Proper Nutrition and Pregnancy

How much do you know about pregnancy and nutrition?  Test your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ!

Eating the right foods is critical to having a healthy pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby.  The principles for healthy eating during pregnancy include the familiar reminders to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

Foods to avoid when pregnant:

  • Seafood high in mercury
  • Raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood
  • Undercooked meat, poultry, and eggs
  • Unpasteurized foods

Get plenty of these essential nutrients:

  • Folate and folic acid
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D

Many women have been told, “You are eating for two,” when pregnant.  This is not completely accurate and has caused many women to overeat, putting the mother and baby’s health in danger.  New research says that women need one extra snack per day which is about 300 calories.  It is best to choose nutritious foods rather than junk food.

Robin Weiss recommends her favorite snacks:

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Nuts
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Vegetables and dip

Do you have other healthy snack/meal ideas?  I’d love to hear what works well for you!

In the Know About Meningitis

Are you a recent high school graduate getting excited to begin your freshman year of college after a nice a relaxing summer?  Are you a mom with a daughter heading to college in the fall?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, you need to be aware of Meningitis.

College freshmen are at an increased risk because of close living spaces in the dorms.

What is it?  Meningitis is inflammation in the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord caused by a viral or bacterial infection.  Viral meningitis is usually less severe and clears up without specific treatment.  Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, can be very severe and result in brain damage, hearing loss, learning disability, or death.

What are the Symptoms?  The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache – severe and persistent
  • Stiff painful neck, especially when trying to touch the chin to the chest
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion and decreased level of consciousness
  • Seizures

These symptoms are similar to the flu and usually appear suddenly.  It is important to get to a doctor as soon as you suspect that you have meningitis.

Is there a vaccine?  Yes.  There are two vaccines that prevent most, but not all cases of meningitis and it is recommended by the CDC for all children ages 11-18.

How can I avoid getting it?

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • Don’t share food, water bottles, eating utensils, tissues, towels, lip gloss, etc.
  • Cover your cough

Here Comes the Sun!

Everyone is excited to get out in the summer sun and swim, hike, go on a picnic, go boating, go to the beach. Just thinking about this makes me want to stop writing and go outside! But, nothing puts a damper on summer fun like a bad sunburn!  The best way to enjoy all of these great summer activities is by wearing sunscreen and using sun protection.

Going out in the sun without sun protection can expose us to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  These rays damage the skin and can lead to wrinkles, age spots, skin cancer, and permanent damage to the eyes.

The CDC suggestions for sun protection include:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.

Most of the older women that I talk to mention how they wish they would have used sunscreen more as a kid because they are paying for not using it now that they are older.  Many of these women are using sunscreen now, but it is often too late.  The damage has been done.  Young girls out there: invest in your future and start wearing sunscreen now.  You will be grateful that you did!

Do you use sunscreen?  What helps you remember to apply sunscreen?  Share your advice with us!

Nutrition News

I’m thinking of an object.  It’s shaped like a triangle and divided into sections.  It tells us how much of each food group to eat…

It’s the food guide pyramid!

The food guide pyramid was created in 1992, revised in 2005 and just yesterday, First Lady, Michelle Obama announced a new diagram to help Americans eat healthier.  It is called My Plate and is part of her campaign against obesity.  The image is simple and easier to understand than the previous pyramids.  The plate is divided into sections to show how much should be filled with fruit, vegetables, grains and protein.  There is a circle off to the side to represent dairy.

Along with the new image, a website has been created with tips on balancing calories, planning a healthy menu, foods to increase in your diet and foods to decrease, weight loss information and much more.

“As long as they’re eating proper portions, as long as half of their meal is fruits and vegetables alongside their lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, then we’re good.  It’s as simple as that,” the first lady said at the MyPlate.gov unveiling.

The other diagrams are still accurate representations of a healthy diet, but this new diagram is easier to understand.  We can visualize the image in our minds as we fill our plates before meals and hopefully it will guide us to make more balanced meal choices.

Check out the website.  Check out the new diagram.  Is it better than what we had before?  Share your thoughts with us!

Eating Disorders

What are they?

An eating disorder is a condition where a person has severe disturbances in their eating habits.  These disturbances can include extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating.  A person with an eating disorder feels extreme distress or concern about their weight and body shape.

Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood.  Boys and males can have eating disorders too; but they are much more common in girls and women.   The two most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a distorted body image and intense fear of gaining weight.  People with anorexia often use unhealthy methods to lose weight.  Dieting and exercising excessively, self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas are common ways to try to lose weight.  Weighing one’s self repeatedly, portioning food carefully, and eating only very small quantities of certain foods are typical behaviors of a person with anorexia.

Treatment involves three components:

  1. Restoring the person to a healthy weight;
  2. Treating the psychological issues related to the eating disorder; and
  3. Reducing or eliminating behaviors or thoughts that lead to disordered eating, and preventing relapse.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating, followed by frantic efforts to avoid gaining weight, known as purging.  They often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape.Usually, bulimic behavior is done in secret and is accompanied by feelings of disgust or shame.

Treatment often involves a combination of options and depends on the needs of the individual.  To reduce or eliminate binge and purge behavior, a patient may undergo nutritional counseling and psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or be prescribed medication.

Treatable-Eating disorders are treatable, but no treatment plan is alike.  It is best if the treatment is tailored to the patient’s individual needs.  Treatment may include medical care and monitoring; medications; nutritional counseling; and individual, group and/or family psychotherapy. Some patients may also need to be hospitalized to treat malnutrition or to gain weight.

 

Celebrating Girls

Every once in a while I get this rush of overwhelming excitement about being a girl. It’s great, don’t you think?  As girls, we get to play sports, dance, wear jewelry, and be wives, mothers, and sisters.  We get to wear dresses, run and play.  We go shopping and have slumber parties; activities that boys just don’t understand!

Girls Inc. is a non-profit organization with the goal to inspire girls to be strong.  They created a Bill of Rights for girls that help to inspire us to be bold and successful.  This program helps young girls realize their value and potential.  A six-year old girl shared her thoughts about being a girl.  She said, “It’s good to be a girl in this world today.  I like being a girl because I can speak for myself. I can stand up for myself. Being a girl makes me strong.”

Being a girl is not just about all of the fun activities we get to do.  Girls are capable of success and no one can stand in our way.  Girls become Doctors, teachers, nurses, scientists and much more.  The possibilities are endless if you believe in yourself.

As girls and women, we have so many great opportunities to eliminate the stereotypes that hold us back.  We can change the world.

What are your favorite things about being a girl?