Pregnancy brings with it a bundle of joy—and responsibilities. You must take extra pains to ensure you eat right. However, that does not necessarily mean eating for two as you may want to believe.
What is important is to eat foods that provide you with enough of the essential nutrients you will need during pregnancy.
1. Fortified Breakfast Cereal
Do you know that it is not only during the first weeks of pregnancy that you need greater intake of Vitamin B, but throughout your whole pregnancy term?
The daily recommended intake of Vitamin B for pregnant women is 400 micrograms, which is significantly higher than for non-pregnant women.
Fortified foods or vitamin supplements can help you meet your daily requirement of Vitamin B. Half a bowl of cereal can provide you with almost 200 micrograms, and one full bowl daily is sufficient for getting the recommended Vitamin B dosage. You may also want to include foliate-rich foods like black-eyed peas and asparagus in your daily diet.
Broccoli is not only rich in foliate and calcium, but it also a good source of disease-fighting antioxidants. Not only this, it also contains fiber and Vitamin C in high amounts.
Increased fiber intake during pregnancy helps keep your digestive system healthy and fit while greater Vitamin C intake ensures that iron consumed through different foods, like brown rice and whole pasta, is absorbed efficiently by your body.
3. Lentils & Dried Beans
Pregnant women also need to eat more protein than non-pregnant women, approximately 10 grams more. Experts recommend 60 grams of protein daily.
A good part of your daily recommended intake of protein can be had from lentils and beans, both of which are a great and inexpensive source of protein.
But protein is not the only thing these two foods are rich in; for example, they are also high in fiber which helps keep constipation at bay.
Aim for a cup of lentils and beans a day. One cup provides you about 15 grams of protein and lots of fiber. Apart from this, you also get 50 percent of your daily recommended intake of foliate through this one cup.
Need we say more why you should eat lentils and dried beans?
4. Non-fat Milk
When you are pregnant, your body naturally absorbs more calcium, about two times more, from foods. That is why you do not really need calcium supplements while you are pregnant as your diet can provide you with enough calcium.
The problem however, is that most us do not eat enough calcium-rich food to begin with.
Precisely for this reason, you should consider consuming more non-fat milk. One 8-ounce glass of non-fat milk gives you about 30 percent (1000 milligrams) of your recommended dietary intake of calcium!.
Two biggest benefits of bananas during pregnancy are that they help you wade off pregnancy fatigue by providing you instant energy and that they are easy on the stomach when you are feeling nauseated.
There are many ways to eat a banana or two daily. You can have them as they are or create a breakfast smoothie with them (mix with yogurt, a dash of orange juice, and berries). You can also add them to your bowl of breakfast cereal if you prefer.
6. Lean Meat
Iron is another substance you need in higher amounts during pregnancy. In comparison to non-pregnant women, expecting mothers need to consume twice as much iron.
Consuming less than the recommended daily intake of iron can make you feel more tired, which in turn can affect your mood as well. That is why it is recommended to include more iron-rich foods in your diet. One such food is lean meat, which besides being a great source of protein, is also extremely rich in iron.
Some pregnant women develop an aversion to meat. If you experience this as well, eggs are a great alternative option.
Eggs provide us with all the essential amino acids. While eating eggs, ensure you also take in the yolk. The yolk contains choline, an essential nutrient needed by the body for normal cell function.
An omelet with a healthy amount of cheese and chopped vegetables makes for a real quick and tasty breakfast or dinner. On the other hand, keeping a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator ensures a healthy snack is just an arm’s length away when you are in a hurry. You can eat them whole or slice them and have them with your salads.
During pregnancy, soft cheese is off-limits. You should instead, fill the plate with other varieties like mozzarella and cheddar to meet your daily requirement of cheese. One ounce of cheese offers you as much as 150 to 200 milligrams of calcium. Also, cheese is rich in protein as well.
9. Leafy Food
Leafy greens are good for everybody, but especially so for expecting moms who need to up their intake of iron and foliate, both of which are present in high amounts in green vegetables such as spinach. Turnip greens and kale on the other hand are extremely rich in calcium.
There are many different ways in which you can have more of your green vegetables daily, like adding them to your sandwiches or salads, having a bowl of green vegetable soup, and even making tasty smoothies with them!
Give your day an energizing start by eating a bowl of oatmeal instead of muffin or bagel. Oatmeal provides you with lots of complex carbohydrates, which keeps you full for a longer period of time and so preventing you from reaching out for sugar-rich foods soon after a non-filling breakfast.
The other advantage is that the oat bran can help keep your cholesterol levels in check. It is best to stay away from flavored oatmeal as it is rich in sugar. Instead, use plain oatmeal, and if you want to sweeten it, just add a bit of maple syrup or honey.