How Much Food Do I Need & What are my Macros?
This article is written to educate and explain how to work out your calorie needs, we do not advise for you to loose weight/ fat while pregnant. If you feel worried about your weight or body fat please speak to your midwife about this.
Ok so first you need to work out how many calories your body needs, from this you can then tailor your calories to make yourself in a calorie deficit (to loose) a calorie surplus (to gain) or maintenance calories (to maintain). For pregnant women you will either want to be in a calorie surplus or on maintenance calories depending on what your midwife/ maternity team advise.
Please note this is just a guide, pregnant & breastfeeding mums need to ensure they are eating enough and drinking enough fluids in order to be healthy and have a good milk supply. Now is not the right time for a calorie restricted diet (calorie deficit), it is about being more mindful, choosing carefully and making small changes for a healthier lifestyle.
Your Basal Metabolic rate is the calories needed for your body to function at rest, you can find an online calculator easily by using a search engine, or following the link HERE you will need to input your gender, height, weight and age.
Once you have this you need to add the calories for the day to day activity you do. You can use a PAL value, just simply multiply your BMR by the following as a guide-
For a sedentary lifestyle 1.4
Low physically active life style 1.5
Moderately physically active life style 1.6
Physically active life style 1.7
The NCT says that pregnant mums don't need anymore than 200 calories per day in the last three months of pregnancy depending on the start weight of the mum. During Pregnancy you will obviously gain weight, if you have any issues you should discuss these with your midwife. We would recommend starting on maintenance calories and upping as you and your midwife see fit.
For maintenance then try this value to start, you may find with extra exercise you will need to up them.
The ideal macros for a healthy diet are 50% carbs, 20-30% Protein and 20-30% Fat. Although we do need to make sure our bodies are getting the correct balance there is no magic macro split, it is the overall energy balance that effects out fat stores and alongside exercise, our muscle mass.
Eating often is also really important for our blood sugar levels and metabolism, you should aim for Breakfast, lunch and tea and 2 healthy snacks a day.
There are lots of other community blogs on living a healthy lifestyle and changing habits, this is just a starting point which may be useful for some people.