Unless you regularly eat "clean" and health-fully, making dietary changes during your pregnancy can be difficult. Eat this, not that, drink this, not that, more water, less saturated fat, cut sugar... gah! It's overwhelming. While it is optimal to make several changes at once and overhaul your diet, it certainly is not easy or realistic to pull off. If you're feeling overwhelmed by all of the nutrition advice being thrown your way, consider making just ONE change. Today. For 21 days. Why 21 days? Current research says that's how long it takes to make something a habit. Here's the one change to start with: eat fruits & vegetables every day. (I know that kinda sounds like two changes, but let's just consider it one.)
If you don't already consume daily fruits and veg, you're missing out. Not just on the amazing flavor and tastes, but on the rainbow of vitamins and nutrients. Currently in the United States, only 1% of adults eat the recommended amount of both fruits and vegetables each day. Eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis provides innumerable short- and long-term health benefits.
So, if you're in need of making just one change, let it be this one. Worried about staying on track with your new change? Tell a friend who will help keep you accountable. Make a count-down calendar for 21 days and cross off each successful day. Plan ahead with weekly or twice weekly shopping to buy fresh fruit and veggies. Keep frozen fruit and veggies on hand for the days when you run out and need a quick fix.
The current daily recommended serving size for fruits is 1.5 - 2 cups and 2.5 - 3 cups of veggies, depending on 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.
Best Bang for Your Buck - Best Fruits & Veggies for Pregnancy
Not all fruits are created equally, of course, so if you're looking to improve on the vitamins you need in pregnancy, choose wisely:
- Raspberries and blackberries
- Bell peppers
- Endive or escarole
- Green peas
- Dark leafy greens, like collard greens, kale, leafy lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard
- Squash - winter & summer
- Sweet potatoes or yams
As with any changes you make during pregnancy, it's best advised to consult with your care provider, like your OB or midwife, or a nutritionist or dietitian, when you make changes to your diet. Eating daily fruits and vegetables is a great first step, and ultimately it will be ideal to make sure that the rest of your diet is as healthy as can be, too.