Benefits of Eating Frequently During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause many changes in your body. In pre-pregnancy days you had lots of energy, strength and stamina. You hardly ever had to worry about weight gain. But now, you are fatigued, weak, light-headed and gaining pounds rapidly. Is there any hope to effectively deal with these ongoing issues?

A simple, yet productive approach to many undesired changes in pregnancy would be to change your eating habits. Of course you should eat a healthy balanced diet stuffed with lean protein and veggies, but what about the timing of your meals?

Eating small meals every 2-3 hours has loads of benefits — not only for pregnant women, but for all people. The typical American diet revolves around three major meal times — breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, this is a less healthy way of eating. Have you noticed that the dinner portions at your favorite restaurant are noticeable larger than the lunch portions? This is exactly what you don’t want. Living in an unhealthy culture makes it more difficult to stick to a nutritious-eating plan, but if you try hard enough, you can do it!

By choosing to switch to a six to eight meals a day plan, you will most likely see an improvement in the following conditions:

Too much weight gain 
Eating frequent meals naturally speeds up your metabolism and your body burns more fat at a faster pace. This one change in your eating routine could help you slow down on the
 pregnancy weight gain.

During pregnancy, dizziness can be caused by many things. Sometimes low-iron(anemia) or low blood sugar(hypoglycemia) can occur during pregnancy and can cause dizziness. Eating small snacks every 2-3 hours can help keep those conditions stable.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to nausea on an empty tummy. Keep the bites frequent, but low-calorie and healthy for a nausea-busting trick. Keep whole wheat crackers or healthy nuts in your purse in case you are busy and don’t have time to run home and eat.

Morning Sickness and Vomiting 
Eating frequent meals will also help
 alleviate morning sickness. Vomiting is more likely to happen if you go many hours without eating. This can be a result of low-blood sugar and other pregnancy-related ailments. So, keep snacking!

Digesting a large meal takes a lot of work. Give your system a break by consuming smaller meals. An easy trick for pregnant moms that work outside the home is eat half your meal at the restaurant and save half for 2-3 hours later. This way, you are still consuming your meals in more frequent intervals without breaking the work schedule.

Your body is going through so many changes — it’s growing a baby! Keep it fueled and charged with powerful, energy snacks throughout the day.

Low-blood sugar. 
Eating frequently will aid in keeping blood sugar levels normal. Low blood sugar can wreak havoc on your day. It can cause irritability, extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeats, panic attacks, and breathlessness. Stay away from refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, as these can also cause your blood sugar to spike, but then dip dangerously low.

HeadachesPregnancy headaches are typically a result of stress, low blood sugar, fatigue or anemia. Starting this small meal plan will help control those issues and lower the amount of headaches you experience during pregnancy.

Just knowing that your health and comfort during pregnancy could be changed drastically by following a more frequent meal plan is reason enough to get started! Here is a sample menu of what your six to eight meals could look like.

  • 7 am: One cup healthy cereal with fresh fruit and skim milk
  • 10 am: One cup of non-fat yogurt and a handful of almonds, pistachios or walnuts
  • 1 pm: One serving of hummus with fresh veggies, a glass of skim milk or fruit juice
  • 3 pm: One 8 oz carton of cottage cheese with sliced peaches or strawberries, two pieces wheat toast
  • 5 pm: Small serving of lean protein served with brown rice and sautéed green beans.
  • 7 pm: One apple, sliced with peanut butter
  • 9 pm: Glass of skim milk and a handful of whole wheat crackers

Take thought throughout the day to keep drinking lots of water. Water will help you digest your meals and keep everything moving in the digestive system. Also, remember this is only a sample suggestion for a small-meal plan. Your diet may need more or less carbs, more or less protein or other specific nutritional values.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers

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