If you are pregnant and looking for a way to keep your energy levels high, your tummy happy and your energy levels up, check out these tips for eating healthy during pregnancy.
Food For Pregnancy
Pregnant? Hangry? Looking for a snack that will make your tummy and your baby happy? You’re probably hearing it a lot: Eating nutritious foods while pregnant is essential.
We’re here to make your pantry into a one-stop shop of healthy and delicious foods that will give your baby the best start to life.
1. Dairy products
During pregnancy, you need to consume extra protein and calcium to meet the needs of your growing little one. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt should be on the docket.
Dairy products contain two types of high-quality protein: casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium, and provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, contains more calcium than most other dairy products and is especially beneficial. Some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support digestive health.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may also be able to tolerate yogurt, especially probiotic yogurt. Check with your doctor to see if you can test it out. A whole world of yogurt smoothies, parfaits, and lassi could be waiting.
This group of food includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts (aka all kinds of fabulous recipe ingredients!).
Legumes are great plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium — all of which your body needs more of during pregnancy.
Folate is one of the most essential B vitamins (B9). It’s very important for you and baby, especially during the first trimester, and even before.
You’ll need at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folateTrusted Source every day, which can be a challenge to achieve with foods alone. But adding in legumes can help get you there along with supplementation based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Legumes are generally very high in fiber, too. Some varieties are also high in iron, magnesium, and potassium. Consider adding legumes to your diet with meals like hummus on whole grain toast, black beans in a taco salad, or a lentil curry.
3. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are not only delicious cooked about a thousand ways, they’re also rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body.
Vitamin A is essential for baby’s development. Just watch out for excessive amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, such as organ meats, which can cause toxicityTrusted Source in high amounts.
Thankfully, sweet potatoes are an ample plant-based source of beta carotene and fiber. Fiber keeps you full longer, reduces blood sugar spikes, and improves digestive health (which can really help if that pregnancy constipation hits).
For a fab brekky, try sweet potatoes as a base for your morning avocado toast.
Get More Greens! (and Reds and Purples…)
Plant-based diets have a bunch of benefits for your body. Make adding veggies easier with our Nutrition newsletter’s 14-day Eat More Plants challenge.
Smoked on a whole wheat bagel, teriyaki grilled, or slathered in pesto, salmon is a welcome addition to this list. Salmon is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids that have a host of benefits.
These are found in high amounts in seafood, and help build the brain and eyes of your baby and can even help increase gestational length.
But wait: Have you been told to limit your seafood intake due to the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish? You can still eat fatty fish like salmon.
Here are the high mercury fish to avoid:
tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
Plus, salmon is one of the very few natural sources of vitamin D, which is lacking for most of us. It’s important for bone health and immune function.
Those incredible, edible eggs are the ultimate health food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg contains about 80 calories, high-quality protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient during pregnancy. It’s important in baby’s brain development and helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.
A single whole egg contains roughly 147 milligrams (mg) of choline, which will get you closer to the current recommended choline intake of 450 mg per day while pregnant (though more studies are being done to determine if that is enough).
Food For Pregnancy Woman
These foods are high in nutrients you need during pregnancy. Keep them on hand so you can eat them for snacks as well as meals.
(The foods are listed alphabetically.)
|Baked potato and sweet potato||Vitamin C (sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C)||Eat the skin and top with yogurt instead of sour cream and butter.|
|Bran cereals||Fiber||Bran is one of the best sources of fiber.|
|Bran muffin||Fiber, B vitamins and folic acid||Bran is a better choice than a blueberry or other fruit muffin.|
|Broccoli||Vitamins A, C, and folic acid||Dip raw broccoli in a yogurt based dip as a snack.|
|Cantaloupe||Vitamins A and C||Cut half a small melon into cubes and eat it as a snack.|
|Chicken and turkey||Low-fat protein and iron||Remove the skin. Dark meat has more iron than light meat.|
|Fish||Low-fat protein||Have it broiled rather than fried. Learn how to choose fish wisely in food safety.|
|Fortified cooked cereals||Iron||Fortified cooked cereals have more iron than oatmeal.|
|Fortified ready-to-eat cereals||Fiber, iron, calcium and folate||Look for a whole grain cereal. Some can be eaten dry as a snack.|
|Green and red peppers||Vitamins A, C, and folic acid||Add to pizza or eat raw as a snack.|
|Low-fat milk and yogurt||Calcium and protein||Make your own smoothie by blending fruit, milk and yogurt.|
|Orange juice||Vitamin C||Just six ounces gives you a day’s requirement of Vitamin C.|
|Pizza||Calcium, protein and vitamins||Add a lot of veggies, skip the pepperoni and sausage, and get a whole-wheat crust.|
|Popcorn||Fiber||Go easy on the butter and salt.|
|Spinach and romaine lettuce||Vitamins A, C, and folic acid||These have more vitamins and minerals than iceberg lettuce.|
|Tomatoes||Vitamins A and C||Eat raw or as tomato sauce on pizza or pasta.|
|Tomato-vegetable juice||Vitamins A and C||The juice is high in sodium, so limit this to one serving a day.|
|Whole wheat bread||Fiber, B vitamins, and folic acid||Any whole-grain bread with at least two grams of fiber is a good choice.|