Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Now you need to start eating like it!
But knowing what to eat when pregnant doesn’t have to be complicated. And there are a ton of wonderful sources to read about eating right during pregnancy, but you sometimes just wanna keep things simple, right?
For starters, it’s wise to consume an extra 300 calories a day to supplement the growing needs of the little tyke inside you. Hence, why you’re constantly reminded by family, friends and doctors that you’re eating for two now! So, here are the 6 best things to eat to keep you and your baby healthy.
1. Your “what to eat when pregnant” list needs to include whole grains
You should eat whole grains at all points of your life but they become even more necessary when trying to figure out what to eat when pregnant. Whole grains are very high in fiber and they contain good amounts of iron and zinc. Fiber helps reduce occurrences of high blood pressure and constipation. Also, according to Everyday Family, The American Journal of Hypertension found that pregnant women who consumed 21.1 grams or more fiber daily reduced their risk of preeclampsia by over 70%.
2. Dark, leafy greens for folic acid and iron
Skip the iceberg lettuce for dark, leafy veggies likes spinach and kale. Bottom line, the darker the green, the healthier team…meaning you and your baby! Dark, leafy greens contain high amounts of folate (the natural equivalent to folic acid) and iron. Folate helps the baby’s brain and spinal cord develop correctly. In fact, if pregnant women consume the correct amount of folate daily, the likelihood of serious fetal abnormalities could be reduced by 70%.
3. Maintain a steady weight with nuts and lentils
Protein is one of the most necessary nutrients during pregnancy. It’s needed to regulate the baby’s growth, keep the mother at a healthy weight for childbirth and prevent a low birth weight. Luckily, because it’s found in so many different foods, finding protein won’t be a chore when trying to figure out what to eat when pregnant. Aside from most lean meats, nuts and lentils are one of the best sources of protein. When cooked, lentils can serve as a part of healthy dinner and nuts can make for an easy midday snack.
4. Salmon, herring and trout for brain development
Unless you’re on a vegan diet, a pregnancy without any type of seafood sounds like a slow car crash! Luckily, there are several types of fish you can safely consume during pregnancy, some that are highly recommended. According to the Mayo Clinic, salmon, herring, and trout are all recommended fish during pregnancy because they are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, necessary for a fetal’ brain development. But not all seafood is welcomed during pregnancy. Dishes containing king mackerel, shark, and swordfish should be avoided because of their high levels of mercury.
5. Calm your morning sickness with oatmeal
When figuring out what to eat when pregnant, it may feel like you can’t keep any food down during the first trimester, thanks to morning sickness. But there’s one welcomed food that could not only calm the tummy but keep you full for several hours. Oatmeal is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which helps regulate the digestive system and boosts growth in bones for your baby.
6. Pasteurized juice and pasteurized dairy products are full of calcium and vitamin C goodness
Unless your juices and milk are straight from freshly washed/ squeezed oranges and cows, it’s recommended you avoid unpasteurized juice and milk when making your list of what to eat when pregnant. These products could contain bacteria like salmonella which could create a breeding ground of serious health problems for your and baby. Stick to pasteurized juices, milk and other dairy products. Not only are they high in nearly every vital nutrient you can think of, especially calcium and vitamin C, but they promote bone, muscle and nerve development for mother and child. Plus they taste delightful!