When I’m not being a new mom at home, I’m a practicing OB/Gyn. Here’s some practical eating advice I have for pregnant moms over the holidays.
We all know the holidays are notorious for adding a few “L – Bs” to the waistline. The average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holidays from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but research is showing the weight gained during the holidays is less likely to come off and tends to accumulate each year throughout an individual’s life resulting in a higher risk for obesity.
So, what if you are pregnant during the holidays? Perfect timing and great excuse to eat whatever you want because after all you are eating for two, right? Wrong! That couldn’t be any farther from the truth. “Eating for two” is an antiquated adage that has continued to be perpetuated despite the fact that doing so leads to entirely too much weight gain during pregnancy.
Here are a few healthy ways to navigate the holiday spreads while pregnant:
1. Avoid mindless eating
Be aware of what you are eating. Avoid mindless eating like eating snacks while chatting with friends and family or while watching TV. Keep food away from conversation tables and media viewing areas.
2. Avoid eating directly from containers
Set aside a limited amount of snacks to eat. Avoid eating directly from containers. I personally like 6 ounce glass bowls, they hold just enough to satisfy a craving.
3. Use smaller plates
Use smaller dinner plates to eat meals from. The smaller plates give the appearance of larger portions.
4. Drink water
Drink lots of water. Avoid empty calories like those found in sodas and fruit juices. You can flavor your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime or by cutting up some cucumber and placing it into your water.
Clean Plate Club
Stop eating when you are full. Avoid eating to the point of becoming uncomfortable. You do not have to clean your plate.
6. Get out and move
We are blessed in Florida to have beautiful weather during the holiday season, take advantage and get outside. Not only will walking outside help your waistline, but it will improve your mood, too. Thirty to forty minutes of brisk walking after your meal is all that it takes. Make it a family event.
Other advice I pass along to expecting moms: Unless you were underweight prior to pregnancy, you should be increasing your caloric intake by approximately 300 calories to 500 calories per day above what you were eating prior to pregnancy. That is it. For example, if prior to pregnancy you ate approximately 1500 calories per day, then during pregnancy you should be consuming around 1800 to 2000 calories per day. Excessive calories will lead to increased weight gain during pregnancy, which puts you and your baby at a higher risk for complications during and after pregnancy. In pregnancy, you are eating for one plus, but not for two.
Enjoy the holiday season. Enjoy the delicious food in moderation. Eat for one plus and be merry. Mindful eating and just a little bit of exercise will prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy