Pregnancy and Hydration

Today’s post is about Hydration.  However, I first want to leave you with a few recent pregnancy photos!  These are from 27 weeks (I’m 29 weeks now).

This next one is with our first gift for our baby, stuffed animals!

Now onto business: Hydration

Water is an essential nutrient, meaning that we cannot survive without it.

I’ve told you about the role of water in this post here, but I’ll recap why our bodies require fluid:

  • Dissolves & transports substances throughout the body
  • Accounts for blood volume
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Protects & lubricates our tissues

In pregnancy it also acts as a cushion for your baby and helps protect him/her!   The chance of preterm labor may be exacerbated by dehydration.  Everyone is different, but you should try to consume a minimum of 10 glasses of fluid each day.  It does not need to be solely water, however, it is important to watch how much sugar you consume.  I recommend getting the majority of your fluid from:

  • Water
  • Fat free or low fat milk
  • 100% juice (if you can use the extra calories)
  • Decaf tea or coffee

Keep a bottle of water on you all the time!  I’m a big water drinker, and find myself so much thirstier than I ever could have imagined.  Look at your urine color to determine your hydration status, it should be a pale yellow.  If it is dark yellow, keep drinking!  Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about getting adequate fluids.

Are you drinking enough water?  Do you have trouble drinking water because you hate it or just forget?

Doctor to the Rescue

Source

Dr. Krackers are one of my favorite snacks!  One might think with a name like “Doctor Krackers” that these are tasteless health crackers, but that is not the case!  These are incredibly flavorful and filling.

I have spoken about the importance of snacking before, and introduced you to another one of my favorite of my crackers, Ak-Mak here.

Dr. Krackers are unique because unlike other crackers that provide you with predominately carbohydrates these also contain healthy fat and protein for a complete snack.  The seedlander variety is one of my favorites!

The ingredients are: organic whole grain spelt flour, organic pumpkin seeds, organic millet, organic agave syrup, organic sesame seeds, organic spelt bran, organic molasses, organic flaxseeds, organic poppy seeds, yeast, sea salt, organic barley malt syrup.

One serving contains 8 crackers and provides 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat (1 g sat fat), 15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber and 5 grams of protein.  I love the combination of the sweetness, nuttiness and intense crunch each cracker provides.

They are great alone as a snack or paired with some hummus or low fat cheese.

Have you tried Dr. Krackers before?

Eat More Veggies!

Getting enough vegetables in your diet can be hard but really important.  Veggies are good for so many reasons:

  • They fill you up for less calories (25 calories per cup on average!)
  • Get you a good dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals
  • Keep you regular
  • Help to stabilize your blood sugars and keep you more full
  • Can help reduce the risk of certain diseases
  • Along with many more…

It’s important to try to squeeze in vegetables in any way you seem possible.  Here are some of my favorite ways to get in more vegetables:

  • Breakfast smoothies: add a handful or two of spinach
  • Sandwiches: add dark greens (spinach, mesclun, arugula, etc), roasted red peppers, shredded carrots, sliced cucumber, sprouts, sliced tomato
  • Salads: add a variety of vegetables instead of just the basics (lettuce, tomato, onion, carrot) try something new such as beets, broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, and zucchini.
  • Bring a side of raw vegetables with your lunch.  Carrots and celery are good, but think beyond the box and try: red bell peppers, snow peas, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Bulk up tomato sauce by adding mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini and broccoli.
  • Try roasting vegetables, it makes them taste amazing! Place on cookie sheet, add cooking spray, salt and pepper.  Place in 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the vegetable).
  • Swap pasta for spaghetti squash.
  • When cooking rice, start by sautéing onion, peppers, carrots, celery and garlic.  Not only will this add lots of flavor you’ll end up eating less starch.
  • Try to make half of your lunch & dinner plate filled with vegetables
  • Try steaming them in Glad Steaming bags (I haven’t used these myself, but have heard amazing things!)

Remember frozen are just as good as fresh, so there’s never an excuse not to eat your vegetables!

What’s your favorite way to sneak in extra veggies?

Staying Active While Pregnant

Staying active while pregnant is incredibly important for your own health as well as the baby’s.

Please note I am not a fitness professional, and recommend you seek out the guidance from someone who specializes in prenatal fitness while pregnant.  This is what I have learned from my own experience:

  • Get approval from your doctor before doing anything (some people are not allowed to for various reasons).
  • Talk to a prenatal fitness professional.
  • Do not start a new exercise regime once pregnant (for example if you never ran before, don’t start running!)
  • You don’t want to raise your heart rate too high. Try talking, can you hold a conversation?  If not, then take it down a notch, if you can, then continue.
  • Don’t let yourself get too hot.  You never want your internal temperature to rise too much.  Be careful exercising in hot and humid environments.
  • Make sure to drink a lot of water!
  • Do not do anything lying on your back in the 2nd or 3rd trimesters.
  • Listen to your body!

At 28 weeks (now in the 3rd trimester!), I believe staying active has helped me have a very easy pregnancy thus far.  My symptoms have been almost non existent, and I really don’t “feel” pregnant other than having a growing belly 🙂  I try to walk as much as I can and get in exercise most days of the week.  This works for me since I was extremely active before I became pregnant.

Here’s an example of what I have done this week:

  • Sunday: 30 minutes weight training plus a few miles (~ 3 or 4) of walking
  • Monday: walked a lot (about 8 miles)
  • Tuesday: nothing
  • Wednesday: 10 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes weight training and 7 miles of walking
  • Thursday: 1 hour prenatal pilates class plus 3.5 mile walk
  • Friday: 30 minute run (3 miles)

In addition I walk 1.6 miles every day to and from the subway to get to my office.  So you can see I’m staying very active!  My energy has been fantastic, and I believe exercise plays a great role in that.  I’m actually really excited because I won 5 sessions with a prenatal fitness trainer at a Big City Mom’s Event, and she’s coming to train me on Sunday!

