The 12 healthiest foods for pregnant women to consume. BLT sandwiches with roasted salmon, chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, and plantain fritters with avocado: The following is a list of the 12 healthiest foods that a pregnant woman can consume.
It is essential to keep in mind that your body is already working very hard to build a baby when deciding which foods are the healthiest options for pregnant women to consume. At this point in your pregnancy, the best diet for you will be one that satisfies the needs of both you and your developing child in terms of energy and nutrients.
Consuming food that is healthy for you and your baby is essential at any time, but it is especially crucial when you are pregnant. Consuming nutritious food that is rich in vitamins and minerals is always a good idea; however, when you are expecting (or may be expecting), it is even more important to ensure that your body receives what it requires to function properly.
The 12 healthiest foods to consume while pregnant are listed here. We are here to assist you in making the most of the healthy food options that are available to you, whether you are eating them at work or while you are on the go. During pregnancy, one of the things that causes a lot of women to feel anxious is the possibility that they won’t consume enough protein in their diet.
Foods To Eat When Pregnant First Trimester
During pregnancy, good nutrition is more important than ever. To support a healthy pregnancy and your baby’s development, include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein foods, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products in your pregnancy diet. Limit foods and beverages with lots of added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. At every meal, make half your plate fruits and vegetables. And enjoy the best foods for pregnancy listed below!
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Best foods for pregnancy: Eggs
- Best foods for pregnancy: Salmon
- Best foods for pregnancy: Beans
- Best foods for pregnancy: Sweet potatoes
- Best foods for pregnancy: Whole grains
- Best foods for pregnancyEggsPhoto credit: ThinkstockEggs are a great source of protein, a crucial part of your pregnancy diet. The amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of the cells in your body – and your baby’s.Eggs also contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline. Choline – which is contained mostly in the yolks, so be sure to include them – helps your baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly, and helps prevent certain birth defects.Combine eggs with whatever veggies and cheese you have on hand and you’ll have the makings of a frittata. Leftovers – if there are any – are perfect for breakfast the next day.Recipe: Frittata with chard, red onion, and fetaRecipe: Ratatouille with baked eggs
- Best foods for pregnancySalmonPhoto credit: ThinkstockOmega-3 fatty acids are crucial for your baby’s brain development and may even boost your mood. Salmon is an exceptionally good source. Salmon also provides protein and vitamin D, which your baby needs for healthy bones and teeth.Salmon (as well as herring, trout, anchovies, sardines, and shad) is a low-mercury option for the 8 to 12 ounces of seafood pregnant women are encouraged to eat each week. Find out more about eating fish safely during pregnancy.Recipe: Pan-seared salmon with lentils and leeksRecipe: Roasted salmon BLTs with herbed mayo
- Best foods for pregnancyBeansPhoto credit: ThinkstockBeans – including legumes like lentils, peas, and peanuts – are a good source of protein and an excellent source of iron, folate, potassium, and magnesium. They’re all important when you’re pregnant.Beans are also a great food for fiber, which can help prevent and relieve two common pregnancy discomforts: constipation and hemorrhoids.Try tossing edamame (cooked soybeans, which are also an excellent source of essential fatty acids) in soups, salads, or stir-fries. Or snack on roasted edamame.Recipe: Creamy white beans with sausage, broccolini, and bread crumbs (extra easy, thanks to canned beans)Recipe: Tofu, broccoli, and sugar snap pea stir-fry
- Best foods for pregnancySweet potatoesPhoto credit: ThinkstockSweet potatoes get their orange color from carotenoids, plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Your baby needs vitamin A for healthy bones, lungs, eyes, and skin development. This sweet veggie is also a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of vitamin B6 (which may help with morning sickness), potassium, and fiber (especially if you keep the skin on).Recipe: Curried chickpea and sweet potato turnoversRecipe: Baked sweet potato fries (not just for kids!)
- Best foods for pregnancyWhole grainsPhoto credit: ThinkstockWhole grains are high in fiber and nutrients, including B vitamins, iron, folic acid (if fortified), magnesium, the antioxidant vitamin E, and the mineral selenium. They also contain phytonutrients, plant compounds that protect cells.Trade white bread for whole grain, and sample different kinds of whole grains – from barley and buckwheat to oats and spelt – in your pregnancy diet.Recipe: Chicken soup with farro and shiitake mushrooms
Is Hollandia Yoghurt Good For a Pregnant Woman
Even if you’re already packing an alphabet’s worth of vitamins and minerals into your daily meals, you might still worry that you’re not quite hitting the healthy pregnancy diet mark — especially if your appetite hasn’t quite gotten up to speed yet.
