Nutrition is one of the biggest documented facts that affects teens ability to have a healthy pregnancy. According to a nutrition reference for pregnant teenagers produced by the University of Minnesota, pregnant teens unsurprisingly have many of the same challenges with eating as any other teen. This includes habits such as frequent snacking especially on high fat and salt foods, skipping breakfast, being too busy to eat and worrying about their body and weight.
Strategies To Have A Healthier Teenage Pregnancy Through Nutrition
Pregnant teens have very specific nutritional needs which we talked about in the post Nutrition Facts You Must Know To Have A Healthy Pregnancy As A Teenager. Below are some strategies and ideas to help pregnant teenagers have a healthier pregnancy through their nutrition choices.
Snacks For Health
There are many teenagers (heck there are many adults) who do not sit down to a regular routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Snacks will help these pregnant teens fill the nutritional gap. Most teenagers tend to snack on what is on hand, so having a variety of healthy snacks that can help her stay on track. Here are some ideas for healthy portable snacks that will help your teen keep going through her day.
- Apples and string cheese
- Fresh fruit or veggies- any portable variety!
- Homemade trail mix– I love a mix of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts (when not in a nut free environment), dried cranberries and raisins.
- Yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt for more protein
- Air popped popcorn
- Low sugar granola bars
- Fruit cups packed in water
- Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese
Eat A Healthy Breakfast
Many teenagers develop the habit of skipping breakfast and the facts show that teenagers dealing with pregnancy need that breakfast even more. If you add in nausea or extra fatigue from teenage pregnancy, you may see a teen that is even more likely to skip breakfast. Talk about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast for both her health and that of the baby. Help her to make smart choices about breakfast. If nausea is an issue, do not be afraid to go outside the box for breakfast options. Here are a few quick ideas to help teen moms boost their daily calcium, protein, and vitamin intake. Fresh fruit can round out any of these breakfasts.
- Toaster waffles with nut butter or low sugar jams
- High fiber cereal with low sugar yogurt
- Hard boiled eggs and string cheese
- Scrambled eggs and cheese wrapped in a wheat tortilla
- Cold Pizza (Especially with grilled chicken and veggie toppings!)
- Leftovers from dinner
- Chicken salad sandwich
Fluids Keep Everything Moving
According to the Huffington Post, one in four teens drinks a soda daily, and 16 percent of teens drink a sports drink serving daily. While milk, water, and juice are topping the beverage choices, I noticed that a large percentage of soda beverages were consumed at home which is why family support is important. The facts are that even with teenage pregnancy, gestational diabetes is becoming more of a concern.
Help teens understand that now more than ever the drinks they choose are affecting their health. Choose water, milk or the occasional fruit juice. Encourage use of a water bottle throughout the day. Not only will it improve overall health, it facts show can help keep both extra baby weight and blood sugar at healthy levels for pregnant teenagers.
Readers, what other strategies should teenagers use when pregnant for a healthier pregnancy?
Image Credit: Ted Fu