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Eating Healthy Prior to Pregnancy

by Russell
(Nevada, U.S.A.)

Russell's Question...

My wife and I are planning to have our first baby next year. Are there any foods she should be eating now to help make sure the baby is healthy?

Suzy's Answer...

Wow, Russell! I’m impressed that you and your wife are thinking ahead! Many people don’t start thinking about the health of their baby until after they find out they are expecting. By that time, the baby has already been developing for 6-8 weeks!

The time for your wife to start building up her nutritional status is now, before she is pregnant. I hope that she always eats healthy, but if not, now is the time to pay attention to eating a well-balanced diet made up of fresh, whole foods.

She should include several servings of fruits or vegetables with each meal, as well as with snacks, along with some good quality protein foods, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

She will want to limit her intake of processed foods and junk foods. She might want to consider taking a vitamin/mineral supplement to fill in the gaps, so that her baby will have everything it needs to develop into a healthy child.

She needs to pay particular attention to getting enough folic acid, since this important B vitamin will help prevent birth defects. Besides supplements, folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, fortified grain products, beans, seeds and citrus fruits.

Oh, by the way, it's a good idea for you to eat a healthy diet, too, so that you will be up to the challenges of fatherhood! It will also make it easier for your wife to choose healthy foods, if you join her in the endeavor.

Here is a list of Healthy Eating Tips

*Eat a variety of fresh, whole foods, including selections from the five food groups—Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Meat and Legumes and Milk.

*Drink 6-8 glasses of filtered water each day, while avoiding soft drinks and limiting fruit juice.

*Include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with an emphasis on vegetables.

*Include a serving of low-fat versions of good quality protein with each meal and snack.

*Eat a balanced diet with a ratio of 40-30-30 of good carbs, low-fat protein and good quality fats respectively.

*Eat colorful foods for their phytonutrients.

*Choose low-fat versions of dairy products and leaner meats.

*Eat good carbs such as whole grains most, if not all of the time.

*Choose unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

*Include fiber foods with each meal so that you get a total of 25-30 grams of fiber each day.

*Stay away from empty calories that provide calories but little nutrition.

*Limit your intake of foods with added sugar and salt.

*Limit pre-packaged foods and fast foods, which are generally over-processed, full of preservatives and high in sodium.

Our best wishes on starting your family, Russell, and be sure to let us know when the little bundle of joy arrives!

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell


Hi, Suzy,

Just wanted to let you know that my wife and I had a beautiful baby boy last week! She took your advice to heart and had a good pregnancy and the birth went very well, too. (Better for me than for her! :)

Thanks for your helpful advice,


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