You must have heard of some food you should eat during pregnancy. I mean, who wouldn’t want a healthy pregnancy and a healthy-looking baby? It is the wish of every pregnant woman to have a healthy pregnancy, easy and quick labour. Eating nutritious foods while pregnant is very important for your health and the health of your unborn baby.
When it comes to the best foods to eat when pregnant, try to go for foods that are loaded with plenty of nutrients in just a few bites and not food packed with empty calories. This will help you and your baby get the vitamins and minerals that you both need, (although it is not a bad idea to treat yourself with some ice cream or cookies from time to time).
Stuck your kitchen and freezers with this healthy food to give you a healthy pregnancy and also give your baby the best start in life.
When building your healthy eating plan during pregnancy, you will need to focus on healthy food that will give you higher amounts of the good stuff you will need to make a healthy pregnancy like:
- Vitamins And Minerals
- Healthy Types Of Fat
- Complex Carbohydrates
- Fiber And Fluids
Keeping track of your nutritional needs during pregnancy is a big job, but picking the right foods can help you cover more of your bases along with taking a prenatal vitamin, of course. So make an effort to keep these pregnancy superfoods on hand and make them the mainstays of your daily diet.
Speaking of nutrients, while all are important right now, the best foods for pregnancy are high in vitamins and minerals that play a key role in supporting your baby’s growth and development, include:
- Folate. Getting at least 600 micrograms per day during pregnancy reduces the risk for neural tube defects.
- Iron. You need nearly twice as much iron during pregnancy, or 27 milligrams daily. The mineral is used to make more blood that carries oxygen to your baby.
- Calcium. Aim for 1,000 milligrams daily. Calcium is key to helping your baby build strong bones, teeth, muscles and nerves.
- Vitamin D. It helps calcium do its job and keeps your immune system strong. You should get 600 IU daily.
- DHA. An omega-3 fatty acid, DHA plays a role in your baby’s brain and eye development. You need 200 to 300 milligrams per day.
- Iodine. The mineral promotes your baby’s brain and nervous system development. You should get 290 micrograms daily.
- Choline. Aim to get 450 milligrams of this vital nutrient each day to help prevent neural tube problems and support your baby’s cognitive development.
Here are 13 super healthy food you should eat during pregnancy to help make sure you are hitting those nutrient goals your body needs for a healthy pregnancy.
Food You Should Eat During Pregnancy
1. Sweet Potatoes:
A single sweet potato serves up more than 400 percent of the vitamin A that you need in a day. That’s especially important during your first trimester when your baby’s cells are dividing at rapid speed to become different organs and body parts. Sweet potatoes is a healthy food because it is rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is important for a baby’s development. It is also a great source of fiber. Fiber keeps you full longer, reduces blood sugar spikes, and improves digestive health which can really help if that pregnancy constipation happens. Sweet potatoes also contribute to a healthy pregnancy.
2. Dairy products:
During pregnancy, It is important for you to consume extra protein and calcium to meet up with what your growing baby needs. Dairy products also provide you with high amounts of B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are very important during pregnancy because they contain two types of high-quality protein which are casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium, and it provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc which is what makes it healthy food that gives a healthy pregnancy.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, contains more calcium than any other dairy products and is especially beneficial. Some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support the digestive system and also help treat diarrhea in pregnancy..
If you know that you are lactose intolerant, you may also be able to tolerate yogurt, especially probiotic yogurt. Consult with your doctor to see if you can test it out. Yogurt smoothies, parfaits, and lassi are some ways to enjoy your dietary.
3. Lean Meat:
Lean meat is a healthy food you should eat during pregnancy. Lean beef, pork, and chicken are great sources of high-quality protein. The amino acids found in protein are the building blocks of every cell in your body and that of your unborn baby. Foods that are high in protein keep your hunger at bay by stabilizing your blood sugar, which is why you should aim for at least three servings which is about 75 grams of protein daily.
Lean meat is not just loaded with protein, it is also high in iron which important to help you and your baby develop it’s red blood cell supply and support. Anemia is common during pregnancy because blood volume increases when you are pregnant, especially during the third trimester. When your iron level is low, it may cause iron deficiency anemia, which increases the risk of low birth weight and other complications.
Iron also plays a major role in a baby’s brain development. Lean meat is important for a healthy pregnancy.
Other sources of lean protein are goat meat, chicken, lean beef, turkey etc.
During pregnancy, you and your baby need legumes because it is a portion of healthy food to consume. A legume is a group of food that includes beans, soybeans, peas(Cowpeas (black-eyed peas), pigeon pea), lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, Bambara nut (okpa), and African yam bean.
