Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy
Are you looking for a yummy snack that will make your tummy and your baby happy? We’ve got you covered with some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy! When you’re carrying a bundle of joy, you need to think carefully about what you can, and cannot eat.
Each pregnancy differs according to your age, environment, and other factors. It is important to maintain a healthy diet from the time of conception to keep your baby well-nourished. Listed below are some super nutritious foods and recipes that you can enjoy!
Eating Right Explained For Mum and Baby’s Health!
The cat’s out of the bag - a balanced diet is essential for everyone. But when you’re pregnant, making dietary adjustments based on your specific needs, can make all the difference! If you know what foods are good to eat, you can effectively address pregnancy symptoms like nausea, heartburn, headaches, cramps, etc.
Listed below are some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy, to make sure you’re hitting all your nutrient goals!
When you’re expecting, it is essential to consume extra protein and calcium to ensure your little one’s growth. This is why dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese should be incorporated into your meals.
Dairy products are the best sources of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B, and two types of healthy protein - whey and casein. You can also keep an eye out for probiotic yogurt, as this will help with digestion and bloating during pregnancy. It is also a great alternative if you’re lactose intolerant.
If you’re going to be a mommy soon, then don’t skimp out on legumes like beans, lentils, soybeans, and peas. This food group is a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and folate - nutrients that you’ll need more of while pregnant.
In fact, folate or Vitamin B9 is essential for your baby and you, especially in your first trimester. As a thumb rule, it is recommended that expectant moms receive around 600 micrograms of folate daily. Adding legumes to your diet can help you reach this amount when they’re paired with prenatal multivitamins.
Green Leafy Vegetables and Broccoli
Broccoli and green leafy vegetables like spinach are packed with many of the essential vitamins you’ll need when pregnant. What makes them some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy, is that these can be squirreled into most dishes, even if you don’t love them.
The veggies are rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, folate, Vitamins A, C, and K, and iron. Yes, they’re a bonanza of nutritious goodness! Adding healthy servings of these green veggies can help you fend off constipation, and they have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight.
What better way to cave in to your sugar cravings than with fruit?! Not only are fruits super delicious, but they can provide the mommy and baby with some essential nutrients. If you’re concerned that eating fruits might lead to a spike in your blood sugar, you can try having berries.
Berries are synonymous with the phrase "good things come in small packages", as they’re packed with healthy carbs, antioxidants, and Vitamin C. They also have a comparatively low glycemic index value, which makes them great to snack on, without spiking blood sugar!
Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and pork or beef with the fat trimmed off, are great sources of high-quality proteins. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, which you’ll need more of since your blood volume increases during pregnancy.
In the maternity cycle, iron is crucial, especially in the third trimester. Low levels of iron mid-pregnancy can cause iron deficiency anemia, which in turn can increase the risk of complications like low birth weight. Here’s a tip! Pairing iron-rich foods with those that are rich in Vitamin C can help increase iron absorption.
Foods to Avoid While Pregnant
The foods you eat when you’re pregnant have to be both beneficial and compatible with you, as well as your baby. While it’s best to prepare a balanced diet with some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy, it is also important to stay away from these foods, as much as possible.
Solid, Saturated, and Trans Fats
It’s excellent to have a moderate amount of good fats in your diet but steer clear of these unhealthy fats. These can raise your cholesterol levels, and increase your risk of diabetes, and chronic heart conditions.
These fats can also increase your baby’s risk of metabolic defects, and your little one may be more prone to developing childhood obesity. Foods to avoid include heavy cream, beef, chicken or pork fat, donuts, sausages, and any processed food items, including certain beverages.
Certain Seafood Types
As an expectant mum, you may think that all kinds of seafood are great for your maternity journey. While seafood is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and protein, some of them have high levels of mercury.
Mercury is pretty harmless for most adults in these quantities, but it’s a no-go if you’re pregnant. Eating large servings of mercury-rich seafood can hamper your baby’s brain development and nervous system. So, avoid seafood like king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, bigeye tuna, and other predatory fishes.
Processed and Undercooked Meats
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but unfortunately, your body is more susceptible to infections at this time, which could harm your baby’s well-being too. Disease-causing germs like bacteria and parasites love raw or processed meats, so stay away from them!
For example, the Toxoplasma parasite found in these meats can cause Toxoplasmosis, which, while being quite harmless for others, can severely affect pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage, damage your baby’s organs, or even cause stillbirth. So wash and cook your meat thoroughly!
Recommended Delicious and Nutritious Recipes during Pregnancy!
Now that you know some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy, here are some great recipes that you can enjoy.
Breakfast - Kale Eggs Florentine
This delicious recipe combines the goodness of kale and eggs, both of which are good sources of protein. If you’ve got those pregnancy morning blues and just want to sleep in, this dish can be enjoyed for brunch too!
- 2 slices of thick, brown, or white bread
- Half a bunch of washed and torn kale
- 1-2 sliced garlic cloves
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- White vinegar
- Hollandaise sauce
Toast the bread slices, and remove the crusts. In a saucepan, bring some water to a simmer. Add the butter to a frying pan, and once it begins to sizzle, add in the garlic. Saute it for half a minute, then add the kale.
Saute this for 4-5 minutes, till the kale is tender, and keep it aside. In the simmering water, add a dash of vinegar, and crack the eggs to poach them. Layer the toast and kale on a plate, and top it off with the poached eggs. Drizzle some hollandaise sauce, and enjoy your meal, mommy!
Lunch - Kale and Black Bean Burritos
This super simple burrito recipe is packed with black beans and lime-marinated greens. It includes a lot of the best foods to eat during pregnancy, and is absolutely scrumptious!
- Kale and cilantro, roughly chopped
- Fresh lime juice
- Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, chili powder, and salt
- 1-2 sliced garlic cloves
- Half cup of cooked black beans
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Avocado, pitted and sliced
- 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese
- Greek yogurt
In a bowl combine the kale with cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, spices, and salt, to marinate it. Warm up the cooked beans and garlic in a saucepan, to mash it a little. Add some salt if required. Heat a tortilla in the microwave or a skillet.
Top the tortilla with sliced avocado, marinated kale, mashed black beans, and feta. Roll up the burrito and serve it with a side of greek yogurt. Revel in the nutritious goodness of this healthy burrito for lunch!
Dinner - Grilled Steak with Mango Salad
If you’re an expectant mum, you’ll want to keep dinner light and delicious! If mangoes are in season, and you’ve got some leftover grilled steak, enjoy this mouthwatering salad! Your pregnancy cravings will be satisfied!
- Leftover, grilled steak
- Romaine lettuce
- Plum tomatoes
- Avocado ranch dressing
Thinly slice the leftover steak, preferably against the grain, and tear up some nice romaine lettuce to add a crunchy twist to the salad. Slice and peel your mangoes, and plum tomatoes. Add to a bowl, and mix well.
To make an avocado ranch dressing from scratch, add some garlic, buttermilk, avocado, parsley, honey, basil, dill, rosemary, chives, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree it until smooth. Drizzle it over the salad, and relish the explosion of flavors!
If you plan a nutritious meal plan for different phases of your maternity cycle, your baby will slurp up all these foods, while being healthy! Fruits, veggies, legumes, lean meats, and dairy products are the best foods to eat during pregnancy.
Keep in mind that each pregnancy is different. It’s recommended that you consult a prenatal nutritionist to understand what’s best for you and your baby. The list above will help you get a good start towards a well-nourished and healthy pregnancy journey!