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Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy
by Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD

Jennifer FrancisQ. I am due in four months, and I already have gained 42 lbs. I'm averaging around 7-10 lbs a month. I'm constantly hungry, and I'm picking at food all day long. I feel sick if I don't eat all the time. What can I do do supress my appetite a little bit? How many calories should I be eating a day?

A. The best thing in a situation like this is to know yourself, and to plan ahead. If you know that you feel the need to "graze" all day, that's fine! Here are some tips:

  • Make sure that the foods you have available to you are healthy. A lot of time, we *think* that we are going to be strong and then breakdown and grab anything we see. If you *know* ahead of time that you are going to be wanting something, make sure that it's easy to grab something that has a lot of vitamins and minerals, but not a lot of calories such as fresh fruits and veggies, a carton of skim milk, some graham crackers, dry cereal, etc.

  • Fill up on breakfast; it helps you make better choices all day. Sometimes we start the day out thinking we are going to be so "good" and we have a skimpy little breakfast, but then hunger sets in and the urge to binge takes over. It's better to have a hearty breakfast, oatmeal, toast, milk, fruit, yogurt, or whatever floats your boat and fills you up.

  • Plan on lighter lunches and dinner. If you know that you are going to be eating throughout the day, plan on going lighter at the "official" meal times.

  • Drink plenty of water. When you get dehydrated, even by just a little, you body cannot distinguish between hunger and thirst. Try having a glass of water every time you feel like eating, and then wait five minutes and see if you are still hungry.

  • Really watch the "added" fats. Baked tortilla chips and salsa for a snack is great, but cheese and sour cream push it over the edge. Sacrificing a little butter or salad dressing at dinner can make up for an extra serving of fruit during the afternoon.

I hope these suggestions at least give you sme ideas to start.

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