These days there are so many exercises out there for pregnant women.  You can take prenatal yoga and/or pilates classes.  There are fitness classes devoted to pregnant women only.  Swimming is another fantastic workout for pregnant women.  In addition to plain old walking!  I think there’s nothing better than getting outside on a beautiful day and going for a really long walk.  My husband and I cover many miles each weekend day, given that there’s nice weather!  Just make sure to fuel and hydrate yourself appropriately.

What exercise do you enjoy while pregnant?

Granola: Friend or Foe?

Is Granola Healthy?

In short, the answer is yes and no.

Granola is made by toasting rolled oats with other ingredients.  The common ingredients are: nuts, dried fruit, oil, coconut, honey (or other sweeteners), and rice.  So it sounds like this should be healthy, right?  Well it really depends on the granola you choose and how much you eat!

When shopping for granola compare labels:

  • Choose one that is lower in sugar (some have sugar as the first or second ingredient!)
  • Choose one that is low in saturated fat (coconut is saturated fat and is found in many brands)
  • Choose one that is lower in fat (some fat contents are extremely high from added oils, nuts and coconut).
  • Choose a granola with a short ingredient list; some have many additives like cereal.

Granola Tips:

  • For weight loss purposes, I usually recommend staying away from granola since it is very calorically dense.
  • An average 1/4 cup portion has 150 calories.  If you eat 1 cup full you will be consuming 600 calories and that’s without milk or yogurt!
  • Try weighing out one portion of your granola to see what it actually measures as, since the contents often settle in the bag.
  • Serve one portion over greek yogurt with berries and flaxseed for a satisfying breakfast or snack!
  • Granola is a great food for those trying to gain weight.
  • Try making your own granola so you can control the amount of fat and sugar that goes in.
  • A good swap to save calories but still get a similar granola crunch is Kashi GoLean Crunch.
  • Yogurt parfaits served at cafes with granola, are not always the healthiest option.  They are usually made with sweetened yogurt, which combined with copious amounts of granola make it a high sugar choice.  If you like yogurt parfaits, make sure to stick with plain yogurt and limit your granola portion.

Do you enjoy granola?  Which brand do you like the best?

The Fishy Truth During Pregnancy

You’re pregnant and the big question is – should you eat fish or not?

The answer is: YES!

Your doctor probably made you nervous when you first told him/her that you were pregnant and they said to limit your fish consumption because of the mercury content.  Some pregnant women take this to the next step and decide to fully avoid it since they are nervous.  However, fish is extraordinarily healthy for you and your baby so it’s important to include it in your diet but in the right quantities and type.

What’s the Deal with Mercury

  • Mercury can pass from your own blood into your baby’s blood causing damage to his or her nervous system which can lead to developmental delays and brain damage.
  • Mercury is found in greatest quantities in large, ocean fish such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark.  These fish should be avoided by women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.
  • The lowest mercury fish are: shrimp, canned light tuna (limit white albacore to 6 oz per week), salmon, sardines, pollock, catfish, and tilapia.

What about Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

  • Fish is often touted for it’s high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  Which everyone knows is good for heart health.
  • DHA, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid, has been shown to be beneficial for your baby’s brain development.  It also contributes to healthy eye development.
  • Pregnant women should aim for 200-300 mg of DHA.  Keep in mind ALA (found in flax, walnuts, and other foods) is not converted to DHA well (only about 10%).
  • Here are some good sources of DHA: salmon (3 oz = 740 mg DHA); Blue Crab (3 oz = 196 mg); Tuna, light, canned (3 oz = 190 mg); Catfish (3 oz = 116 mg); Eggland’s Best Eggs (1 = 50 mg); Silk Soymilk Plus Omega-3 DHA (32 mg)

Bottom Line

  • According to the FDA pregnant women can have up to 12 oz of fish each week.
  • Make sure you consume a variety of fish, so you limit your exposure to any toxins.
  • Avoid all the high mercury containing fish as listed above.
  • Consume fish high in DHA Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • Make sure your fish is fully cooked to prevent any foodborne illness.
  • Don’t be scared of fish – it’s incredibly healthy for you and your baby!

A Healthy “Southern” Meal

Sometimes your body craves comforting, hearty meals.  However, your body might not appreciate all the fat and calories that can come along with them.  Barbecue Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese are two Southern foods that are not traditionally very healthy.  Think chicken skin, lots of sugary barbecue sauce, tons of cheese and pasta.

Last week I decided to make a super simple (nothing fancy) healthier type of “southern” meal.

The dinner I made consisted of Annie’s Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese, BBQ Chicken Breasts, and Roasted Broccoli.  The meal was well balanced: whole grains – check; lean protein – check; vegetables – check; low fat dairy – check. And there was virtually no artery clogging fat.

For the BBQ Chicken Breasts – I don’t really have a recipe, but this is what I did:

  • I added 1 tsp canola oil to a skillet over medium-high heat, and seared two chicken breasts on both sides just to lock in the moisture.
  • Then I topped each breast with 1 Tablespoon of BBQ Sauce (look for one that’s not too high in sodium or sugar), and I baked it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (they were thick breasts, if you use thin ones it will take less time).

For the Mac & Cheese – I prepared it according to the box with skim milk and instead of butter I added 1 triangle of light laughing cow cheese for creaminess.  As you can see I also added in some peas for extra nutrition and flavor.

To Roast Broccoli, simple clean and cut broccoli.  Place on cookie sheet, add cooking spray salt and pepper.  Place in 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.

Healthy, comforting meal made in less than 30 minutes!