Written by Liza John
Picking a diet plan to battle your cravings, fill your tummy and at the same time nourish your baby can be a confusing, seemingly impossible task.
Through the rest of this article, we will be running you through the top 10 superfoods for pregnant women in order to help you get rid of some confusion and thus simplify your quest for the perfect pregnancy diet.
In general, during your pregnancy you’ll need to focus on whole foods that provide you with ample amounts of the following:
- Healthy fats
- Vitamin D, Folic acid
- Iron, Calcium
Here are the top 10 superfoods to add to your pregnancy diet. If used correctly these superfoods can be the MVPs in your pregnancy diet.
- Lean Meat
This superstar right here would be able to take care of your protein requirements, while at the same time providing you with ample amounts of iron.
Anaemia in pregnant women is a common issue as blood tends to thin out during pregnancy. Iron is vital in the development of red blood cell supply in your baby’s body and supports your supply. Lean beef or pork or chicken are superb options to add to your diet.
2. Whole Grains
Packed with fibre, vitamins and carbohydrates whole grains are a set of versatile foods to add to your diet. Next time you want a filling bowl of carbs think quinoa, brown rice, or barley instead of your staple boring white rice or pasta.
3. Dried Fruit
Next time you feel your blood sugar levels dropping or have a sweet tooth go for these natural candy alternatives. Apart from satiating your cravings, dried fruits like figs, dates, prunes or apricots are full of antioxidants, fibre, iron, calcium and magnesium.
However, more often than not dried fruit contain added sugars so make sure to read the label and buy the ones without added sugar.
Calcium is an essential nutrient for the development of bones in your baby’s body and also helps in maintaining good nerve and muscle function. Yoghurt contains as much calcium as milk while additionally acting as a probiotic. Additionally, it also has high amounts of B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
5. Fatty Fish
A good source of protein, rich in omega-3 and tons of other nutrients; it is no wonder why the American Heart Association has been recommending that people eat fish rich in unsaturated fats at least twice a week. Salmon, Cod, Herring and Sardine are generally considered to be good omega-3 rich fish options.
Avoid fish that may contain higher amounts of mercury or other contaminants. As a rule of thumb, stay away from Shark, King Mackerel, Tilefish, Swordfish and try to consume not more than 12 ounces of seafood a week.
6. Leafy Greens
Boring, bland and just bleh, right? Wrong! Loaded with vitamins, iron, calcium, folate and fibre, greens have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight. Leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, boosting immunity, aiding digestion, improving heart health, detoxifying your body, the list goes on and on.
If you don’t enjoy eating them or if you are done eating salads, there are plenty of ways to sneak them into your diet. For instance, you can start by adding a cup of spinach to your smoothies or add small amounts of greens into your lentil soup or a stir-fry.
These tasty bounties from nature need no introduction. Hungry? Grab an apple or a banana or a bowl of watermelon. Refreshing, tasty, filling and laden with nutrients.
8. Nuts And Nut Butters
Nuts or nut butters are the perfect on the go snacks. They are great sources of protein, vitamins, iron, magnesium and fibre. Just slather a spoonful of nut butters on a slice of toast or add nuts to a glass of smoothie or bowl of oatmeal for extra crunch.
Pregnant women often develop an aversion towards meat, eggs are an excellent alternative source of protein and contain a number of essential amino acids. Go get that sunny side up or french omelette or just poach it.
If you happen to be a pregnant vegan struggling to meet daily protein requirements, legumes are your new best friends. Apart from being one of the best sources of plant-based protein, they are also filled with fibre and other essential nutrients. While they may carry certain anti-nutrients, methods like soaking, sprouting and boiling them will help reduce the levels of these compounds.
During pregnancy do not forget to stay hydrated, fruits and veggies will help to a great extent, but nothing can beat a glass of water. There is a plethora of healthy and tasty options to fill your tummy and nourish your baby at the same time. A well-planned diet goes a long way but be sure to let your doctor in on your diet plan so that they can recommend you any supplements if necessary.
Happy eating and happy pregnancy!