Moms-to-Be: Calorie Requirements
Although pregnant women do need more carbohydrates and calories, Johnson has one major myth to bust. “It is an important message for women to hear that they are not actually ‘eating for two.’ The extra calorie needs don't even start until the second trimester, and even then they are quite modest," she says. "I find that most women are able to meet their caloric needs by listening to their own hunger cues.” You'll need about 350 extra calories in the second trimester, 400 more in the third, and more if you are carrying multiples.
And not just any calories. Johnson points to studies linking a baby’s future food preferences to the mother’s diet during pregnancy. “Babies are continually swallowing amniotic fluid, which takes on the tastes of the mom's diet,” Johnson says. “If it's a junk food diet, it will taste quite different than a diet based on good, healthy foods. Anything you put into your body will go into the baby's body.” That's true for breast feeding mothers as well.
Your Daughter's Diet: Calcium and Iron
Anyone who's tried to get a teenager to eat a healthy diet knows it can be an uphill battle. Teens often seem to subsist on a diet of fast food and snacks -- foods that are high in fat, saturated fat, and calories and low in nutrients.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic, director of wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic, says, “Nutrition during the teen years can have a big impact on future health, including prevention of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.”
Teen girls need 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day, Jamieson-Petonic says. But as many as 80% of teen girls don’t get enough. Girls may fear that drinking milk will cause them to gain weight, and they replace milk with soft drinks. One solution is try sneaking calcium into your daughter's diet via smoothies made with nonfat milk, calcium-fortified soy milk, or tofu. Or top nonfat yogurt with berries and get more nutritional bang for your buck.
Teenage girls also need at least 15 milligrams of iron per day, Jamieson-Petonic says. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which causes fatigue, confusion, and weakness. What if your daughter is a vegetarian? To help keep iron levels up, Jamieson-Petonic suggests iron-fortified cereals, soy products such as tofu, soy nuts, soy milk, and even peanut butter. Bean-based dips -- including hummus -- can also provide iron and calcium.
Maybe the best thing you can do to get your daughter to eat healthfully is to make sure that you do. Model the behavior you want her to adopt. Keep cut vegetables on hand -- cucumbers, peppers, celery, carrots -- for easy, chip-free snacking. And make time for healthy family meals.