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How do you eat for 2 and still stay in shape?

Many changes occur to the mother’s body during pregnancy. In the nine months of pregnancy you will gain about 11-15kg, most of it in the second half of the pregnancy. The weight gain includes an increase in the amount of circulating blood, an increase in breast size (in anticipation of breast feeding), a small amount of extra fat (to be called upon in breastfeeding), amniotic fluid and, of course, the baby.

Energy is vital for the growth of the developing baby. Around an extra 1500 kJ is needed per day in the second half of pregnancy. Just two bananas will give you 1000 kJ of that energy. And because those two bananas provide energy in a fat-free form, they’ll also help you stay in shape. Is this eating for two? Not really. However, it does mean that mum should be eating plenty of nutritious foods to assist the growing baby.

During pregnancy some muscles are more relaxed (which is the reason for heartburn and constipation) and there is an increase in appetite and thirst, and cravings, of the mum-to-be. The developing baby's health will depend upon the health of the mum before pregnancy, during and after she gives birth.

Bananas are a great food to include more often during pregnancy as they contain major vitamins that are needed at this time - B vitamins, especially B6 and folate, and a banana will also meet the extra daily needs for vitamin C. Let’s have a look at the nutrient needs of mum during pregnancy.

  • Energy. Extra energy is required for the growth of the foetus as well as the production of extra blood, placenta, and extra requirements for the mum, especially in the second half of pregnancy. Two bananas a day will help meet most of that extra energy need.

  • Carbohydrate. The extra energy required in pregnancy should mainly be from carbohydrates and protein, and a little fat. Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate is mainly in the form of natural sugars and a little starch.

  • Protein. Protein is needed during pregnancy to support growth of new cells in the mother and baby, especially the in 2nd and 3rd trimester, increased metabolic needs and just getting around. About an extra 14g of protein is needed in the last two trimesters of pregnancy for the growth of the baby. This can be a achieved by eating a egg (6g), 2 slices of bread (7g) and a banana (2g) or one of our famous banana smoothies can provide most of that in one hit.

  • Vitamin B6. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is required for healthy tissues, making red blood cells, and carrying nerve impulses. Your B6 needs jump up from 1.3mg to 1.9mg daily. Two bananas a day will meet that extra need. Bananas are unique compared to other fruits as they are one of the richest fruit sources of vitamin B6. Other good sources are pork, chicken, beef, fish, lentils and beans, and nuts.

  • Folate. Folate is required for the growth of new cells and genes, especially red blood cell growth, which is very important in pregnancy. A deficiency of folate is linked to neural tube defects (spinal deformities) in babies. Folate needs increase from 400 mcg to 600 mcg each day during pregnancy. The best food sources of folate are green leafy vegetables, yeast extract and liver. Bananas also contribute a modest amount of folate. Folate supplements are often recommended during pregnancy.

  • B12. Vitamin B12 is required for making new red blood cells and healthy nerve function. A little extra B12 is needed during pregnancy to help with normal cell growth. The best food sources of B12 are animal foods.

  • Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is required for forming blood vessels, skin, gums, and other tissues, and even bones. Extra vitamin C is needed during pregnancy (increasing from 45mg to 60 mg daily). The best sources are citrus fruits, and yellow or red vegetables and fruits. Bananas are good sources and two per day will provide about half the daily needs of vitamin C.

  • Zinc. Zinc is required for normal growth of tissues and bones, wound healing and healthy taste buds. It is especially needed during the early stages of pregnancy for normal growth of the baby. An extra 3 mg/day is needed in pregnancy. Good food sources include liver, kidney, oysters and mussels, and red meat.

  • Iron. Iron is required for healthy blood, especially helpful in assisting with carrying oxygen around the body, and helps with growth and normal appetite. Extra blood is required during pregnancy so that extra nutrients carried in the blood can be supplied to the baby via the placenta. Iron needs jump by 50% (from 18mg up to 27mg) during pregnancy. Best food sources are animal foods especially red meat, liver, kidney, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron from foods. Although a banana provides only a little iron, its vitamin C greatly helps with iron absorption from the intestines. One medium banana provides 0.5 mg iron. Iron supplements (often with folate) are commonly recommended during pregnancy.

