M.Ed., RD, LDN, CLC
Andie is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Lactation Consultant, and Certified Personal Trainer who thinks of nutrition counseling as equal parts science and sensitivity. She specializes in lactation, sports nutrition, exercise fitness, and weight loss programs.
The Mediterranean Diet has been in the
news a lot in the past few years, and for good reason. While not necessarily
specific to any one culture, it’s a way of eating based on the habits and
practices of cultures that border the Mediterranean. The health benefits have
been studied and can include lower cholesterol, helping with weight loss, and
many others. An important component of the Mediterranean diet are healthy fats
found in olive oil and DHA found in fatty fish, which is important for baby’s
brain development. The compositions of various types of fat in breast milk
depends on what mom eats, so the benefits of eating the healthy fats featured
in the Mediterranean Diet get passed on to baby also.
The main tenets of a Mediterranean-style
diet include basing meals around vegetables, whole grains, fruits, olive oil,
beans and legumes, seeds, herbs, and spices. Fish and seafood* is to be eaten
twice per week, and red meat is to be eaten sparingly. Cheese, yogurt, poultry,
and eggs are to be eaten a few times per week or less.
*While the Mediterranean diet has many health benefits, it’s especially important for pregnant women and those trying to conceive to seek out fish that are low in mercury, a neurotoxin that can accumulate in the blood and damage your baby’s developing nervous system. Fish that are high in mercury include swordfish, shark, albacore tuna, king mackerel, marlin, and tilefish.
Choosing meals and snacks from the
below listed options will help give you the heart and brain-development benefits
of the Mediterranean Diet while keeping mercury levels low.
For more on this topic, check out the following articles:
Our Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook for Baby & Toddler is chock-full of yummy, easy-to-prepare meals your whole family will love.