You know you should always eat healthy, but maybe — just maybe — you used to cheat a little. Latte and doughnut for breakfast? We’ve all been there!
Now that you’re expecting, you are trying to think much more carefully about what you’re feeding yourself because the foods you eat are the main source of nutrients for your growing baby.
During pregnancy, for example, you’ll need protein and calcium for your baby’s tissues and bones. You’ll also need extra folic acid to protect against neural tube birth defects, as well as more iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby.
Get off to a good start with these pregnancy super foods.
Enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid and iron and have more fiber than white bread and rice. Work whole grains into your day: oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole-grain bread at lunch, and whole-wheat pasta or brown rice for dinner.
Add black beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, and kidney, garbanzo, or soy beans to your diet. Try them in chili and soups, salads, and pasta dishes. Besides providing protein and fiber, they are also good sources of key nutrients, such as iron, folate, calcium, and zinc.
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your baby’s brain and eyes, and salmon is a great source. Plus it provides protein and B vitamins. Salmon is also relatively low in mercury compared to other fish. Try it grilled, broiled, or on a salad. You can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish, such as salmon, per week.
Eggs are versatile and a good source of protein that provides amino acids you and your baby need. They contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for baby’s brain development. However, be sure not to eat undercooked or raw eggs.
Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are delicious snacks and taste great in pancakes and on top of cereal. Berries are packed with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber.
One cup of plain, low-fat yogurt has more calcium than milk, is high in protein, and doesn’t have the added sugar of flavored yogurts. Dress it up with fruit or crunchy, whole-grain cereal.
- USDA: “Inside the Pyramid."
- FDA: “What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish."
- Roberta Anding, RD, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman.