A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow.
- Eggs – It’s amazing what you get in one egg for only about 90 calories
In addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs contain lots of quality protein, which is essential for pregnancy. Your baby’s cells are growing at an exponential rate, and every cell is made of protein. Plus, as a pregnant woman, you have your own protein needs.
Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s overall growth and brain health, while helping prevent neural tube defects. Some eggs even contain omega-3 fats, important for both brain and vision development.
It turns out that eating saturated fat does much more damage to your cholesterol level than eating the cholesterol naturally found in food. And while eggs are high in cholesterol, they’re also relatively low in saturated fat, with only about 1 1/2 grams per egg.
Need more convincing? Eggs are cheap, easy, quick, and versatile. When you’re too exhausted to cook a full meal, a couple of hard-boiled or scrambled eggs are just the ticket.
2. Sweet Potatoes – Cook extra and save them to slice up later as a snack
Sweet potatoes get their orange color from carotenoids, plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A in our bodies, says Ward.
Although consuming too much “preformed” vitamin A (found in animal sources, such as liver, milk, and eggs) can be dangerous, carotenoids are a different type. They’re converted to vitamin A only as needed, so there’s no need to restrict your consumption of vitamin A-rich fruits and veggies.
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, folate, and fiber. And like beans, they’re inexpensive and versatile.
3. Whole Grains – Popcorn is a whole grain
Whole grains are important in pregnancy because they’re high in fiber and nutrients, including vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients (plant compounds that protect cells).
But don’t stop at popcorn: There are lots of other whole grains out there, from oatmeal to barley. Fluffy, nutty-tasting quinoa is one of Ward’s favorites.
Whole grain quinoa is easy to make and is very high in nutrients, particularly protein, making it a superfood in and of itself.
Walnuts are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3s. A handful of walnuts is a great choice for an on-the-run snack or an addition to a salad.
While plant-based omega-3s don’t provide much of the DHA that will benefit your baby, they’re still good for both of you. Walnuts are also a good source of protein and fiber.
The goal during pregnancy is to make sure you provide everything your baby needs without sacrificing your own health and nutrition. Calcium will help keep your own bones intact while laying down a healthy skeleton for your baby.
6.Dark green, leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and other green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as the all-important folate. They’ve also been found to promote eye health.
Eating plenty of green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and white fruits and vegetables ensures that you and your baby get a variety of nutrients. Each color group provides different vitamins and minerals.
Hosenfeld points out another advantage of eating across the fruit and veggie spectrum. During the later stages of pregnancy, the baby ‘tastes’ the foods you eat through the amniotic fluid,. If you expose your baby to a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables in the womb, you’ll increase the chance that your baby will recognize and accept those flavors later on.