When you’re pregnant, eating nutritious foods is more important than ever. Not only is optimal nutrition essential to your health and baby’s development, but eating a balanced meal can ease the horrible symptoms of pregnancy as well.
A pregnant woman’s diet should include foods rich in protein, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and whole grains. In this post, we put together a list of the best foods that contain essential nutrients for you and your tiny tot.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach and Kale are examples of dark green vegetables that must be included in your prenatal diet. These veggies are a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like iron and calcium, which all support your baby’s development.
2. Lean Meat
Protein is important for pregnant women because it contributes to the growth of your child’s tissues and organs, including the brain, skin, and muscles. Lean pork, beef, and chicken are excellent sources of protein, and good sources of zinc and iron as well.
3. Cold-Water Fish
Salmon, sardines, and tuna are examples of cold-water fishes. They contain more omega-3 fatty acids than warm-water fishes. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that support your baby’s brain development and cardiovascular health. Many medical practitioners highly recommend salmon for pregnant women since it’s the low-mercury option among cold-water fishes.
The heart-healthy avocado helps lower bad cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also contains potassium and folate, which are crucial in the growth and development of your baby. Constipation is often a problem during pregnancy; avocadoes contain fiber that’s beneficial to a pregnant mom’s gut health.
To form strong bones and teeth, your baby needs a good supply of calcium. Aside from milk, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Greek yogurt contains more calcium than regular yogurt and other dairy products. It’s important that pregnant mommies should consume enough calcium. Insufficient amounts of this nutrient can lead to osteoporosis, a disease that weakens and breaks bones easily.
Protein is an essential part of a pregnant woman’s diet, and some of the richest sources of proteins are eggs. It contains amino acids that play a crucial role in the growth and development of the fetus. Eggs also contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals that contribute to a baby’s brain development. However, avoid eating raw or undercooked eggs because of the risk of salmonella.
7. Citrus Fruits
Grapefruits, oranges, and lemons are rich sources of vitamin C, the vitamin responsible for aiding your baby’s bone growth and brain development. Citrus fruits are also immune boosters that help keep you healthy. Most of all, these fruits keep nausea at bay and calm your stomach.
8. Sweet Potatoes
That orange color you see on sweet potatoes is from plant pigments called carotenoids. When we eat food that is rich in carotenoids, our bodies convert them into vitamin A, which helps support the bone, lungs, eyes, and skin development of your baby. Sweet potatoes are also a superb source of vitamin B6, which can help ease nausea. And if you keep the skin on this veggie, the fiber on it can help with digestion issues as well.
Bonus Food Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
Although you’re eating for two, it’s important to watch your portions. If you're overweight during pregnancy, complications like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clotting problems can arise. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about crafting a healthy, balanced pregnancy diet plan.
Exhaustion during pregnancy is a common problem, especially if you have trouble sleeping at night. A maternity pillow and comfy sleep mask can help you achieve that much-needed rest.