A healthy pregnancy diet is vital for the mother and the developing baby. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, it is important to include certain critical nutrients in your diet. Folic acid, for example, is essential for developing the baby’s brain and nervous system. Below are some of the best superfoods to eat during pregnancy.
You don’t necessarily need extra calories in the first trimester, but you should choose more nutritious foods to help your baby’s development and reduce birth defects. You should always talk to your doctor once you find the perfect pregnancy doctor. You may need to eat less or more, depending on your weight and activity before pregnancy. Your exercise during pregnancy may also need to be adjusted, so keep that in mind.
During the first trimester, you may or may not suffer from morning sickness. Nausea can make it very difficult to eat anything at all. That is why it is essential to include these superfoods in your healthy pregnancy diet for the times you can eat.
What is Pregnancy Superfoods?
Pregnancy superfoods are foods packed with the essential vitamins and minerals required for your baby’s growth. During pregnancy, pregnant women need extra calories to ensure both you and the baby get the critical nutrients required. The nutrients in superfoods allow you to have a healthy pregnancy and aid in developing your baby.
Try not to overthink what you eat during pregnancy too much, though. You don’t want to cut calories or obsess over everything you eat. You want to eat nutrient-dense foods that have the essential nutrients for the healthy development of your baby.
The superfoods listed below are essential to include in your diet because they are all packed with vitamins and minerals that expectant mothers need during pregnancy. Even with a well-balanced diet, ensure you take prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins have nutrients like folic acid and DHA to help with a baby’s brain development.
Superfoods Good for Pregnancy
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all great superfoods to eat while pregnant.
They are all excellent food sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C is needed for your body to make collagen, an essential protein in cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin.
Antioxidants help our bodies destroy free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are formed when your body uses oxygen. They can damage living cells and may also play a role in cancer and other diseases.
Strawberries are also a great source of fiber, folate, and potassium. Folate helps ensure healthy growth and development and prevents congenital disabilities like spina bifida.
Potassium is vital during pregnancy because your body creates about 50% more blood volume during pregnancy, and to balance that out, you need extra electrolytes. Potassium is one of those electrolytes your body needs to maintain blood pressure once your blood volume increases.
Blueberries also have Vitamin K and manganese. Vitamin K helps with the normal clotting of your blood to prevent excessive bleeding, and manganese helps form a baby’s bone and cartilage.
Raspberries have the essential nutrients phosphorus and selenium. They have also been known to help control blood sugar. Phosphorus is vital for muscle movement, kidney function, the nervous system, and cell or tissue repair. Selenium is involved in regulating your immune system; it acts as a sort of armor against disease.
Blackberries have the highest amount of antioxidants, Vitamin K and manganese, out of all the berries.
As you can see, healthy food like berries are chock full of essential vitamins that help your baby grow. You can easily add them with other foods to create a breakfast full of pregnancy superfoods. For example, you can use eggs to make some crepes, fill them with plain yogurt, and top the whole thing off with various berries.
2. Dark Leafy Greens and Broccoli
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are all important superfoods to include in your pregnancy diet.
Kale is an excellent source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, C, and K. I love it because it is very versatile. You can throw it in a smoothie, chop it up for a salad, bake it into a chip, or use it in a stir-fry.
The fiber in kale can help prevent constipation and provides an enormous benefit to overall digestion.
Spinach is loaded with folate, one of the vital b vitamins needed for your baby’s developing spinal cord and brain. Get your daily folate requirement by including spinach in your daily meals. I love to chop up any of these leafy vegetables and put them in frittatas or scrambled eggs.
Broccoli is also a great source of folate, fiber, calcium, potassium, and many beneficial antioxidants.
Milk, yogurt, cheese, and cream soups are all great sources of calcium.
Daily calcium is super important for your developing baby. It helps the baby’s growing bones and teeth. Calcium is also crucial for their nervous system development.
Calcium can also reduce your risk of hypertension and preeclampsia. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are also excellent sources of protein.
I especially like greek yogurt, which contains more calcium than other dairy products. Greek yogurt also contains active cultures, which are good gut bacteria that help improve your digestive health.
You want to aim for 3-4 servings of dairy a day to get your required daily calcium. An excellent cream soup to have would be broccoli cheese. You get your serving of dairy and broccoli deliciously and satisfyingly.
Most leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium if you don’t like dairy or are lactose intolerant.
Or some fruit juices can be an option as well, like orange juice, as long as they are fortified with calcium and vitamin d. Just be careful of the added sugars they may contain. Orange juice also has a lot of potassium which is good for preventing high blood pressure.
Eggs are considered high protein foods.
Eggs are another excellent pregnancy diet superfood since they have high protein. Protein is what contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of our cells.
So eating enough protein is essential for your baby’s growth and development. And if you are anything like I was during pregnancy, most times, lean meat was not an option due to nausea.
The site of raw chicken or other meats made me run to the bathroom. So preparing a meal with meat proved difficult. My husband would end up cooking on days I was super nauseous, but even then, the smell of cooking meat was too much.
So that is where eggs come in. They are excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, iron, and many of the necessary vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy.
Healthy fats like Omega 3 and mineral choline are crucial to a baby’s developing brain. Both of these are found in eggs.
