Top 10 Best Healthy Foods to Eat in Pregnancy

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Pregnant?  Hangry? Looking for a snack that will make your tummy and your baby happy? You’re probably hearing it a lot: Eating nutritious foods while pregnant is essential. We’re here to make your pantry into a one-stop shop of healthy and delicious foods that will give your baby the best start to life.

1. Lean Meat

The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of every cell in both your body and your baby’s. High-protein foods also keep your hunger at bay by stabilizing your blood sugar, which is why you should aim for at least three servings (that’s about 75 grams) of protein per day.

That makes lean meat one of the best foods to eat during pregnancy. In addition to being protein-packed, it’s also high in iron, critical to help your baby develop his red blood cell supply and support yours, too.

2. Dairy products

During pregnancy, you need to consume extra protein and calcium to meet the needs of your growing little one. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt should be on the docket.

Dairy products contain two types of high-quality protein: casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium, and provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.

Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, contains more calcium than most other dairy products and is especially beneficial. Some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support digestive health.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious cooked about a thousand ways, they’re also rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body.

Vitamin A is essential for baby’s development. Just watch out for excessive amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, such as organ meats, which can cause toxicity Trusted Source in high amounts.

Thankfully, sweet potatoes are an ample plant-based source of beta carotene and fiber. Fiber keeps you full longer, reduces blood sugar spikes, and improves digestive health (which can really help if that pregnancy constipation hits).

4. Avocado

The creamy green fruit is full of folate, along with vitamin B6, which promotes healthy tissue and brain growth for baby and could help ease morning sickness for you.

It’s also a yummy source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help your body better absorb many of the vitamins found in fruits and veggies. Avocado’s high fat content can keep you fuller longer, so you’re less likely to get hit with that hungry, need-to-eat-now feeling.

5. Nuts

Talk about small but mighty. Nuts are chock-full of important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamin E, along with protein, fiber and healthy fats. Plus, they’re easily portable, making them an ideal on-the-go pregnancy snack.

Are certain types better than others? All nuts have their own unique nutritional profiles — and they can all fit into a healthy pregnancy diet. But some might be especially worth reaching for. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds deliver a welcome dose of calcium.

6. Eggs

Those incredible, edible eggs are the ultimate health food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg contains about 80 calories, high-quality protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals.

Eggs are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient during pregnancy. It’s important in baby’s brain development and helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.

A single whole egg contains roughly 147 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source of choline, which will get you closer to the current recommended choline intake of 450 mg per day Trusted Source while pregnant (though more studies are being done to determine if that is enough).

7. Carrots

Their bright orange color means that carrots are crammed with beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. And that nutrient is critical for your baby’s developing eyes, skin and organs.

8. Bananas

They’re a tasty source of energy when you get hit with that urge to eat something, anything, ASAP. Plus, they’re easy on your stomach even when you’re feeling queasy. (Bananas contain vitamin B6, which is linked with lowering pregnancy nausea!)

Bananas are also rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a key role in promoting healthy blood pressure. They might even help you manage annoying pregnancy bloat, since potassium helps your body release puff-promoting minerals like sodium through your urine.

9. Quinoa

If quinoa wasn’t a part of your pre-pregnancy diet, it’s worth adding to the menu now. The whole grain (which is technically a seed) delivers 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and nearly 3 grams of iron per cooked cup, along with small amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

10. Salmon

Smoked on a whole wheat bagel, teriyaki grilled, or slathered in pesto, salmon is a welcome addition to this list. Salmon is rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids that have a host of benefits.

These are found in high amounts in seafood, and help build the brain and eyes of your baby and can even help increase gestational length.

But wait: Have you been told to limit your seafood intake due to the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish? You can still eat fatty fish like salmon.

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