Fruit is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. It is a wonderful food group for pregnant mom and baby, because it keeps the vascular system of both mom and baby healthy and developing optimally. The antioxidants help keep everything running smoothly and help prevent preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hypertension.

I recommend you get a whole raw fruit 3 times a day (this can be at meals), and you include a fruit or veggie (many can be dried) at almost every snack. Your body relies on antioxidants for health, and fruit is a wonderful, natural source of the stuff. Not to mention the fiber it contains.

Unfortunately, many people eat candy and soda as a surrogate for fruit consumption when they have a sugar craving. Your tongue accepts candy and soda as though it were fruit, even though it obviously doesn’t have the nutritional value of fruit. A little candy won’t hurt you, but when you eat candy instead of fruit when you have a sweet tooth, you’re depriving your body of an important opportunity to get some really good nutrition. This article will help you to replace sugar and soda consumption with fulfilling fruits.

In order to to incorporate a lot of fruit into your diet, you’ll need to look at the situation holistically and make a few changes. Basically, you need to recognize your current habits, clarify the intended habits, identify the factors involved in both habit systems, do some planning, and then do some mental reprogramming for the new habits.

To help you out, I’ll identify the most common factors affecting fruit consumption:

– It needs to be easily accessible wherever you’re at: home, work, or on the road.
– You need to have enough of it on hand at all times.
– Buying, preparing, and eating it needs to fit in well with your regular routine.
– It should be fresh and of high quality or it won’t be palatable.
– It shouldn’t take inconveniently long to prepare.
– You need to address any food addictions or strong preferences that might divert you from fruit consumption.
– You need to give yourself enough time to develop the habit patterns that, once developed, will make fruit consumption persistently natural and easily accomplished (not to mention enjoyable!)

Tips to address these common factors:

– Buy fresh fruit weekly; calculate how much to buy based on the following formula: #people X 3(per day) X 7(days per week). So, for two people, every week you should buy (2) X (3) X (7) = 42 apples, oranges, and bananas.
– Take a large stock to work once a week if you can, so it’s easily available and you don’t have to remember to pack fruit every day.
– Put the fruit on the counter or at eye-level in the fridge so it is visible and salient.
– Eat fruit at snack times
– Eat fruit at meal times before you get full (if you eat it at the end, that’s okay, but you’re more likely to put it off or forget)
– Eat fresh fruit when you have a sweet tooth. If you crave a soda, have a fruit and water.
– Dried fruit either alone or as part of healthy trail mix is great. Just have some water with it to re-hydrate it. 100% fruit leather (like Stretch Island) is also great. You can stash these in storage for the times when fresh fruit is unavailable.

Remember, you won’t get fat on raw fruits and vegetables (except possibly bananas and avocados, but even then it’s difficult because you’d probably get tired of them before eating too many!) Yes, they have calories, but their water, fiber, and vitamin content helps curb overeating in several ways, making them a much better source of calories than processed foods, cakes, beverages, and candies. Interestingly, many can approach weight loss by increasing raw fruits and raw vegetables rather than purposely restricting calories, without feeling deprived. Calorie restriction is not good for mother’s or baby’s health, especially at this time, but eating more fruits and vegetables can help you to maintain an ideal body weight without gaining more than the ideal.

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