At the start of your pregnancy, food may not feel like your friend. First trimester nausea makes eating a difficult task, and then you experience strange cravings and endless hunger during the second trimester. Reaching for snacks, ice cream, and other junk food becomes an easy habit, but pregnancy is a time when you should pay extra attention to the food you consume.
Nutrition during pregnancy is important because it helps to shape the development of your baby. Poor diet may lead to premature birth or other problems, since a well-balanced diet is necessary for proper fetal development. Pregnant women require high levels of magnesium, vitamin A, folic acid, potassium, protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Check out the best foods for you and your baby. Make sure to include these foods in your diet!
Spinach contains calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, iron, and folic acid. However, the high iron content of spinach is why you should include it in your diet. Anemia is a concern during pregnancy and following birth. Extra iron also encourages the development of the baby’s red blood cells.
Carrying a banana with you in your purse is a great idea. Bananas have high levels of potassium, which fight off that terrible pregnancy fatigue that drains your body by mid-day. Eat them plain or add them to your yogurt, smoothies, or cereal!
Pregnant women need Vitamin A because it helps the development of the skin, eyes, teeth, and bones for your baby. You don’t want to skimp out on vitamin A, and carrots are a fantastic source! Also, the high fiber content keeps your bowels moving, reducing constipation.
4. Sea Salt
Sea salt contributes to proper fetal development because it contains a very important element – iodine. You can get ample amounts of iodine in your diet by using sea salt in your dishes, and it works towards balancing your hormones.
Avocados are delicious additions to your salads and sandwiches, and pregnant women can rejoice in knowing they can eat as many avocados as they want! These fruits are a source of folic acid, which is needed for neural tube development, and vitamin C.
Are you looking for a healthy, yet convenient, snack? Nuts are the best choice, and you have several different choices! All nuts contain magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, and zinc. Walnuts, almonds, and pistachios include omega-3 fatty acids, which are valuable for your baby’s development.
Popcorn has a bad reputation for being an unhealthy snack, but it is good for you! Excessive amounts of salt and butter are not good for you, however, so be mindful of what you add. Popcorn has high levels of fiber, vitamin E, and antioxidant compounds. These nutrients strengthen your baby’s cell membranes. Try minimal butter and using some parmesan cheese for flavoring.
Broccoli is full of nutrients – like calcium and folate – that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. It also is a great source of fiber and antioxidants. To top it off, broccoli contains vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron when you eat it with an iron-rich food, like brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.
Start your day with a warm bowl of oatmeal to increase your energy level. Oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that keep you feeling full for longer and lower your cholesterol levels.
Everyone needs extra vitamin C in their diet, and oranges also contain folate, fiber, and water. Oranges are 90 percent water, so you can eat them to help meet your daily fluid requirements. Remember, low fluid intake makes you feel even more tired!
Eggs are a low-calorie, high protein food that boosts your baby’s brain development and the formation of healthy organs. They are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to get free-range, organic chicken eggs, if possible, and you can always choose egg whites if you’re trying to limit your fat consumption.
12. Dairy Products
Calcium is an important mineral during pregnancy, so you want to consume dairy products to get a direct calcium supply. Milk, cheese, and yogurts are all good choices.
Yogurt does belong under dairy products, but it deserves its own section! Most yogurts contain folic acid and vitamin D along with microflora prebiotics, which improve how your body absorbs nutrients.
14. Salmon and Other Seafood
Chances are you’ve heard the common pregnancy myth that you can’t consume seafood during pregnancy. The myth does contain some truth, since certain fish contain higher levels of mercury and harmful trace minerals, and should therefore be avoided.
Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring have low levels of mercury and harmful minerals. Instead, these fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Chicken and other sources of lean protein are important for baby’s development. Pregnant women need high levels of protein, and lean meats provide a high-quality source of protein without high levels of fat.