Eight Must Have Foods You Should Eat in Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Congratulations, you just found out you are pregnant. Do you need to change your diet? Absolutely! Eating “power pregnancy foods” is essential for pregnant women, not just for the health of the baby, but for the mother to sustain the pregnancy to its fullest potential.
There are many reasons to ramp up your nutrition, aside from the obvious things such as your baby’s brain development, overall health, and to lessen the likeliness of complications in your pregnancy. Eating healthy also helps you to stay well and builds up your immune system. If you get sick while pregnant, this can also affect the fetus. Another reason is that being deficient in certain nutrients can actually cause health problems later on, such as when the child develops after infancy to childhood.

Before mentioning the foods you should eat, it may be worthwhile to mention foods you should avoid. Fast foods have very little to no nutritional value, and can actually affect your mood, contribute to excess weight gain, as well as harming your baby. This is not always the case, but if you are a dedicated mother on a mission, try to steer clear from the drive-thru.
Stay away from:
  • Seafoods high in mercury – such as swordfish, mackerel, shark, etc.
  • Raw foods – such as sushi, raw oysters, or nova style seafoods
  • Luncheon meats
  • Unpasteurized foods – like blue or feta cheese, goat cheese, brie, etc.
  • Alcoholic beverages
Now, here are some excellent sources of nutrition that you should adopt and make part of your healthy, new pregnancy diet:
  • 1. Beans, Seeds and Lentils:
    Pregnant women need at least 60 grams of protein per day, and beans, lentils and seeds (try pumpkin!) provide a sizable portion at approx. 15 grams p/cup. These also have a lot of fiber and folates. Spread them over brown rice and salads!
  • 2. Oatmeal:
    Forgo the donut, sugary cereal, or muffin and choose oatmeal, at least while pregnant. The complex carbs will satisfy your hunger longer and the bran will keep your cholesterol levels in check.
  • 3. Bananas:
    You may feel extra tired or lack of energy while pregnant, so the potassium in bananas offers a great way to fight fatigue, as well as being easier on your tummy if you are feeling nauseous.
  • 4. Egg Whites:
    If you are staying clear of meat while pregnant (which is wise), then you still need to get your protein intake through other methods. Egg yolks are high in fat, but if you take the yolks out and keep the whites, you will obtain the most nutritional part of the food. Tip: If the lack of “yellow” color makes it bland, flavor it with spices or leave one yolk and the rest whites per portion.
  • 5. Spinach:
    If you give up meat, which is wise, then you’ll need to find your extra iron source from something else. Spinach and similar, leafy green veggies are high in calcium and make a great foundation in a salad in lieu of lettuce.
  • 6. Whole Grain Bread:
    Did you know that whole grain bread is an excellent source of iron? Aside from having the recommended 30 grams of fiber you need daily, whole grain breads have zinc to keep your immune system healthy.
  • 7. Soy Foods & Dairy:
    Skip the hormones in milk and dairy and opt for soy milk instead. You can also try tofu, edamame, soy nuts, etc.
  • 8. Figs:
    These are loaded with fiber, calcium, potassium and magnesium and might work to satisfy your sweet tooth instead of fattening junk food. These also help your baby’s teeth develop under the gums and can decrease your chances of iron deficiency or anemia.

 

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