do you drink fluids regularly?

It is important to drink enough fluids every day to prevent dehydration.  Make water one of your choices. You can also drink two cups of low-fat milk per day. Follow your thirst to guide how much water to drink. In hot weather and when you are more active, you will need to drink more.

Many beverages contain caffeine. While planning a pregnancy and during pregnancy it is best to limit caffeine to 300mg per day which means no more than two 8 oz cups of coffee. Too much caffeine can cause your future baby to be born underweight. Caffeine also causes irritability, headaches and difficulty sleeping. Coffee, tea, green tea, and regular colas are sources of caffeine. Energy drinks may have even more caffeine than coffee and include herbs that contain caffeine-like substances.

Time for change

This is the time to eat a well-balanced diet according to Canada's Food Guide. Use this space to write down changes that you would like to make.


EatRight Ontario: www.eatrightontario.ca

Call EatRight Ontario to speak with a registered dietitian 1-877-510-510-2

Registered Dietitian at the local public health unit,

hospital or community health centre:

Health care provider:

Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP):

Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide:

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