  • Calcium. Calcium is required for strong bones and teeth, and in nerve and muscle growth. Extra calcium (300mg) is required for pregnant teenagers as they are still growing as well as nourishing the baby. Good food sources are milk, cheese, yoghurt, calcium-fortified soy drinks, canned fish with bones, sesame seeds and sesame seed paste (tahini) almonds. Bananas make drinking milk extra delicious as they have a creamy texture, so try one of our banana smoothies. A smoothie or shake is an easy breakfast option and is a healthy alternative to a bowl of cereal.

Constipation may be a problem in pregnancy as the muscles in the intestine lose some of their tone, which causes foods to pass more slowly through the gut. The pressure of the baby on your intestines can also slow down the passage of food and waste through your intestines.

The solution is plenty of fibre, fluids and physical activity. Although the banana is an obvious choice to boost your fibre intake, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, vegetables and other fresh fruit help too.

Morning sickness may be the first sign of being pregnant and often only lasts the first trimester but you can feel sick at any time not just in the morning. Eating dry crackers, toast or a piece of fruit, like a banana, in the morning before you get out of bed can help. Eating small snacks frequently can help mums-to-be feel better as it keeps the stomach from being empty, which can make you feel unwell. Avoiding spicy and fatty foods can sometimes help reduce nausea.

1 Banana
200mL low fat Milk
1 Weet-Bix®
1 teaspoon Honey

Add all ingredients to a blender
and mix well. Add more ice for
a chilled smoothie.

(Vitamin B6, Protein, Fibre,
Calcium, Iron, Potassium,
Vitamin C, slow release
carbohydrates)

Nutrient Amount % daily needs
Energy kJ/Cal 1110 / 265 N/A
Protein g 11.5 18
Fat g 3.4 N/A
Carbohydrate g 46 N/A
Fibre g 3.8 14
Calcium mg 292 29
Potassium mg 766 27
Iron mg 2.2 8
Folate mcg 74 12
Vitamin C mg 14 23
Glycaemic Index Low

N/A = not applicable

mg = milligram

mcg = microgram

kJ = kilojoule

Cal = Calorie

If you choose to breast feed your baby (as it is convenient, affordable and effective) your baby will be getting good nutrition and antibodies to reduce the chance of disease. Your body will now need even more nutrients and kilojoules than during the last three months of pregnancy. For example, you will need extra protein, B vitamins, such as vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C. Fortunately, many of these extra nutrients are supplied through the extra food you eat just to produce breast milk. The banana is a particularly good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6.

Breast feeding is also an effective way to help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight. It is estimated that producing breast milk takes 2600 kJs (620 Cals) a day (EssHumNut p453). Fat stores laid down during pregnancy meet some of this need and the rest of the kilojoules comes from an increased appetite.

Nutritious meals, snacks and drinks will be important in getting good nutrition for your self and your child. Snacking on one or two bananas is a smart move, or adding a banana smoothie for extra calcium, protein, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C, as well as the extra fluid needed for producing breast milk.

Sometimes strongly flavoured or spicy foods may alter the flavour of the breast milk, especially if they are only eaten occasionally, upsetting some infants. Of course, most fresh foods, like fruit, won’t be a problem.

A couple of bananas will help meet the extra needs for vitamin C (which rise from 45mg to 85mg daily) and vitamin B6, which go from 1.3mg up to 2 mg daily.

Another 19g of protein is also needed, all of which can be catered by a slice of toast and the Banana Classic smoothie below.

Bananas are a great food to include more often during pregnancy as they contain major vitamins that are needed at this time - B vitamins, especially B6 and folate, and a banana will also meet the extra daily needs for vitamin C, which rises from 45mg to 60mg. Let’s have a look at the nutrient needs of mum during breastfeeding.

  • Energy. Extra energy is required for the growth of the foetus as well as the production of extra blood, placenta, and extra requirements for the mum, especially in the second half of pregnancy. Two bananas a day will help meet most of that extra energy need.

