While pregnant, you need to maintain a healthy diet both for yourself and your baby. Finding the best pregnancy food may be confusing, which is very common and normal. However, this does not change the fact that it becomes hard to eat enough and healthy pregnancy food. Your pregnancy food choice should include everything you need to stay healthy and to help the baby develop a healthy body. This is why we care about helping you with your pregnancy food list.
Eating for two may sound eating double comparing what you were eating before getting pregnant. However, pregnancy food mostly requires additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals, not eating twice more. Eating healthy, nutritious pregnancy food will help ensure the health of you and your baby. So, what you eat and how much you eat matters for a healthy pregnancy. Now, just relax because we will find out 15 the best pregnancy foods together!
Now, you have better consume more protein and calcium than before pregnancy. Dairy products are the ideal source of both as a primary pregnancy food. Dairy products also contain phosphorus, various B-vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
Try to eat Greek yoghurt daily when you get pregnant. It provides you calcium and probiotic bacteria. Result will be healthy digestion, which is very important during pregnancy. Taking probiotic supplements during pregnancy reduces the risk of complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, vaginal infections and allergies.
Fortified breakfast cereal
All these nine months when you are pregnant you will need more B vitamin that before. We advise pregnant women to get 400 micrograms through vitamin supplements or fortified food. Fortified breakfast cereal as a pregnancy food is very easy and sufficient source of vitamin B.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils can be considered under a larger umbrella, called legumes. Not only lentils and beans, but also peas, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts are within this group of food. All of them are recommended to be in pregnancy food list as they contain fiber, protein, iron, folate and calcium. Both mother and baby need them in the pregnancy food.
To lower the risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight, sufficient folate intake is important. Beans and lentils are also helpful to cope with constipation and hemorrhoids.
Sweet potatoes really deserve to be more popular. They are rich in beta-carotene that turns into vitamin A in the body. You must pay attention to have enough vitamin A from your pregnancy food as it is necessary for growth and the differentiation of the most cells and tissues. Enough vitamin A means healthy fetal development.
On the other hand vitamin A intake on animal based sources must be limited as high amount of them may cause toxicity. This is why beta-carotene is one of the best sources of vitamin A. They are also great source of vitamin C, folic acid and fiber. You can try baked sweet potato fries.
Salmon and other sea foods
Salmon that is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA is one of the healthiest parts of pregnancy food list. These acids help build brain and eyes of the fetus.
Salmon is a natural source of vitamin D, which makes it pretty unique. Pregnant women should eat salmon for healthy bones and immune system. Salmon is also good for mood shift, which is common during pregnancy as it boost your mood.
Pregnant women are recommended to eat seafood twice a week, not more. Also, you should choose your fish carefully because fish contain contaminants such as mercury, which can harm a baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
Eggs are the sources of high protein and fat, and also vitamins and minerals. Another benefit of eggs comes from the choline which is necessary for brain development, spinal cord development and health in general. Low choline intake during pregnancy may increase the risk of neural tube defects and possibly lead to decreased brain function.
Frittata is one of the best meals as pregnancy food and it is generally recommended for pregnant women. You can prepare a frittata easily using chard, onion and feta.
Broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables
Broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables are rich sources of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. Sounds great, doesn’t it? All they are basic needs of pregnant people. Green vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, which are good for a healthy immune system and digestion.
Most of pregnant women suffer from constipation and fiber in these vegetables helps you with this problem. They also easy to prepare. Just chop them and add lemon juice and garlic.
This is the time you need to get high-quality protein. Lean meat, including beef, pork and chicken gives what you need considering protein and they are fat free. In addition to protein, beef and pork is the source of iron, choline and B-vitamins. Iron is crucial during pregnancy as it is used by red blood cells as a part of hemoglobin, which delivers oxygen to the cells.
During pregnancy, your blood volume increases and this requires more iron than usual. Especially during the third trimester pay attention to get enough iron, because low levels of iron increases the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
Just be sure to include lean meat in your pregnancy food list and totally stay away from deli meats and hot dogs. They carry the risk of infection from bacteria and parasites such as listeria, toxoplasma or salmonella.
Fish liver oil
During pregnancy your body needs omega-3, vitamin D and vitamin A and they are all in fish liver oil. Omega 3 is essential for fetal brain and eye development. In case when you take vitamin D less than you need, it means your risk of preeclampsia increases. You can visit your doctor about that risk if you have high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet.
You should consume fish liver oil during early pregnancy for a higher birth weight and a lower risk of disease in baby. On the other hand, do not take more than one tablespoon per day. High levels of vitamin A and omega-3 can be dangerous for you and the baby.
Berries give you nutrient and water that you need more than before getting pregnant. As an ideal pregnancy food, berries are full of water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber and plant compounds.
Vitamin C is very important during pregnancy, as you need to absorb iron more than ever. Vitamin C also helps you for skin health and immune function. You can prefer berries that have relatively low glycemic index value when you want to have some snacks.
Avocados and bananas
Have you ever heard of healthy fats? Avocado is one of them containing a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids. They are also a good source of fiber, B-vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E and vitamin C.
Healthy fats, folate and potassium are very beneficial for pregnant women. They help build the skin, brain and tissues of the fetus and also prevent neural tube defects. This is why you should include avocados in your favorite pregnancy food.
Also, potassium is helpful to relieve leg cramps. Both avocados and bananas are great source for potassium. So, they give you energy to cope with the pregnancy fatigue, which is very common. Slice them up into cereal or whip one into a breakfast smoothie with yogurt, berries, ice, and a splash of orange juice.
What makes dried fruit among best pregnancy food alternatives is the fact that they are rich in calories, fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Eating a few fried fruit is a great source of recommended amount of vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits are very beneficial as a pregnancy food as they include folate, iron and potassium.
Prunes, on the other hand, are very rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin K and sorbitol, which help you relieve constipation. Dates are high in fiber, potassium, iron and plant compounds. Especially during the third trimester, we advise you to eat dates as they help you facilitate cervical dilation and reduce the need induce labor. However, you should not eat dried fruit whenever you want as they contain sugar. So, limit the portions and just have a few of them each day.
Pregnancy is a term when your blood volume increases by up to 1.5 liters. This is why hydration is very crucial during pregnancy. Headaches, anxiety, tiredness, bad mood and reduced memory are the basic symptoms for mild dehydration. Drinking enough water reduces all these symptoms and also relives constipation and reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.
Generally people, pregnant or not are recommended drinking about 1 and half or 2 liters of water per day. During pregnancy this amount turns to be crucial, which is more than advise. If you get bored of drinking water try to drink soaps and other beverages. Even if it is not the same as water, it is better that not drinking anything at all. Just try to drink a glass of water once an hour.
When you are pregnant your calorie need increases especially during the second and the third trimesters. Whole grains are a good source of calories. This is not all! Unlike refined grains, whole grains also contain great amount of fiber and vitamins. This makes whole grains very beneficial during pregnancy. For your protein need, you can choose to eat oats and quinoa. To sum up, whole grains are a must as pregnancy food.
Last one in pregnancy food list: Colorful fruits and veggies
Nature gives us plenty of fruits and vegetable that are all in different colors: green, red, orange, yellow, purple etc. Each color group means another vitamin and mineral. This is why you should pay attention to have a meal like rainbow. For sure, you may choose to eat them in different times, but try to pick them during grocery shopping.
If you find organic, prefer them at least when you are pregnant. You can prepare different salads with different colors every other, which both healthy and fun.
For more information about pregnancy food and more you may have a look at our free pre-pregnancy course.