For pregnant woman, it is especially important to make sure your body is receiving a balanced diet. It may seem like there are quite a few restrictions on what foods you have to avoid, but it is in the best interest for your body to be as healthy as possible. Luckily, you do not have to sacrifice taste for delicious food. Here are some healthy substitutes that will help satisfy all your cravings.
Plain low-fat yogurt or plain Greek yogurt are both solid choices. The difference between these nutrient-rich snacks is that Greek has twice the amount of protein than plain yogurt, but less calcium. Both yogurts contain some of the necessary minerals and vitamins your body needs on a daily basis. One of the major benefits of yogurt in general is the probiotics that is naturally one of the ingredients and will aid in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Add fresh or dried fruit as a natural sweetener.
There are endless choices when it comes to choosing fruit and each subgroup has its own benefits. Berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are known to contain antioxidants, which aid in the prevention of diseases like cancer. Stone fruits like plums and apricots are known to have high levels of vitamin C, that helps create collagen, the main protein in creating connective tissue. Pregnant women should be careful with how much vitamin C they take in per day, since too much can be harmful to a baby’s development.
3. Sweet potatoes
This vegetable is packed with vitamin A, folate, and fiber, three nutrients that are essential for the health of you and your baby. Vitamin A is essential during pregnancy, because it helps with postpartum tissue repair and aids in maintaining normal vision and warding off infections. Add a little bit of cinamon, sugar and butter to dress up your potato.
4. Dark green leafy vegetables
Vegetables like chard, kale and spinach are good to include in your diet because they have high levels of vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate. Folate is important during pregnancy because it helps prevent birth defects in the baby’s spine and brain. Create a salad with your favorite dressing for a delicious and nutritious snack.
Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 from a plant source. These nutrient-rich nuts are loaded with calcium, potassium, vitamin B, fiber and magnesium and can help prevent pregnancy-related hypertension, post-partum depression, low birth weight, and protection for your blood vessels.
6. Lean meats
Meat is a great source of protein that will provide a pregnant woman with the amino acids that are important building blocks for you and your baby’s cells. Getting enough protein throughout your pregnancy is important, but especially during the second and third trimester, when you baby is growing more rapidly. When at the store look for meats that have most of the fat removed, like lean turkey or chicken, and are 95 to 98 percent fat free and avoid lunch meats or hot dogs that have a higher risk of carrying bacteria.
7. Whole grains
Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and even popcorn are whole grains that are important in pregnancy since they’re packed with nutrients and fiber, including vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients, plant compounds that are known to protect cells. Each these as much as you want to stay full, fit, and healthy for your baby.
Beans are important for pregnancy because they are packed with fiber and protein. You may already realize the necessity of protein during pregnancy, but fiber also plays an important role as well in preventing constipation and hemorrhoids. Navy beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas are all options that you can mix into a salad or eat plain with some added spices.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com