One of the most important things you can do for your baby is choose to eat right! You can start eating right from the moment you plan to get pregnant, the sooner the better. For many, this instinct to eat right comes naturally since the foods you eat are the main source of nutrients for your growing baby. During pregnancy your bodies nutrient needs change. You’ll need extra protein and calcium for your baby’s tissues and bones. You’ll also need extra folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects. As well as more iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby. The list goes on and on but try focusing on the following foods to get the most nutrients during your pregnancy for the benefit of your baby.
Whole grains – Enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid, iron, and contain more fiber than white bread and rice. Include plenty of whole grains for those 9 months! This should be super easy to do. . try oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole-grain bread at lunch, and whole-wheat pasta or brown rice for dinner.
Beans – Ah, yes! The magical friut. Black beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney, garbanzo, or soy beans are perfect for your diet. Try them in chili, soups, salads, and pasta dishes. Besides providing protein and fiber, these legumes are also good sources of key nutrients such as iron, folate, calcium, and zinc.
Salmon – Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which promote brain development and vision in babies. Plus it provides protein and B vitamins. Try it grilled, broiled, or on a salad. Salmon is also relatively low in mercury compared to other fish but to be safe limit yourself to no more than 12 ounces of salmon per week.
Eggs – Known for their great source of protein that provides the amino acids you and your baby need.
Eggs contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline and lutein. You can include them in your breakfast lunch or dinner. However, be sure not to eat undercooked or raw eggs.
Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are perfect in a smoothie, as a snack, on top of cereal or even in pancakes. Berries are packed with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber.
Plain low-fat yogurt – One cup of plain low-fat yogurt contains 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.
Now that you know what pregnancy foods to focus on, get creative! Mix and match meals to be sure that you’re getting all the important nutrients during pregnancy, everyday. You’ll find these foods easy to work in your diet and feel great about consuming foods that are good for your baby’s development!