Women's Healthcare Topics

Do I Have to Eliminate Processed Foods when I'm pregnant?

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Processed Foods Taste Good, But...

They're quick, they're cheap and they're convenient. They often taste good, too. If processed convenience foods are only used occasionally, they pose little danger. Unfortunately, in this age of over-scheduling and instant gratification, people often eat more than their fair share of processed foods.

Picture yourself a year from now. Your precious baby has not only arrived, but has started eating food from a source other than your breast or a bottle. Baby is sitting in that great high chair you've had your eye on. She's got on a cute little bib. An adorable little sippy cup, bowl, and spoon set are waiting on the high chair tray.

You sit down to feed your little miracle child. Look down. What's in that bowl? Is it filled with trans-fats? Will you be spooning up artificial coloring? I bet not. Chances are you will be very particular about what you feed your baby. And rightly so.

What do you want in the bowl? Whole grains cereals? Check. Fruits and vegetables? Check. Okay they're mashed, but they're all produce. No filler, just fruit. No additives, just veggies. When you picture yourself feeding baby, you see that bowl filled with healthy foods, not junk.

If you're eating processed foods - instant boxed foods you whip up in the microwave or even worse, fast food, meal after meal, your baby is, too. After all, your body is nourishing your baby. Good nutrition for baby begins with good nutrition for mom and dad for a number of reasons.

First of all, both your bodies made the baby. Your body will grow the baby. Second, you'll both spend many years making appropriate food choices for your child. Third, you'll be a better parent if you're healthy.

Eliminating Processed Foods

Learn about eating processed food in pregnancy.

Eliminating processed foods from your diet will improve:

  • Constipation problems
  • Energy levels
  • Weight gain
  • Some skin issues

Eliminating excessive amounts of processed foods (or even better all processed foods) from your diet may mean that you or your spouse spend a few minutes more each day in the kitchen, but you'll love the rewards you reap.

Eating fresh food tastes better, is healthier for you, keeps your day interesting, and gives you something to be proud of. Working hard to nourish yourself properly is one really great way to indulge yourself.

If you have completed your first trimester you've got the energy now to go to the market or to prepare a great meal (and want to eat it). Remember to take all those quick and easy meal fixes from your pantry. Maybe someone in your community's doing a food drive. You'll be helping yourself and helping someone else at the same time.

You need to take the same care with your diet that you will with your child's diet. Healthy eating begins with you.

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