Photo by Louise Buma
During pregnancy, everyone is probably telling you, “you’re eating for two now!” If you find yourself hungry all the time, you want to be sure you’re filling yours and your baby’s tummy with good things — not simply satiating your junk-food cravings and late-night hunger. By your second trimester you should be consuming 300 extra calories each day. But what are the best foods to eat when pregnant?
Here are some ideas of what to keep on hand in your pantry and fridge throughout your pregnancy. These super-healthy superfoods will keep you energetic and healthy while your baby grows and develops.
Inexpensive and easy to add to many different dishes, beans can become your best friend. Before pregnancy you may have avoided eating meat for every meal, but you’ll quickly learn your body needs the extra protein. Navy, pinto, black, and garbanzo beans (not to mention lentils) can be added to just about any salad, stir fry, soup, or pasta dish to add extra fiber, protein, iron, folate, calcium, and zinc.
Blueberries are delicious and available year round in any grocery’s frozen food section. In fact, even while in season, freezing blueberries does not decrease their vitamin content and will ensure they don’t go bad before you can eat them all. Add blueberries to your morning cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt. They provide healthy carbohydrates and are rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber, and phytonutriets – ‘plant’ or naturally occurring nutrients.
One egg contains about 90 calories and contains more than 12 vitamins and minerals, not to mention their richness in protein. And don’t get rid of the yolks – though they have a reputation for being high in cholesterol, they also contain vitamin D!
Another super-versatile super-food, sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and fiber. They can be prepared in many different ways: eat them baked as a healthy french fry alternative, eat them mashed with a little brown sugar, or blend them into an autumn soup. See? Superfoods can be delicious!
Plain Greek Yogurt
Versatile and delicious, Greek yogurt is also high in protein, calcium, vitamin B, and Zinc. Add non-fat Greek yogurt to just about everything. Substitute it for sour cream in many dishes, such as soups, casseroles, sauces, or tacos. Or, add to your cereal in the morning instead of milk.
Kale, spinach, and swiss chard are all great sources of vitamin B, which can help prevent birth defects as well as vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and iron. If you don’t eat salads regularly, try blending a handful of leafy greens into a smoothie. With enough delicious frozen fruit mixed in, you won’t even be able to taste the healthy greens.
When you’re pregnant, you want to get plenty of iron and protein. Look for beef that is 95% fat free or higher. Sirloin steak can also be a good choice, as it is high in protein, zinc and iron.
Even if you’re not pregnant – keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with these superfoods will guarantee a healthy, nutritious meal is always close at hand.
Check out our post on other ways to stay healthy while pregnant!