I had a young expectant father ask me how to help his pregnant wife eat a healthy, nutritious diet during her pregnancy. My advice to him was to make growing good health a family affair. Make small changes carefully, and eat healthy together.
There are many good resources that give you a breakdown of what an expectant mom should be eating during pregnancy- nutrient and fiber-filled foods that are low in calories. I won’t go into the details here of how much of which foods to eat. I will, however, share information that will help you want to change your family diet, permanently.
First, Let’s talk about processed foods. That is most foods in a normal supermarket outside of the fresh-food departments. Food is processed for two reasons: to increase the shelf life, and to make the food taste and look inviting. What is taken out of processed food? The nutrients that cause food to go bad. Low nutrient = low spoil. What is added to make it taste so desirable? Sugar, salt, and fat. What does this mean to a person who wants to be healthy? Short answer: processed foods may taste good, but they are not a source of good health.
The Foundation of a Healthy Diet
The foundation of a nutrient-rich diet that will give you, and your family, the best chance for strong, healthy bodies is founded on meals rich in vegetables and whole fruits. Add whole grains, good quality protein, fiber-rich, and other non-processed foods that feed the body and soul. Keep a varied diet, eating from all the good food groups on a daily basis. Microgreens, which have up to 40% more nutrients per ounce than a full-size vegetable, are one of the easiest ways to increase the nutrients in your diet without adding bulk or calories- and they require no cooking. Especially for those that have trouble including enough vegetables in their daily diet, microgreens are the epitome of micronutrient-dense.
The Most Important Step- Desire
The most important step in changing our eating habits to increase good health is to desire to eat healthily. Not because someone has told you that you should. You must want to make the changes for a reason that speaks to you and be ready to make those changes. It takes commitment.
Sustainable Dietary Improvements
Dr. Maya Adam, a medical doctor and health educator at Stanford University has this excellent advice about improving our diets:
“Sustainable dietary improvements require a realistic targeted approach that focuses on progressive improvements in your diet without the fear of failure that comes when you try to achieve unrealistic dietary goals.”
Start With Tiny Steps
Start with just a few changes- perhaps increasing your vegetable intake 3 or 4 days a week. Start growing nutrient-dense microgreens and keep them on your table so you can add a handful to every meal. Eliminate one type of processed food. Work from there, a little at a time- but mom and dad, do it together!
What is your biggest dietary weakness?