Eating nutritious foods while pregnant is essential!
When building your healthy eating plan, you need to focus on whole food that give you higher amounts of: • protein • vitamins and minerals • healthy types of fat • complex carbohydrates • fiber and fluids
Here are 13 super foods to eat while you're pregnant to help you reach your nutrient goals!
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.
• 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.
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.
• 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. • Limit your seafood intake due to the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish. You can still eat fatty fish like salmon. • 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.
• 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.
6. Broccoli and dark, leafy greens
• No surprise here: Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, pack in so many of the nutrients you’ll need. Even if you don’t love eating them, they can often be squirreled into all kinds of dishes. • Benefits include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. They’re a bonanza of green goodness. • Adding in servings of green veggies is an efficient way to pack in vitamins and fend off constipation due to all that fiber.
7. Lean meat and proteins
• Lean beef, pork, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline, and other B vitamins — all of which you’ll need in higher amounts during pregnancy. • Iron is an essential mineral that is used by red blood cells as a part of hemoglobin. You’ll need more iron since your blood volume is increasing. This is particularly important during your third trimester.
• Berries hold a lot of goodness in their tiny packages like water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. • Berries have a relatively low glycemic index value, so they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar. • Berries are also a great snack, as they contain both water and fiber. They provide a lot of flavor and nutrition, but with relatively few calories. • Some of the best berries to eat while pregnant are blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, and acai berries.
9. Whole grains
• Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grains are packed with fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds. Think oats, quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, and barley instead of white bread, pasta, and white rice. • Some whole grains, like oats and quinoa, also contain a fair amount of protein. They also hit a few buttons that are often lacking in pregnant people: B vitamins, fiber, and magnesium.
• Avocados are an unusual fruit because they contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids. This makes them taste buttery and rich — perfect for adding depth and creaminess to a dish. • They’re also high in fiber, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin C. • Because of their high content of healthy fats, folate, and potassium, avocados are a great choice during pregnancy (and always). • The healthy fats help build the skin, brain, and tissues of your little one, and folate may help prevent neural tube defects, developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine such as spina bifida.
11. Dried fruit
• Dried fruit is generally high in calories, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. One piece of dried fruit contains the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, just without all the water and in a much smaller form. • One serving of dried fruit can provide a large percentage of the recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, and potassium. • Prunes are rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin K. They’re natural laxatives and may be very helpful in relieving constipation. Dates are high in fiber, potassium, iron, and plant compounds. • However, dried fruit also contains high amounts of natural sugar. Make sure to avoid the candied varieties, which contain even more sugar. • Although dried fruit may help increase calorie and nutrient intake, it’s generally not recommended to consume more than one serving at a time.
12. Fish liver oil
• Fish liver oil is made from the oily liver of fish, most often cod. It’s rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for fetal brain and eye development. • Supplementing with fish oil may help protect against preterm delivery and may benefit fetal eye development. • Fish liver oil is also very high in vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. It may be highly beneficial for those who don’t regularly eat seafood or supplement with omega-3 or vitamin D. • A single serving (1 tablespoon or 15 milliliters) of fish liver oil provides more than the recommended daily intake of omega-3, vitamin D, and vitamin A. • However, it’s not recommended to consume more than one serving per day, as too much preformed vitamin A can be dangerous for your baby. High levels of omega-3 may also have blood-thinning effects.
• We all have to stay hydrated, especially pregnant women. During pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 45%. • Your body will channel hydration to your baby, but if you don’t watch your water intake, you may become dehydrated yourself. • Symptoms of mild dehydration include headaches, anxiety, tiredness, bad mood, and reduced memory. • Increasing your water intake may also help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.