When you leave your doctor’s office after your first prenatal exam, chances are you are already several weeks into your pregnancy. The question of what to eat during pregnancy may not have come up at all. After all, doctors seem to be more concerned with what not to eat while you are pregnant: alcohol, raw meat, sushi and liver might be mentioned.
That leaves an awful lot of women who want to guaranty their baby good nutrition without gaining a lot of extra weight, unsure of what to do. Here are some of the answers you need so you can eat well and feel great.
Where to Start with What to Eat During Pregnancy
The first question I have for you is where are you starting nutritionally? Are you already eating well? Do you stick to healthy, organic, whole foods? In that case you don’t have much to do except to add a few extra calories and focus on specific nutrients.
On the other hand, if you eat mostly refined, preprocessed foods, you have a lot of changes to make. Let’s assume that you are the typical person who eats a variety of less than optimal foods as well as some good ones.
The Pregnancy Foods Shopping Trip
Few supermarkets will have the kinds of foods you should be eating all the time, never mind during pregnancy. Find your local healthy food store.
While ideally you want to stick to organic foods, it may not be in your budget, so pick and choose based upon which foods are most heavily sprayed with chemicals, such as strawberries or peppers, rather than those which can be peeled to remove the greatest risk – for example bananas or pineapples.
Start with whole grains. Brown rice, steel cut oats, quinoa, spelt, buckwheat, amaranth and others offer tremendous nutritional benefits, lots of fiber and good carbohydrates for energy.
Meat comes next. Grass fed beef and lamb are your best choices. They contain plenty of iron, omega-3 fatty acid and are low in saturated fats. Wild caught fish are important as a source of protein, those famous omega-3s, and studies show that eating 12 or more ounces of fish a week may boost your child’s intelligence too. Organic poultry gives you lean protein without the chemicals found in conventional meats.
Veggies and fruits are essential now as well. You will want to stock up on dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, bok choi, spinach and collards if you like them.
This is where you can obtain wonderful calcium, folate and iron easily. Eat them with a food rich in vitamin C, such as an orange or some organic strawberries and you will increase absorption.
There, that is your basic list of what to eat during pregnancy.
How much of each to eat is a discussion for another time. Eating whole, healthy foods during your pregnancy is even more important than eating them at any other time in your life. By the end of these 9 months you will find that your tastes have changed, and the junk you ate before won’t have much appeal. Think of it as a favor the baby is doing for you.