Enter these nutritional superstars. When it comes to the best foods to eat when pregnant, try to reach for picks that pack plenty of nutrients into just a few bites and not much in the way of empty calories. This will help you and your baby get the vitamins and minerals you both need. (Though the occasional cookie or ice cream cone is just fine, so don’t feel bad about treating yourself from time to time!)Top ArticlesREAD MOREHealth Benefits of Pregnancyand Motherhood
Speaking of nutrients, while all are important right now, the best foods for pregnancy are high in vitamins and minerals that play a key role in supporting your baby’s growth and development, including:
- Folate. Getting at least 600 micrograms per day during pregnancy reduces the risk for neural tube defects.
- Iron. You need nearly twice as much iron during pregnancy, or 27 milligrams daily. The mineral is used to make more blood that carries oxygen to your baby.
- Calcium. Aim for 1,000 milligrams daily. Calcium is key to help your baby build strong bones, teeth, muscles and nerves.
- Vitamin D. It helps calcium do its job and keeps your immune system strong. You should get 600 IU daily.
- DHA. An omega-3 fatty acid, DHA plays a role in your baby’s brain and eye development. You need 200 to 300 milligrams per day.
- Iodine. The mineral promotes your baby’s brain and nervous system development. You should get 290 micrograms daily.
- Choline. Aim to get 450 milligrams of this vital nutrient each day to help prevent neural tube problems and support your baby’s cognitive development.
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Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant
Keeping track of your nutritional needs during pregnancy can feel like a big job, but picking the right foods can help you cover more of your bases (along with taking a prenatal vitamin, of course). So make an effort to keep these pregnancy superfoods on hand — and make them mainstays of your daily menus.
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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. (Blood volume increases when you’re pregnant, which is why anemia during pregnancy is so common.) Iron also plays a role in baby’s brain development.
How to eat it: Lean beef cuts like round, sirloin, chuck and loin; ground beef with less than 15 percent fat; pork tenderloin or loin chop; poultry like chicken and turkey; and lamb leg, arm or loin all fit the bill. A little goes a long way, so add your favorite cut to veggie-filled soups, salads and rice or noodle dishes. Finally, remember to cook your meat thoroughly. An internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit is high enough to kill illness-causing bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.
Whether you’re a meat eater or not, this vegetarian protein source deserves a place on your plate. A cup of cooked lentils packs around 17 grams of protein along with about 7 milligrams of iron.
Lentils are also rich in the B vitamin folate (called folic acid in supplements), which is vital to forming your baby’s brain and nervous system and has a powerful protective effect against neural-tube defects like spina bifida, a birth disorder in which a spine does not form properly. Lentils are also high in fiber, which can keep your digestive system humming along and help stave off pregnancy-related constipation.
How to eat them: To top it all off, lentils are easy to cook and can work in almost any dish. Try firm French or black lentils in salads, use softer brown lentils in place of chickpeas in your favorite hummus recipe or make a thick, stew-like soup with creamy, quick-cooking red lentils.
Your baby needs a steady supply of calcium for his growing bones, and you need it to keep yours strong and help your nerves and muscles function. Three to four servings of dairy foods can help you meet your daily calcium needs, and yogurt is one of your best bets.
Cup for cup, it contains as much calcium as milk — plus it’s packed with protein, iodine and folate. The active cultures (i.e. good bacteria) in yogurt can also help prevent stomach upset as well as yeast infections (which are more common in pregnancy).
But not all yogurts are created equal. Plain varieties can be a better choice than flavored ones since they’re free of added sugars and easy to customize with mix-ins.
How to eat it: Try a drizzle of honey or chopped fresh fruit to sweeten it up, if you’d like. Aside from eating it from the cup or bowl, you can add yogurt to smoothies, layer it with granola to make a creamy-crunchy parfait or use it in place of sour cream or mayo in dips, dressings or baked goods.
The fatty fish earns its rep for being one of the best foods to eat while pregnant.
Cold-water fish like salmon are packed with DHA omega-3s, which are essential for a number of reasons. The body can’t make them on its own; they help metabolize fat-soluble vitamins like A and E; they may help reduce the risk of prenatal and postpartum depression; and they’re critical for your baby’s developing eyes and brain (both the brain and retina are primarily composed of DHA).
Salmon, too, is a good source of iodine and vitamin D.
As for concerns about mercury? Salmon is a safe seafood choice for pregnancy, so feel free to enjoy 8 to 12 ounces (two to three servings) a week. (Sardines and herring are other good choices.) Stick with wild salmon over farmed when possible.
How to eat it: Try roasting salmon filets and serving them over greens or rice. Enjoy alongside a sweet potato and steamed veggies, or pile flaked salmon on top of grain bowls or salads.