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How Healthy Is Your Second Trimester Diet?

For most women, the beginning of the second trimester of pregnancy is a happy time. Most women find that their morning sickness is behind them and find their appetite has been restored. This is when those notorious pregnancy cravings often begin, as well as the infamous aversions to formerly preferred foods.

It’s thought that food cravings and aversions are the body's way of getting the nutrients it needs and avoiding foods which could be harmful. And while there’s no sound science to support this, the theory certainly makes sense.

Unless you’re craving a non-food item, like charcoal, ice, chalk or paint, it’s usually safe to indulge your craving in moderation. If you’re craving a non-food item, talk with your health care provider – these kinds of cravings, known as pica, can indicate a serious underlying deficiency that needs to be addressed. Even small amounts of chocolate and ice cream can have their place in a healthy diet during pregnancy, and if you’re craving a healthy food like strawberries go ahead and indulge.

The hardest cravings to resist may be those foods that are bad for you. For example, sushi is a food that pregnant women must avoid, due to the potential for food borne illness. If you’re craving sushi, try eating cooked fish with sushi rice. Or, if you’re craving feta cheese, try substituting a pasteurized goat's milk cheese. If you’re craving potato chips, make sure you’re eating enough salt – your chip craving could actually indicate a desire for additional salt. Some popcorn with salt and butter will give you the salt you are craving, along with a whole grain, fiber, and some healthy fat. Craving pizza? Go lighter on the meats and heavier on the vegetables, but don’t deprive yourself.

While most women have plenty of energy during their second trimester, it’s still a good idea to begin planning ahead for those last months of pregnancy and the first few after baby is born when you’ll be more tired and have less time for cooking. Cook extra servings of healthy foods now and store them in your freezer. In days to come, you’ll be glad you did.

Also, try to keep healthy snacks on hand. Fresh vegetables and fruit make great snacks, but be sure to add some protein – like cheese or milk – to round out your snack and give it more staying power.

The second trimester is an important time to focus on eating as healthy as you can. This will make up for any difficulties you had during the first trimester due to morning sickness, and help prepare your body for the additional challenges of the last trimester. You should be consuming about 70 grams of protein each day, several servings of fruits and vegetables – including leafy green vegetables, fruits rich in Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A – several servings of whole grains, healthy fats and essential fatty acids. If you have any questions about your diet, talk with your health care provider.

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