It’s important to eat mindfully during your pregnancy whilst taking care of the two of you. We get advice from Elisa on how to make mindful choices when it comes to food.
It’s no secret that cravings of all kinds happen during pregnancy. I hear stories of women cravings the strangest of foods and sometimes feeling somewhat controlled by food.
I’m a firm believer that cravings are your body’s way of talking to you. Very often, these cravings come in the form of quick sugar, refined carbohydrates and junk food. Your body is screaming for energy and since you are essentially feeding two (or more) people, it’s not surprising.
Eating mindfully means being in tune with what your body is really seeking and slowing down enough to actually taste, and enjoy eating.
After all, if we really want our babies to be fully nourished and healthy, it all begins during pregnancy. You may be surprised to know that babies not only are impacted by food during pregnancy but also by stress. One of the biggest forms of stress that women can actually work on every day, is slowing down with their meals. Our digestive system literally shuts down when we are in a state of stress. This means, that even if you are eating a homemade kale smoothie, you can’t break down and assimilate the nutrition if you are in a state of fight or flight. Bummer huh?
If you are running out the door inhaling your breakfast because you are late to meetings, it’s very likely that both Mum and the baby aren’t going to feel “nourished” and will be quickly seeking the next opportunity to eat. Eating after all, serves a variety of functions in our lives, and nutrition is just one of them. Mindful eating allows us to slow down, connect with our body, share stories and be a part of a community.
Here are my favourite tips for eating mindfully during pregnancy, and beyond!
- Morning intentions. Take 10 seconds in the morning and set an intention on how you wish to live. You may say, “I aim to be patient with everyone today” or “I will make it a point to be connected to nature today”. Notice that this is not about accomplishing tasks but rather, focusing on how we want to live. This sets the tone and gives us a compass that we can continually come back to through the day.
- Say thank you. Prayer or expressing gratitude is a wonderful way to slow down, smell your food, give thanks and get your salivary glands and digestive fires roaring and ready to go!
- Before each meal, take 3 deep breaths. This may take you all of 10 seconds but it is essential for setting you up for mindful eating and utilising your food. Deep breaths are the quickest, cheapest and most practical way to activate our parasympathetic nervous system and truly nourish our bodies.
- Put the fork/spoon down at least 4 times during the meal. You don’t need to grasp the utensil while you are chewing. It is okay to sit back, chew and enjoy the people and atmosphere you are in.
- Go easy on the sugar. Remember that sugar is an anti-nutrient and literally robs our bodies of precious nutrients necessary for both Mum and baby, like B Vitamins and Magnesium. If you are looking for something sweet, enjoy a fresh orange or a Medjool date covered in peanut butter/coconut flakes (pop in the freezer for 2 hours!) Yummos!