10 Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant
Now, when you’re pregnant, everyone everywhere will chastise you if you don’t take care of your body and the developing baby’s health. They’ll tell you what not to eat, what not to drink, and what not to do. But enough of what you can’t do, let’s talk about the things you can do! Less forceful advice and more encouraging words, please. So with that in mind, let’s discuss in more detail about the foods you should eat, for the development of your child of course. Here are the 10 best foods to eat while you are pregnant.
Essential Vitamins & Nutrients
Before we talk about the actual best foods to eat, I’d like to take a moment to go over the most important things you should be getting out of your diet. Because remember, you’re eating for two now and you’ll want to give your baby the right vitamins and nutrients he or she needs in order to flourish. Here are some of the most crucial:
- Protein – Makes you super strong. A key component for your baby’s body building, cause there’s no gym in your womb. Look toward lean and clean proteins.
- Complex carbs – Look for complex carbs found in whole grains and veggies for energy and fiber. Although they say simple is always better, that’s not true when it comes to carbohydrates, so stay away from simple carbs such as refined sugars and white flour.
- Healthy fats – Fats help to metabolize vitamins, but you’ll want healthy fats such as in dairy, eggs, olive oil, and avocados. However, there’s a fair amount of calories in fatty foods, so you’ll want to limit the amount you consume accordingly.
- Calcium – You’ve seen all those commercials of how milk builds healthy bones and teeth, right? Well it’s true because of calcium, and you’ll need tons of calcium in your case since you’ll need to have enough calcium for your baby’s body as well as your own.
- Iron – Important for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through the bloodstream. Extremely vital for supplying your baby with oxygen as well as its own blood supply. You’ll need about twice as much iron as is normally suggested by health experts, which equates to about 30 milligrams a day.
- Vitamin A & Beta Carotene – For healthy skin, bones, and eyes. Also contributes to cell growth.
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3 – B1 for high energy and nervous system regulation. B2 for maintaining energy, good eyesight, and healthy skin. Finally, B3 for healthy skin, nerves, and digestion.
- Vitamin C – Helps build collagen, which is a protein that makes up bones, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels.
- Vitamin D – Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous.
- Vitamin E – For body development and helps it to use red blood cells and muscles.
- Zinc – Recently, it was found that zinc helps a lot in aiding fetal growth.
- Folic Acid – Absolutely crucial if you’re pregnant. Folic acid, or folate, helps to produce more blood as well as keeps enzymes working. It also prevents neural tube defects, which are serious birth defects of the spinal cord and brain, as well as other types of serious defects. Most prenatal vitamins contain enough folic acid, although getting it naturally from real foods is always the best method.
So, now that we got that health stuff out of the way, let’s move right into the type of foods that your baby as well as your body will love!
10 Best Foods to Eat While You Are Pregnant
1. Fruits & Veggies
Your parents told you this as you were growing up, and you’ll say the same to your child. Fruits and veggies are essential for a wholesome diet. Go for dark, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, and colorful fruits such as mango, berries, bananas, and avocados. Also, broccoli has tons of calcium and folate, so if you haven’t developed a taste for it, now’s the time!
2. Dairy Products
You’ll want to eat a good amount of dairy for calcium for your growing baby. Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, are fan favorites for many pregnant women. You can also get calcium from milk and cheese.
3. Lean Meat
Beef, pork, and chicken are good sources of protein, although chicken is especially lean. You can also look to turkey and fish for lean protein. Beef and pork, however, are rich in iron and B-vitamins. For women who are trying to avoid red meat, stick with chicken and less fatty meats.
Not technically a food but you should be getting lots of it either way. That’s because during pregnancy, your blood volume increases by up to 1.5 liters. Water, in turn, keeps you hydrated and keeps your body working as it should to keep nutrients and vitamins flowing to the fetus.
Lentils, peas, beans (navy, pinto, etc.), chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts fit in this category. They provide tons of fiber, protein, iron, folate (super important!), and calcium.
6. Wild Caught Salmon
High in protein and omega-3 fatty acid, wild caught salmon is good for your baby’s body AND brain. However, stay away from farmed salmon as it contains higher mercury levels. You’ll also want to limit the amount of fish you eat per week as too much mercury can cause harm.
Nuts are full of important minerals and vitamin E, and they’re especially easy to carry around for a quick snack. High in healthy fats and can be added to a variety of dishes, go with nuts such as walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews, and pistachios.
8. Whole Grains
A good source of complex carbs, you’ll want to stick with whole grains such as oats and quinoa. They also have fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium.
9. Fish Oil
Fish oil is produced from the liver oil of fish, and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and EHA. These nutrients help with fetal brain and eye development, and is also linked with higher birth weight as well as a lower risk of disease for the baby. One serving a day is more than enough.
10. Orange Juice
Orange juice has folate, potassium, and vitamin C, and is a lot healthier than the majority of sugary drinks. However, you don’t want to drink a ton of orange juice day to day, a glass in the morning is more than ideal. For the rest of the day, keep hydrated with water.
About the Author: Janecia is a writer for E Online LPN Programs, a website dedicated to those who want to become LPNs, as well as learn more about the profession whether it’s online classes, training, job outlook, career tips, job description, and more.