Your appetite is either the biggest it has ever been, or it’s just as likely that your appetite is completely absent. Either way, you’re probably wondering “now that I’m pregnant, what should I be eating”?
A special note to all the nauseous mamas-to-be: at this point, the most important thing for you is to be getting anything in your stomach and staying hydrated. Eat what you can, and save this list for when the nausea subsides!
You may have been told that it’s time to eat for two! I am here to tell you that you don’t necessarily have to double your intake. Instead you will want to create a balanced meal plan that incorporates a substantial serving of key nutrients!
The key nutrients to focus on during pregnancy are:
Iron is important to ensure a healthy growth trajectory for your little one. There are plenty of ways to add more iron into your diet that we will get into, so read on!
Increasing the amount of Fat in your diet is also important for fetal development. Sufficient fat will help maximize blood circulation and transference of vitamins and minerals!
Choline is likely a nutrient you have heard about in your doctors office or read on your prenatal vitamin bottle! That’s because choline is a nutrient that is vital to spinal cord and brain development in babies.
Folate, or Folic Acid, is a B vitamin that is essential for your baby’s heart and brain development!
And finally, Calcium is a mineral that is imperative to bone development. But increasing the calcium in your diet isn’t just important for your baby - it is essential for your health as well! A calcium deficiency during pregnancy can lead to Osteoporosis in women.
Now you know the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you want to incorporate into your diet during your pregnancy. Let’s talk about how to incorporate these nutrients.
Eggs are a super food - carrying a relatively high amount of protein, fat and iron with every bite. They are a wonderful source of choline, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
This is also a versatile food that you can cook in many different ways. Whether you are a meal prepper who wants to batch a weeks worth of egg muffins or you love a solid omelet, the possibilities are endless!
To fortify your eggs for even more nutritional value, try adding in chopped veggies, cheese and/or meat!
Broccoli is a well balanced vegetable that is easy to prepare, making it perfect for pregnancy! It has loads of iron, calcium and protein and is naturally low in sodium and fat.
If you are looking for a hands off approach to dinner, you can steam broccoli or bake it in the oven. Alternatively, broccoli works really well in a stir fry if you are feeling a strong desire to actively cook at the stove!
Another reason to eat broccoli during your pregnancy is that it is packed with Vitamin C and Potassium. These nutrients can help strengthen your immune system and alleviate muscle cramps!
Pregnancy is a time that can be sad for many seafood lovers - no sushi, no oysters, no high mercury fish. It can feel like a lot of no’s with this category.
The good news is that Salmon is a powerhouse of nutrients that is pregnancy-friendly! The iron, protein, and fat levels are ideal for supporting your pregnancy. Salmon is also rich with Vitamin D which helps your body absorb calcium, strengthening your immune system.
During pregnancy, try your best to stick to wild caught salmon instead of farmed salmon. The nutritional content of wild salmon is naturally more dense, and has fewer contaminants!
Adding pasteurized dairy products to your diet during pregnancy is an incredible way to incorporate a plethora of key nutrients. Milk, cheese and yogurt have protein, calcium and Vitamin D! All essential nutrients for pregnancy.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate dairy into your diet! Here are some ideas:
Make a greek yogurt and berry bowl with granola
Enjoy your favorite cereal with a serving of milk
Fortify your soups with some cream
Sprinkle cheese into an omelet for breakfast
Add low fat sour cream to a bowl of chili
Spread cream cheese on a bagel
Avocados are a true pregnancy super food. They are rich in iron and folate, and are a delicious healthy fat. In addition to supporting your baby’s development, avocados also support how you feel during your pregnancy!
High in potassium and fiber, avocados can be magic for aching moms-to-be. During the times where you feel you can’t stomach anything, plain toast with some avocado is a great first bite to try! The fiber can help to settle your stomach.
And if you have been struggling with muscle cramps and aches, avocados also offer a solution for you! Avocados are loaded with potassium, making them an ideal food to help ease your muscle tension and discomfort.
Spinach (and other leafy greens)
Spinach is the most nutrient dense leafy green. It is packed with vitamins A and K, and has a high volume of iron and folate per serving.
You can add spinach to your diet in many different ways. From a cold salad to wilted spinach, this leafy green makes for a nourishing side dish.
If the flavor or texture is hard to stomach, try blending wilted spinach into a blueberry muffin recipe or strawberry pancakes! Wilted spinach can hide easily among sweet flavors.
While it may feel like so many foods are on the do not eatlist during pregnancy, there are plenty of delicious and nutritious things to incorporate in your meal plan! Focus on creating a balance of nutritious meals using the ingredients above (and more). And don’t forget to include those indulgent cravings - it is pregnancy after all!