Eating for two? When you’re pregnant, it is essential to pause, think and plan your diet from scratch. You may have to drop some long-established eating habits and in fact, adopt new ones. Food consumed during pregnancy nourishes the baby, so pay attention to what you must eat and what should be avoided.
Here’s a list of foods you absolutely must consume:
Dairy products, especially yogurt, help meet increased protein and calcium needs. Probiotics may also help reduce the risk of complications. Greek yogurt is particularly beneficial.
Most people, especially pregnant women don’t get enough of Omega-3 fatty acids. These help build the brain and eyes of the fetus and are found in abundance in sea food like Salmon.
Eggs contain a little bit of every nutrient you need. They are a great source of choline, an essential nutrient for brain health and development.
Berries help increase water and nutrient content in pregnant women. They contain healthy carbs, Vitamin C, fibre and plant compounds, making for a healthy and flavourful snack.
Avocados help improve fetal health and relieve leg cramps that are common in pregnant women. The fruit is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, fibre, folate and potassium.
A piece of dried fruit contains as much nutrient as the fresh fruit. A single serving provides just many vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron and potassium.
Prunes for example, are rich in fibre, potassium, Vitamin K and sorbitol. They are natural laxatives as well. Just make sure you avoid the candied versions!
Dark, leafy vegetables
Vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale contain many requisite nutrients such as Vitamins C, K, A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium. They are associated with reduced risk of low birth weight.
Sweet potatoes are required for healthy fetal development as they are a rich source of Beta-carotene. The human body converts this to Vitamin A which aids in differentiation of cells in the growing fetus.
Raise your hand if you love popcorn! The good news is, popcorn is a whole grain. Beside this delicious wonder, grains like oatmeal, barley and the fluffy, nutty-tasting quinoa, are rich in vitamin E, selenium and phytonutrients.
When buying meats, look for cuts with the fat trimmed off. Be careful and avoid eating out as there’s a small risk of passing bacteria and parasites from the meat to your baby.
When you’re pregnant, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, putting you at risk for constipation and haemorrhoids. Beans contain the most fibre which helps relieve such issues. Navy beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas and more – take your pick!
Fish liver oil
Low levels of Vitamin D in the body increases the risk of preeclampsia – a potentially dangerous complication, characterized by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and protein in the urine. Prevent complications with just one tablespoon of fish liver oil. It contains Omega-3, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.
Nuts and nut butters are handy snacks and excellent sources of protein and healthy fat. These will aid in your baby’s development. Choose from a range of them, including almonds, peanuts and walnuts.
During the later stages of pregnancy, the baby ‘tastes’ the foods you eat through the amniotic fluid. Introduce him to a wide range of green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and white fruits and vegetables. Not only will he develop a taste for them more readily as he grows but will also get a variety of nutrients while you’re pregnant.
Water & other beverages
Increase water intake – it will help relieve constipation and reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy. It will also prevent you from getting dehydrated. Make sure you get water from other foods and beverages, such as fruits and vegetables. However, limit your intake of caffeine.
Every stage in pregnancy requires care and vigilance. Remember, now you’re eating for two – so make sure you don’t miss any essential food items. Pregnancy is a beautiful experience, cherish it!