• Correct Food Portion Sizes for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Pinoy Moms
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  • It’s important to eat a healthy diet every day, but it’s especially so if you’re expecting or lactating. After all, it's not just you anymore -- you need to provide vitamins and nutrients to your baby.

    Aside from talking to your doctor about supplements (such as iron and folic acid for preggos as recommended by the World Health Organization), you’ll need to make sure your meals are nutrient-rich. It doesn’t have to be difficult though! “Eating healthily often means just changing the amounts of different foods you eat so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favorites,” said the UK’s National Health Service. 

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    To guide you, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology developed “Pinggang Pinoy” -- food recommendations for every age group. If you're a soon-to-be or breastfeeding mom, here's what you need to know about your meals:


    • The serving of vegetables should be equal or a little than the meal’s serving of carbohydrates (or “go” foods, like rice). 
    • Veggies and rice (or other carbohydrates) combined will take up a little more than half of your plate. 
    • The serving of fruit should be as much as the serving of protein (or grow food, like chicken). 

    Serving portions
    Ideally, every meal should contain an adequate serving of each food group: rice, ulam, veggies, and fruit. But if you find your breakfast or lunch a little lacking, snacks are great nutrient fillers. Instead of cookies for merienda, try going for chilled, sliced up fruits. 

    For pregnant women, there is certain food that is not so good for you and your babies, such as raw food, highly caffeinated beverages, and alcohol. Find a full list of them here

    Here's a breakdown of food portions (scroll down for the definitions for “go” and “grow” foods):

    Pregnant women 
    based on a 2,230-calorie diet

    Carbohydrates/Go foods

    • 1 1/2 cups of rice
      Equivalent: 6 small pandesal; 6 slices of small loaf bread; 1 1/2 cups of cooked noodles; 1 1/2 medium pieces of root crop

    Protein/Grow foods

    • 3 servings, about 30 grams each, of lean meat (like chicken, pork or beef)
      Equivalent: 3 slices of a large fish (like bangus); 2 pieces of medium variety fish (like galunggong); 2 pieces of medium chicken leg; 3 pieces of tokwa (6 x 6 x 2 cm); 1 small chicken egg and 1-2 pieces of any of the above

    Note: Fish is an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients, like iodine, iron, and many B vitamins. It is also low in fat. However, there are certain varieties like swordfish that pregnant women should avoid for their high mercury content. Find a list of best, good and bad choices of fish for expectant moms here

    Vegetables

    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked vegetables

    Fruit

    • 1 medium-sized fruit (like a mango or banana)
      Equivalent: 1 slice of big fruit (like pineapple or papaya) 

    Liquids

    • 9 or more glasses of water a day
    • 1 glass of milk daily 

    Note: According to the FNRI, calcium is the least-consumed nutrient in the Filipino diet. Pregnant women do not meet the average recommended calcium-intake and, in fact, get very little of it in their diet, so drink up! WHO prenatal guidelines also recommend asking your doctor about calcium supplements. 

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    Lactating women
    2,430-calorie diet

    Carbohydrates/Go foods

    • 1 1/2 cup of rice
      Equivalent: 6 small pandesal; 6 slices of small loaf bread; 1 1/2 cups of cooked noodles; 1 1/2 medium pieces of root crop

    Protein/Grow foods

    • 3 servings, about 30 grams, of lean meat (like chicken, pork or beef)
      Equivalent: 3 slices of a large fish (like bangus); 2 pieces of medium variety fish (like galunggong); 2 pieces of medium chicken leg; 3 pieces of tokwa (6 x 6 x 2 cm); 1 small chicken egg and 1-2 pieces of any of the above

    Vegetables

    • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked vegetables 

    Fruit

    • 1 medium-sized fruit (like a mango or banana)
      Equivalent: 1 slice of big fruit (like pineapple or papaya) 

    Liquids

    • 10 or more glasses of water a day
    • 1 glass of milk daily
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    Here’s a quick guide to the different food groups, and why you need a serving of each at every meal: 

    Go food
    This food group gives you the energy you need to power through your day. They're rich in carbohydrates which support bodily functions and physical activity. Examples are rice, pasta, bread, corn, root crops, oatmeal

    Tip: If you can, go for whole grains like brown rice (as opposed to white rice), whole wheat bread (as opposed to white bread, like tasty) and corn. “These contain more fiber and nutrients,” according to the FNRI. 

    Grow food

    They contain protein, which is essential to the growth and repair of body tissues, including muscles, bones and body organs. It is often your ulam. Examples are: fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts

    Tip: Milk, dairy products, and small seafood like dilis and tiny shrimp are rich in both protein and calcium.   

    Glow foods
    Vegetables and fruit belong in this food group that provides the body with a range of vitamins and minerals. Glow foods also contain fiber for a healthy digestive system. 

    Tip: Different veggies and fruits have different health benefits, so try to have different kinds per week. Fruits in season are the sweetest, and they’re affordable too!

    Happy eating!

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