Plus, they are low in carbohydrates, so they are considered to have a low glycemic index, perfect if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
The iron in eggs helps prevent anemia and keeps your energy up while your body makes the extra blood needed during pregnancy.
I especially love how versatile they are. You can scramble them with lots of veggies and cheese for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Hardboiled is always a great option and easy to grab on the go.
My go-to breakfast a lot of the time was a piece of whole-grain toast with mashed or sliced avocado and a sliced hardboiled egg. Yummy! This was a great combo of pregnancy superfoods that kept me and my baby healthy.
This includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, peanuts, and edamame.
These tiny superfoods are great to include in your pregnancy diet because they are all great plant-based foods for protein sources, fiber, iron, folate, and calcium.
Lentils are a fantastic source of folate; just 1 cup contains your daily requirement. They are also rich in potassium, which helps to regulate your blood pressure. Lentils also contain Vitamin B, which can help combat migraines during pregnancy.
Chickpeas, known as garbanzo beans, are the main ingredient in hummus. Hummus makes an excellent dip for all veggies, creating a healthy and filling snack. Chickpeas are also great in a salad, or you can roast them with a bit of salt and olive oil for a crunchy, delicious snack.
Black beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and soybeans are great additions to your pregnancy diet. You can add them to salads, make a great chili, add them to soup, or even add them to pasta dishes. Canned beans are usually fine; check that the cans are BPA-free.
Canned beans that have low sodium are also essential to get. Make sure to rinse them before use; this can also remove some of the unnecessary sodium.
If you use dried beans, ensure to soak them overnight and then rinse them. This minimizes the presence of the carbohydrate oligosaccharide, which the body cannot easily digest. The oligosaccharides ferment in your large intestines while your probiotics (good bacteria) break them down. The bacteria create a lot of gas during this process, making you gassy.
Gas is a common symptom during pregnancy already due to hormones like progesterone, so if soaking the beans can prevent more, it’s worth it. But, I use canned to make it easier.
What to eat during pregnancy for the brain development of the baby
Eating for two doesn’t mean you have to eat twice as much, but you need to be choosier about the foods you consume. During pregnancy, you should aim to eat nutrient-dense foods that will promote healthy brain growth for your baby. Folic acid is an essential nutrient for brain development, so include plenty of leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fortified cereals in your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for proper brain function, so be sure to eat wild salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish a few times per week. And last but not least, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and functioning at its best. Coconut water is a great way to stay hydrated. It is packed with electrolytes and minerals, and it has a refreshing taste. By following these simple guidelines; you can ensure that you and your baby are getting the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnancy superfoods first trimester
Including all of these superfoods can help achieve a well-balanced and healthy pregnancy diet. Not only do superfoods provide many health benefits, they also can prevent stomach upset during early pregnancy. They are packed full of essential nutrients to help your baby grow and develop.
There are many more superfoods that you can include in your pregnancy diet. Check out this pregnancy superfood list.
Pregnancy Superfoods are also great for keeping your milk production up during breastfeeding and eating the right foods can help prevent baby gas. These superfoods ensure your body is nourished and can help get rid of your postpartum belly too!
FAQs for Eating During Pregnancy
1. What is the healthiest diet for a pregnant woman?
A pregnant woman’s diet should be focused on providing the nutrients her growing baby needs. The best way to do this is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats. Pregnant women should also limit their intake of sugar, salt, caffeine, and alcohol. By following these guidelines, a pregnant woman can ensure that she and her baby are getting all the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy.
2. What are 5 foods a pregnant woman should avoid?
When you’re pregnant, you might be surprised to find that some of your favorite foods are no longer on the menu. In fact, there are a few types of food that pregnant women should avoid in order to minimize the risk of neural tube defects, low birth weight, and other birth defects. Here are five foods to avoid during pregnancy:
- Raw meat: Uncooked meat can harbor harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
- Deli meat: Deli meats may also contain harmful bacteria, and they can also be high in sodium.
- Fish with mercury: Some fish contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to both you and your baby. Avoid fish such as swordfish, shark, and tilefish.
- Caffeine: Caffeine can cause dehydration and increase your risk of miscarriage. limit caffeine to 200 mg per day (about one 12-ounce cup of coffee).
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), a condition that can lead to birth defects and developmental problems. If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.
3. What should a pregnant woman eat daily?
A pregnant woman needs to consume a variety of nutrients every day to support her growing baby. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for fetal development and eye health. Additionally, sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, which can help to prevent constipation. Vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen and helps to boost the immune system. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all good sources of vitamin C.
Folic acid is a water soluble vitamin that is critical for preventing neural tube defects. Leafy green vegetables, legumes, and nuts are all good sources of folic acid. Lean meat is an excellent source of protein and iron. Iron is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Too little iron can lead to anemia. Brown rice is a whole grain that is high in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Pregnant women should aim to eat a variety of healthy foods every day to meet their nutrient needs.
Pregnancy is a time when it’s especially important to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Superfoods are a great way to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you and your baby need. Some great superfoods to eat during pregnancy include salmon, leafy greens, berries, and yogurt.
Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain development. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with vitamins and minerals, including folate, which is essential for the development of the neural tube. Berries are high in antioxidants, which can help protect against birth defects. And yogurt provides calcium and protein, both of which are important for fetal growth and development. So don’t forget to include these nutrient-rich superfoods in your diet during pregnancy!