Figuring out what to eat when pregnant doesn’t need to be tricky. Here you will find a list of healthy foods that are beneficial for pregnant women, foods that can help you nourish your growing bump.
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WHAT TO EAT WHEN PREGNANT?
You may be thinking that eating healthy probably involves bland rice cakes, boring salads, and oatmeal. Fear not! You can eat tasty food and not feel guilty.
First, learn about the individual foods that are good for you, then use those foods to make your healthy meals and snacks.
*Many of the foods offer more than one benefit and can be placed in more than one category of benefits. Use this resource to get more details on the nutrient value of specific foods. Also, this list is not all-inclusive. There are more foods in each category that offer similar benefits.
30+ HEALTHY PREGNANCY FOODS
FOODS WITH FOLATE
Folate is a B vitamin (B9). It is an important vitamin for cell growth and metabolism, especially during pregnancy. Folate is believed to help prevent birth defects in the brain and spinal cord of your baby. It is found in it’s synthetic or man-made form, folic acid, in most prenatal vitamins; however, it can also be found naturally in the foods listed below.
3. Pinto beans
4. Black-eyed peas
FOODS TO HELP WITH HYDRATION
Food with high water content is perfect for helping pregnant women stay hydrated. Dehydration during pregnancy can be dangerous for your baby and yourself. It can affect the fluid in your amniotic sac, the placenta, and the body’s ability to rid itself of waste. Drinking water and these foods can help keep you hydrated.
2. Celery Lettuce
4. Green Peppers
9. Melons (Cantaloupe, Watermelon)
FOODS WITH FIBER
Fiber helps with pushing everything along and can prevent constipation which affects approximately half of all pregnant women. According to The American Pregnancy Association, not all constipation is due to low fiber; iron supplements, hormones, stress and lack of exercise can contribute to constipation. If you know you have a low fiber intake, consider the foods listed below.
1. Black beans
5. Brown rice
6. Dried Figs
8. Sweet potatoes
FOODS WITH POTASSIUM
Having trouble with cramps, ask your doctor about your potassium levels. Potassium helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. Remember that sodium-potassium pump from high school biology? If not, check out this resource for more information on potassium during pregnancy.
4. Lima beans
5. White beans
FOODS WITH MAGNESIUM
Magnesium is important for balancing blood sugar levels in the body. According to this source, not having enough magnesium can result in serious conditions like preterm labor, preeclampsia and other serious conditions.
1. Black beans
4. Dark Chocolate
FOODS (& DRINK) WITH ZINC
Zinc helps with cell division and cellular metabolism and there is lots of that happening during pregnancy, so your body and your baby need zinc. Zinc is also important for health and immunity. You can learn more about the importance of zinc in pregnancy here and here. Below is a list of foods with zinc.
2. Meats (chicken, pork, and beef)
4. Hemp seeds
5. Flax seeds
FOODS WITH VITAMIN C
Vitamin C can help you protect you and your baby from infection. It also helps with iron absorption and adequate amounts of iron is necessary to prevent anemia. This source suggests that having an adequate intake of vitamin C benefits bone growth, healthy skin, and tissue repair.
1. Orange Juice
ANTIOXIDANT RICH FOODS
If you want a data-rich article on the importance of antioxidants for pregnancy read this.
FOODS WITH BETA-CAROTENE
The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Vitamin A benefits your baby’s eye, bone, and skin development
4. Sweet potatoes
Each of these foods can help you eat well through your pregnancy and beyond. However, be sure to connect with a nutritionist or your medical prenatal team to find foods that support your individual needs.
Now, what healthy snacks can you create with the foods on this list?
EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY SNACKS
Most of these foods solo aren’t exciting BUT put together the right combination and you can have some finger licking good snacks or meals! I bet you want some examples, of course!
Here are 5 snacks you can make to cure craving that offer health benefits.
1. Loaded Sweet Potato
Now, it may not be best practice given your condition to load it with bacon and sour cream but what about avocado, raisins, and almonds. Bam! And loaded!
2. DIY Trailmix
If it is DIY, it has to be good because you only put the good stuff in it. Try a combination of dried fruit, raisins, cashews, and heck-whatever you like. Even if it’s weird, it is OK, you get a pass because you are pregnant!
3. Avocado Toast
Yes. Avocado toast is still a thing and it can be your thing. Grab a piece of whole grain toast and fresh avocado. Add a side of fresh fruit and kick your legs up.
4. Fruit Salad
Who doesn’t love a good fruit salad? I’m not talking about those cheap ones that only have one pineapple and half a cherry. Weak-sauce! I’m talking about those rainbow colored fruit salads that have strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, melon.
TOO MUCH OF ANYTHING IS A BAD THING, SO FIND BALANCE
Eat well and find a healthy balance when deciding how to best move through the new demands your body now has for nutrients. Try including these healthy foods in your diet but don’t take out all the sweets. Put your little person first but still enjoy your pregnancy.
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