Eating for two can sound exciting, then scary, then confusing and then downright impossible. We know it can be overwhelming trying to navigate all the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy nutrition, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes down to it, all you have to do is eat foods rich in vitamins and nutrients to keep both you and your baby healthy. Here is a list of eleven pregnancy-approved foods that will keep both mommy and baby healthy during these nine months.
Legumes, such as soybeans, edamame, chickpeas and cooked lentils, are high in protein to help mothers-to-be increase their daily protein intake. It is especially important for expecting mothers to eat enough protein during the second and third trimesters because proteins are responsible for building the cells in a baby’s body, and the baby grows and develops the fastest during the last two trimesters. Additionally, legumes have a high concentration of fiber, which can help fight constipation and hemorrhoids.
Like legumes, lean meat, such as lean beef, chicken, turkey or lamb, is another rich source of protein and should be incorporated into an expectant mother’s diet to make sure both mommy and baby meet their protein intake from a variety of foods. Additionally, lean meats have a high concentration of iron, which helps carry oxygen to the baby and the mother’s muscles to relieve symptoms of weakness, soreness and fatigue.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Broccoli and other dark, leafy greens, like spinach and kale, are rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Filling up on greens provide you and your baby’s body with magnesium and folate, which are both essential to your baby’s growth and development. Vegetables, specifically, have proven to have a positive effect on the baby’s weight and can protect against cell damage.
Include sweet potatoes in your diet during pregnancy because this superfood is packed with vitamin A, which helps the development of the baby’s eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys and bones. It also contributes to the healing that takes place during postpartum tissue repair. Additionally, sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C to help with the absorption of iron and the development of your baby, potassium, which is critical for breastfeeding women, and vitamin B6 to fight morning sickness and increase the formation of red blood cells during pregnancy.
Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids cannot be produced within the human body, but they can improve the antioxidant defenses in both the baby and the mother’s body and contribute to the healthy development of the baby’s brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to lower the risk of heart disease and arthritis.
Bananas are packed with vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber and potassium and may help with the nausea many women experience in the early stages of pregnancy. The yellow fruits are also a rich source of folic acid, which is needed in the baby’s nerve, brain and spinal development.
Whole grains are rich in vital nutrients that are necessary for the growth of your baby. These include nutrients such as iron and magnesium, as well as vitamins like B1, B2 and folic acid. Whole grains can be found in a wide array of carbohydrate-rich products like wheat, oats, rice and barley.
Nuts are not only a vital source of lean protein, but they also contain essential fats to help with your baby’s cell development and prevent birth defects. Additionally, nuts are also rich in vitamin B and E and contain other essential nutrients such as potassium and phosphorous. Be sure to incorporate nuts, such as peanuts, almonds, cashews and walnuts, into your diet during pregnancy.
Avocados contain a wide array of health benefits and can help avoid unwanted pregnancy symptoms. Like whole grains, avocados are an excellent source of folic acid, which is essential to the overall development of the fetus. Avocados also contain key vitamins such as B1 and B2. These vitamins aid in baby development, while also combating daily nausea, unwanted weight gain, high cholesterol and digestion issues.
Fruit is an important source of energy and necessary for all pregnant women to keep in their diet. Dried fruit, like dried apples, dried apricots, dried dates and dried peaches, offer key nutrients and quick energy to help rejuvenate tired muscles during pregnancy. Additionally, dried fruit is rich in fiber for an easily digestible snack that keeps the bowels moving and eases constipation.
Greek yogurt offers some of the most exceptional health benefits when compared to other dairy products. It has twice the protein of regular yogurt, while also offering vital probiotics to the pregnant mother as well as the baby. Additionally, incorporating Greek yogurt into your diet supports bone strength for mommy during pregnancy and the baby upon birth.
So there you have it. Maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy is important to keep mommy healthy during these nine months, to ensure a smooth and healthy childbirth process and to give your baby the gift of a happy and healthy life. Of course, exercising and keeping your body in good shape doesn't hurt either. Eating well during pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard––just fill your diet with these baby and mommy-approved foods!
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