If you remember my post on 15 great superfoods, you know I love superfoods. They keep our bodies healthy and happy. And there’s no more important time to keep your body healthy than during pregnancy. Our bodies are producing another human! You basically have a
parasite developing human attached to you for 10 months, and that little parasite human is depending 100% on you to feed it the food it needs for growth and development. And I, personally, want to give that human the best start to life. One of the best ways for me to do that is by eating healthy. I’m not saying you can’t have a treat every now and then. I’m just saying that eating healthy throughout your pregnancy is best for not only your baby, but for you as well.
My first trimester was rough. And I will admit that I did not eat how I should have. But once I started to feel better, around week 16, I kicked my eating into high gear. I make sure I get all of these pregnancy superfoods in my diet weekly.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a great way to get whole grains and fiber into your diet. Oats also contain vitamin B and iron, as well as other minerals. I like to make my own overnight oatmeal with a half banana, almond milk and a scoop of vanilla protein powder. So yummy! I also make homemade pancakes with oats, egg whites, a little vanilla and protein powder.
Spinach & other dark, leafy greens: Leafy greens are packed with folic acid, which is one of the most important minerals for baby’s brain, and can help prevent birth defects. Leafy greens are also a great source of vitamins C, K and A, which helps with baby’s heart, lung, kidney, circulatory system and more. Let’s just say it’s a very important vitamin for baby’s overall development.
Fish (specifically salmon): Salmon is one of the best foods for getting your Omega-3s. It is packed with them and can really boost your baby’s brain and eye development, as well as your mood. But let me be honest here. Salmon is not my favorite fish. I know, I’m from Seattle where salmon runs in the rivers and streams and Alaska Airlines flies the first Copper River salmon from Alaska directly into the city for us and I should love it like everyone else in this area does. But I just don’t. So I choose to eat other forms of fish, including shrimp and cod, to get my omega-3s and protein. It is recommended to eat no more than 12 ounces of fish per week during pregnancy.
Greek Yogurt: This is my go to breakfast, even when I’m not pregnant. It’s a great source of calcium and has twice the protein of regular yogurt. Calcium is very important during pregnancy because if you aren’t taking enough in, what you do take in will go to baby, weakening your own bones.
Colorful fruits & veggies: My favorites include carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, blueberries and apples, and for some reason I’ve actually started to like cherry tomatoes (I am not normally a tomato fan). Eating brightly colored fruits and veggies ensures baby is getting a variety of vitamins and minerals. This is also important because after 22 weeks, baby is able to actually taste what you eat through the amniotic fluid, and will likely be more willing to eat these foods when it’s time for solids.
Beans: I love beans. And not the refried kind. I’m talking black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans. All those beans are great sources of protein, calcium and fiber, and fiber can become your best friend during pregnancy since constipation can be a problem for some women.
Eggs: Not only do you get a good protein boost from just 1 egg, but eggs are packed with Omega-3s, which I mentioned above are great for baby’s brain and vision development. When I was having meat aversions, eggs were my go to source of protein. They are a diverse food that you can cook in so many ways (I like to hard boil them, make scrambles or omelets, and just have an egg on a slice of sprouted grain toast). Eggs also contain choline, which helps prevent neural tube defects.
Lean protein: Although I still struggle with meat a bit, chicken seems to be the one lean protein I can still eat, as long as it’s not a stand alone chicken breast. Along with fish, chicken is my go to for a good protein boost in the evenings.
Nuts & nut butters: A 1/4 cup of unsalted mixed nuts, some dried blueberries and dark chocolate chunks is one of my favorite snacks. Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, iron and protein, all of which are important for baby’s development.
Do you see any cheeseburgers, or doughnuts or ice cream on this list? No, you don’t. Because just like when you’re not pregnant, they aren’t good for you during pregnancy. Some women use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever they want, without taking their baby’s health into consideration. Like I said at the beginning of this post, having treats every now and then is fine. Eat that slice of pizza, have a scoop of ice cream. By all means don’t deprive yourself, as long as your entire diet doesn’t consist of fast food and sweets. That’s a great way to develop gestational diabetes and cause harm not only to baby, but to yourself.
A diverse diet rich in vitamins, minerals and protein will give your baby the best start at a healthy life.