  • Carbohydrate. The extra energy required in pregnancy should mainly be from carbohydrates and protein, and a little fat. Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate is mainly in the form of natural sugars and a little starch.

  • Protein. Protein is needed during pregnancy to support growth of new cells in the mother and baby, especially the in 2nd and 3rd trimester, increased metabolic needs and just getting around. About an extra 14g of protein is needed in the last two trimesters of pregnancy for the growth of the baby. This can be a achieved by eating a egg (6g), 2 slices of bread (7g) and a banana (2g) or one of our famous banana smoothies can provide most of that in one hit.

  • Vitamin B6. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is required for healthy tissues, making red blood cells, and carrying nerve impulses. Your B6 needs jump up from 1.3mg to 1.9mg daily. Two bananas a day will meet that extra need. Bananas are unique compared to other fruits as they are one of the richest fruit sources of vitamin B6. Other good sources are pork, chicken, beef, fish, lentils and beans, and nuts.

  • Folate. Folate is required for the growth of new cells and genes, especially red blood cell growth, which is very important in pregnancy. A deficiency of folate is linked to neural tube defects (spinal deformities) in babies. Folate needs increase from 400 mcg to 600 mcg each day during pregnancy. The best food sources of folate are green leafy vegetables, yeast extract and liver. Bananas also contribute a modest amount of folate. Folate supplements are often recommended during pregnancy.

  • B12. Vitamin B12 is required for making new red blood cells and healthy nerve function. A little extra B12 is needed during pregnancy to help with normal cell growth. The best food sources of B12 are animal foods.

  • Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is required for forming blood vessels, skin, gums, and other tissues, and even bones. Extra vitamin C is needed during pregnancy (increasing from 45mg to 60 mg daily). The best sources are citrus fruits, and yellow or red vegetables and fruits. Bananas are good sources and two per day will provide about half the daily needs of vitamin C.

  • Zinc. Zinc is required for normal growth of tissues and bones, wound healing and healthy taste buds. It is especially needed during the early stages of pregnancy for normal growth of the baby. An extra 3 mg/day is needed in pregnancy. Good food sources include liver, kidney, oysters and mussels, and red meat.

  • Iron. Iron is required for healthy blood, especially helpful in assisting with carrying oxygen around the body, and helps with growth and normal appetite. Extra blood is required during pregnancy so that extra nutrients carried in the blood can be supplied to the baby via the placenta. Iron needs by 50% (from 18mg up to 27mg) during pregnancy. Best food sources are animal foods especially red meat, liver, kidney, and fortified breakfast cereals. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron from foods. Although a banana provides only a little iron, its vitamin C greatly helps with iron absorption from the intestines. One medium banana provides 0.5 mg iron. Iron supplements (often with folate) are commonly recommended during pregnancy.

  • Calcium. Calcium is required for strong bones and teeth, and in nerve and muscle growth. Extra calcium (300mg) is required in for pregnant teenagers as they are still growing as well as nourishing the baby. Good food sources are milk, cheese, yoghurt, calcium-fortified soy drinks, canned fish with bones, sesame seeds and sesame seed paste (tahini) almonds. Bananas make drinking milk extra delicious as they have a creamy texture, so try one of our banana smoothies. A smoothie or shake is an easy breakfast option and is a healthy alternative to a bowl of cereal.

1 Banana
100mL low fat Milk
100g low fat Vanilla ice-cream
1/2 teaspoon Honey
pinch Cinnamon

Add all ingredients to a blender
and mix well. Add more ice for a
chilled smoothie.

(Protein, Fibre, Vitamin C,
Vitamin B6, Potassium Calcium,
slow release carbohydrate)

Nutrient Amount % daily needs
Energy kJ/Cal 916 / 219 N/A
Protein g 10.6 16
Fat g 3.8 N/A
Carbohydrate g 35 N/A
Fibre g 2.2 7
Calcium mg 309 31
Potassium mg 744 26
Iron mg 0.7 8
Vitamin C mg 14 16
Glycaemic Index Low

N/A = not applicable

mg = milligram

mcg = microgram

kJ = kilojoule

Cal = Calorie