When you’re pregnant, it’s normal to expect a lot of cravings, and naturally, you’ll want to satisfy them in a healthy way. Midnight snacks might become part of your new routine, but it’s nice to know which snacks are packed full of nutrients. So here’s a handy list of some of the best foods to eat in your first trimester of pregnancy and beyond — perfect to curb your snack cravings while stocking up on what your body needs, too!
This article compiles a list of some of the best foods to eat during pregnancy. While everything may not be to your taste, there are a few that can help curb sugar cravings or be snuck into a meal almost undetected — just think about those precious nutrients!
This list should give you a good place to start when planning out your pregnancy diet and some ideas for incorporating the foods into your main meals. Bon Appétit from Little Seeds!
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent food for pregnancy because they contain beta carotene, which turns into vitamin A and promotes healthy foetal growth for your baby. These handy spuds are also full of fibre and other nutrients, including Vitamin B6, which helps with nausea. Who knew that eating sweet potatoes could be so helpful with pregnancy morning sickness!
The legume family includes foods like beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas. They are a great source of fibre, which can help relieve pregnancy symptoms like constipation and aid digestion. Legumes are also full of folate, the natural version of folic acid. Folate and folic acid are essential during pregnancy and can encourage your baby’s overall health, making legume-based meals and snacks a great feature of your pregnancy diet.
How to eat them: Why not find a simple recipe for lentil dahl or a hearty Italian bean casserole? Meals such as these include bags of legumes without being a hassle to make — an ideal pregnancy diet recipe!
3. Leafy Greens
No pregnancy diet is complete without a healthy dose of dark leafy greens. Greens are very easy to sneak into pretty much anything you are cooking, and they are jam-packed full of vitamins. Kale and spinach are two common ones that can be added to most meals on your pregnancy diet. They are also rich in fibre, which will help with constipation. And they are another great source of folate, which promotes healthy growth for the baby.
How to eat them: Kale, spinach and chard can be sautéed down and added to side-dishes — perhaps mashed or within a mixed salad — or blended into a smoothie if the flavour isn’t for you. This makes their taste almost undetectable.
Often referred to as a “superfood,” this fruit is packed with everything you need in a pregnancy diet. They are full of vitamin C, potassium and essential folate. Your baby will benefit from the multitude of healthy fats in avocados, too, which helps with skin, brain and tissue growth.
How to eat them: Of course, smashed avocado is a classic, but they can also add a creamy element to meals. They go great in a smoothie, or perhaps try making an ultra-healthy guacamole.
5. Dairy Products
As we learned as kids, milk and other dairy products are an excellent source of calcium to grow your bones big and strong. So, it should come as no surprise that your baby will benefit from a pregnancy diet that incorporates lots of dairy products. Dairy products contain protein, which is also important for your baby’s growth. While milk and cheese usually come to mind, yoghurt is another great food to eat when pregnant. It also contains probiotics and promotes digestive health, to boot!
How to eat them: Yoghurt can be added to smoothies or enjoyed with nutrient-rich fruits to add to the list of pregnancy snacks. Just make sure it is pasteurised!
People will tell you to avoid eggs while pregnant, but they are an excellent source of protein and very versatile to eat in a rush. The thing with eggs is to avoid a runny yolk or undercooked egg. Fully cooked eggs are perfectly fine and are good for you and your baby. Eggs are also a very cheap way to include protein in your pregnancy diet. All British eggs with the red lion can be eaten with a low risk of salmonella.
How to eat them: Try adding a well-cooked egg into a curry, a salad or even as a hunger-busting snack in itself!
Another protein option for you and baby is salmon. Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a great addition to any diet. Salmon is also a natural source of vitamin D, which is incredibly important during pregnancy for immune function.
How to eat them: One of the healthiest ways to eat salmon is to foil-bake it. Simply wrap the salmon in tin foil, add lemon or any spices or herbs of your choice (or even try a teriyaki sauce here) and close the foil wrapping. Add under a hot grill until cooked through. Pairing salmon with sautéed vegetables is a great way to get a meal full of the nutrients your baby needs.
Berries come in an array of shapes and sizes, and they are important because they have antioxidants. They also have vitamin C and fibre, which are good for pregnancy and side effects. Berries are also an excellent snack to curb a sugar craving.
How to eat them: You can easily get your berry fix by blending them into smoothies (buy packs of frozen berries for ease) or be eaten mixed with yoghurt to get maximum nutrients out of snack time for you and baby.
Once your baby is born, your next big focus will be on sleep. Why not prepare for your next arrival with an organic cotton swaddling blanket? Little Seeds’ easy-to-use swaddles are ideal for creating a safe and comforting sleeping environment for babies — one that encourages deep sleep. This will allow both you and your baby to replenish and grow.