A balanced diet is important in pregnancy because your baby will be healthy if you are. Here are some of the best food picks to add to your pregnancy diet.
9 Healthy Picks for a Balanced Pregnant Diet
Pregnant women need 10 extra grams of protein a day. An easy way to work that into your diet is by eating more eggs.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and a great alternative to meat.
Whip yourself up an omelette with some cheese and vegetables when you want an easy and healthy food meal prep. You can also boil eggs and either throw a hard-boiled egg on a salad or store in the fridge for a grab-and-go snack.
Calcium is another nutrient pregnant women need to increase in their diet because most of us don’t get enough in our daily diet. Now is a good time to get the recommended daily amount of 1,000 mg.
Good bone health affects both your pregnancy and ability to breastfeed, should you choose to. Choose non-fat milk to increase your calcium intake.
If drinking a glass of milk makes you feel nauseous, there are other ways you can take more dairy in. Greek yogurt is a great option for calcium intake because it contains probiotics which are good for your digestive health.
Eating legumes is another way you can add more protein to your diet without increasing your meat intake. Legumes are also an excellent source of fiber, folate, iron, and calcium.
Examples of legume include lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, peanuts and soybeans.
Fiber is especially great for fighting constipation. A cup of cooked lentils, chick-peas, or black beans already provides half of a pregnant woman’s daily folate requirement.
Having folate deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight.
Neural Tube Defects Definition: This often happens during the first month of pregnancy. It is the birth defects of the brain, spinal cord, or spine.
Work legumes into your diet by adding them in your salad or rice dishes.
This is another easy meal to prepare, especially for breakfast. It only takes a few minutes to make!
Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that will keep you full longer. It also contains oat bran which can help lower your cholesterol and considered healthy to be eaten every day.
Skip instant flavoured oats and choose quick cooking oatmeal instead. For a hint of sweetness, you can mix in a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup.
Say no to grabbing your favourite pastry and stock up on oatmeal and a few fresh fruits for breakfast.
5. Lean Meat
If you are averse to eating your usual meat dishes, try eating lean meat for your source of iron. Iron is an important mineral for pregnant women because the blood volume increases during pregnancy.
Low iron levels during the first two trimesters of pregnancy pose a risk. This includes iron deficiency anemia, which doubles the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
Lean meat has relatively low-fat content. Examples of lean meat are skinless chicken, turkey, and red meat like pork chops without the fat.
What’s another good reason to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your body? Sufficient iron storage helps you feel less tired.
RELATED: What To Eat When Pregnant
6. Dark Leafy Greens and Broccoli
Spinach, broccoli and other dark leafy green #veggies are especially high in calcium, with about 100 mg of calcium per serving. Besides making an effort to eat your greens, you can also substitute raw #spinach for iceberg lettuce on your sandwiches and in your salads. #Calcium pic.twitter.com/XWrM5ItZIy
— Tara Marie Segundo (@TaraMarie_Live) May 1, 2018
Of course, we know vegetables are great for a healthy pregnancy diet, but why exactly? It’s because these types of vegetables are rich in calcium and folate.
Calcium and folate, as mentioned earlier, are two nutrients you should load up on. Broccoli, in particular, is also rich in fiber and vitamin C.
Fiber can help with constipation, a common problem among pregnant women.
If you want to maximize the good effects of broccoli, you can pair it with iron-rich food like wheat pasta and brown rice. This pairing helps your body absorb the iron better.
It has also been reported that these have been linked to a reduced risk in low birth weight.
Bananas are great for pregnant women because of its potassium content. It can help you fight pregnancy fatigue.
Think of what it’s like when you just finish a workout or a run. It’s always good to keep potassium levels up during these periods for your energy.
Since your body is working overtime during pregnancy, you will also need sufficient potassium levels.
In your first trimester, bananas are also a good option if you’re feeling nauseous. This is because it’s easy on the tummy.
You can enjoy your banana as is or with above-mentioned oats, yogurt, or turn it into a smoothie.
8. Whole Grain
For extra protein in your sandwich, try serving our Country Grain Loaf. Two slices of this whole grain whole wheat loaf not only has 8 different grains and seeds, but also packs 8 grams of protein! https://t.co/ftxOkEQe0e pic.twitter.com/Soa8SuY4cO
— COBS Bread (@COBSBread) September 19, 2018
It is usually very tempting to load up on a sandwich or devour cookies when you are hungry — but it’s good to remember that many of our carbohydrate choices are made from refined grains.
Whole grains are a healthier option that still helps you meet your calorie requirement. It also contains fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds.
Refined grains are processed to strip away the beneficial fiber. It is used in what is tagged as “bad carbohydrates” or simple carbohydrates which lack nutrients.
Some examples of whole grains include whole wheat products, whole oats, brown rice, and quinoa. Whole grains are also rich in B vitamins and magnesium.
Pregnant women need at least 10 cups or 2.3 liters of water daily. This is because of the increase in blood volume during pregnancy.
Make sure you do not get dehydrated by always carrying a water bottle with you. Track or write down the times you took a sip.
This is a good way to check if you’re getting enough water and if you need to drink more of it.
Another way you can stay hydrated is by staying off sugary drinks and your favourite non-water beverage of choice for now. It will also prove helpful in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Check out this video from Howdini to know more about nutrition during pregnancy:
Now you know the healthy choices for a balanced diet menu during pregnancy. Next time you visit the grocery, make sure to add these nine foods or these 22 prescribed pregnancy foods to your cart instead of your usual cravings.
Do you have other healthy food recommendations for a balanced diet during pregnancy? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section below!