Legumes are plant based with high sources of fiber, calcium, iron, folate, and protein, all of which your body needs for a healthy pregnancy.
Folate is one of the most essential B vitamins (B9) sources. On a daily basis, your body needs at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate, and it can be a challenge to achieve with foods alone. But adding in legumes can help you get to the required quantity together with supplements recommended by your doctor.
Legumes are also high in fiber. Some varieties are also high in iron, magnesium, and potassium. Common ways to consume legumes are:
- Akara with akamu/ogi
- Moi-moi with akamu
- Porridge beans with plantain or yam
- Beans with rice
- Bambara nut pudding (Okpa)
- Moi moi with sipping garri
- Beans and bread
5. Sea Food:
Salmon is a cold water fish thai is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have a lot of benefits. Salmon (fatty fish ) is one of the best and most healthy food you should eat during pregnancy.
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in seafood, and it helps to build the brain and eyes of your baby and can even help increase gestational length.
But wait: Have you been told to limit your seafood intake because of the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish? Well, the good news is that you can still eat fatty fish like salmon.
Here are the fish that are high in mercury to avoid:
- king mackerel
- bigeye tuna
- tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
salmon is one of the very few natural sources of vitamin D, which is lacking in most of us. It’s important for bone health and immune function.
Seafoods help metabolize fat-soluble vitamins like A and E, they also help reduce the risk of prenatal and postpartum depression and they are essential for your baby’s developing eyes and brain (both the brain and retina are primarily composed of DHA).
Salmon, is also a good source of iodine and vitamin D and is good for a healthy pregnancy. Examples of safe fish to eat during pregnancy include:
- Shrimp (crayfish)
Avocados are deliciously healthy food because they contain monounsaturated fatty acids that help your body absorb many of the vitamins found in fruits and veggies. They have a rich buttery taste and are perfect for creaminess to a dish or salad dressing.
Avocadoes are high in fiber, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Because of their high content of healthy fats, folate, and potassium, avocados are an excellent choice for a healthy pregnancy.
The healthy fats in avocados help build the skin, brain, and tissues of your little one, and folate may help prevent neural tube defects, developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine such as spina bifida.
avocados contain more potassium than bananas which help relieve leg cramps, during pregnancy. It can be used with bread, salad cream, smoothies etc.
eggs are the ultimate healthy food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. One egg contains about 80 calories, 147 milligrams (mg) of choline high-quality protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient for a healthy pregnancy. It’s important in baby’s brain development and helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.
Vegetables are great and healthy to eat for a healthy pregnancy. Even if you don’t love eating them, they can often be merged into all kinds of dishes. Benefits include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium.
Adding in servings of green veggies is an efficient way to pack in vitamins and fend off constipation due to all that fiber. Vegetables have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weight.
Read Also: Exercise For Pregnant Women
9. Whole Grains:
Whole grains are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds. Go for oats, wheats, brown rice, wheat berries, and barley instead of white bread, pasta, and white rice.
Some whole grains, like oats and fonio, millet, quinoa, and sorghum, also contain a fair amount of protein. They are high in fiber, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B which makes them healthy food.
Berries are loaded with vitamin C, healthy carbs, fiber, and antioxidants. Berries are healthy fruits and a great snack, as they contain both water and fiber. They provide a lot of flavor and nutrition, with low calories.
Some of the best berries to eat while pregnant are blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, and acai berries.
11. Dried Fruit:
Dried fruit is high in calories, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. One piece of dried fruit contains the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, just without all the water and in a much smaller form.
One serving of dried fruit can provide a large percentage of the recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, and potassium.
Prunes are rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin K. They’re natural laxatives and may be very helpful in relieving constipation. Dates are high in fiber, potassium, iron, and plant compounds.
Dried fruit also contains high amounts of natural sugar, so it is not advised to consume more than one serving at a time.
Every living thing or person has to stay hydrated, especially pregnant women. Water is the most important and healthy thing you can take for a healthy pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body will channel water to your baby, but if you don’t watch your water intake, you may become dehydrated.
Increasing your water intake may also help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.
General guidelines recommend that pregnant women drink about 2.3 liters of water daily.
Other Food You Should Eat During Pregnancy Are:
15. Red bell peppers
19. Cassava (fufu, garri)
21. Garden eggs (African eggplant)
23. Soups: Examples of soups to enjoy during pregnancy are:
Ogbonno (draw) soup
Egusi (oil melon) soup
Bitter leaf soup
It is important to be healthy, especially during pregnancy. Having a healthy pregnancy is only possible when you eat healthy food, exercise and rest. It is important to always ask your doctor before starting any diet plan. Food you should eat during pregnancy is not difficult to find, you can get them from any nearby house market.