Did the gimmicky title pull you in? Good. "Do this one thing and your life will be perfect!" ...says every tabloid cover and clickbait piece ever. In complete transparency, the advice we're sharing today won't "fix everything." Spoiler alert: that doesn't even exist.
We're going to share with you just one thing that can make a big difference in your day-to-day dietary health. Why one thing? In the same vein as the simple tips from Monday's post for National Women's Health Week, we need easier-to-achieve changes and tasks right now. So much change is being asked of us on a daily basis -- we don't need a complete nutrition overhaul to add to that list (unless you're up for that or need to do so for health reasons, in which case, go you!)
Unless you already regularly eat according to balanced nutrition guidelines, making dietary changes during your pregnancy (or anytime, for that matter) can feel so hard. There are so many dos and don'ts -- eat this, not that, drink this, not that, more water, less saturated fat, cut sugar... gah! It's so overwhelming that we often choose to do nothing at all instead of wade through the information. If you're feeling overwhelmed by it all (you're not alone), consider instead making just ONE change. Today. For 21 days. Why 21 days? Research says that's how long it takes to make something a habit. Your one change challenge: eat fruit and/or vegetables every day.
For some, this isn't a big deal. For others, the thought is positively dreadful. Not everyone has a taste for fruits and veggies, but almost everyone can find at least one fruit and one vegetable that they can enjoy (or tolerate). And the search is worth it -- not just because you might discover some amazing new flavors and tastes, but also because of the rainbow of vitamins of nutrients you will receive. Currently in the United States, only 1% of adults eat the recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables each day. Make your move to getting out of the 99% percent by first looking at the reasons why you don't regularly eat fruit and vegetables.
Cost - It's true that fresh vegetables and fruit can be more expensive than packaged food and even meat. That said, some stores, like Aldis, offer super low prices on fresh fruits and vegetables. If that's not available, check out frozen fruit and vegetables. The prices are usually considerably lower, they last a long time, and they still provide excellent nutrients. Canned vegetables and fruit are also an option, but look for low sodium and low/no added sugar options when possible as canned vegetables and fruit contain a lot more sodium and sugar than frozen or fresh.
Taste - So you don't like vegetables. Or fruit. Ok, but have you tried them with... seasoning, a bit of honey, roasted instead of boiled, on top of cereal, in yogurt? The point is, the way you grew up being forced to eat fruit and vegetables may be what's keeping you from trying them again. Steamed, unseasoned broccoli is practically a crime. Roasted, salted, seasoned broccoli -- now that's a treat! Experiment with different ways to prepare and eat fruit and vegetables. You'll find endless ideas online, of course.
Difficulty - Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the choices or lack of knowledge on how to prepare, or perhaps it's the time it takes to think about one.more.thing. you need to remember and plan for. I hear you. So start small. Buy 5 oranges, one container of strawberries, and a large bag of frozen broccoli for the week. Slice up the oranges and put them into a container. Wash the strawberries. Look up a simple recipe for roasted (frozen) broccoli. Just start somewhere.
If you're worried about staying on track with your new change, involve a friend or loved one to help keep you accountable. Make a count-down calendar for 21 days and cross off each day that you eat either fruit or vegetables. Give yourself a star if you manage to include both in one day!
The current daily recommended serving size for fruits is 1.5 - 2 cups and for veggies, it's 2.5 - 3 cups, depending on your activity level. Learn about exact amount recommendations with this guide from the Fruits & Veggies - More Matters site. For ideas on how to get more in your daily diet, check out this tip sheet.
Eating daily fruits and vegetables is a great first step toward improving your pregnancy nutrition. Who knows -- changing just this one thing may inspire you to look to improve other areas, too!
TagsPregnancy Nutrition Healthy Pregnancy Nutrition During Pregnancy Nutrition Guidelines National Women's Health Week