Proper nourishment of your body before and during pregnancy is important, not just for your baby’s health and development, but for your health as well. The tired old phrase that you’re “eating for two now!” doesn’t just refer to your new voracious appetite; it also means that what nutrition your baby needs is going to have to come through you. It’s important to eat the balanced diet you’ve discussed with your doctor, but here are some of our favorite nutrient-rich superfoods that will nourish both your body and your baby.
- Fish: Fish is an excellent source of lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin D and zinc. Pregnant women are warned to be cautious around fish, but as long as it is cooked thoroughly, experts say that women can safely eat up to 12 ounces a week. Try salmon and tuna, but stay away from big fish, such as swordfish, king mackerel and shark, which can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby’s development. Have grilled salmon for dinner or put some tuna on your salad at lunch to incorporate it into your diet.
- Walnuts: These nuts are a good alternative if you don’t eat fish. They contain those beautiful omega-3 acids, as well as a good dose of protein.
- Pecans: These are also a good source of minerals. Incorporate them into snacking or have them with a salad for an extra punch of nutrients.
- Kale: This dark green veggie is an excellent source of iron; calcium; vitamins A, B6, C and K; fiber; magnesium and potassium. Iron will help keep your energy up and help you supply the blood to get the rest of those nutrients to your developing baby. Have it with a salad, in hearty soups or cooked as a side dish at dinner.
- Avocado: Avocado is a great source of fiber, potassium, folate and vitamins K, C, B5 and B6. It is also a delicious source of healthy fats. Experts recommend that women intake about 800 micrograms of folate or folic acid a day during pregnancy, so whip up some guacamole, slice avocado on your salad or layer it into a sandwich!
- Greek yogurt: Yogurt is a huge source of calcium for your baby’s growing bones. It has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt, so you will be providing the nutrients for a strong body for your baby. Throw on some of those walnuts for a healthy crunch or use it in baking and in soups!
- Water: OK, so maybe it’s not a food per se, but it is extremely important to stay hydrated throughout your pregnancy.
- Red meat: Even if you’re not much of a meat-eater, your baby needs the protein and iron that can be found in a good piece of steak.
The Bottom Line:
Staying healthy and eating the right things for you and your baby during pregnancy requires a varied and balanced diet. These foods pack a punch of nutrition, as well as being tasty and versatile. Your doctor will discuss your diet with you and make recommendations for other foods you can eat to help promote your baby’s growth and your health!