So, you’re pregnant. You’re having a lot of cravings, and you want to satisfy them in a healthy way of course. Those midnight snacks are calling your name. However, since you are of course eating for 2, you want those snacks to be full of nutrients. Everyone will tell you something different when it comes to what’s best for you and baby. This list is compiled of foods to eat for the best nutrients and to curb your snack cravings.
Treating yourself to a snack just for you is absolutely fine to do. We can’t be health all of the time, even with baby in tow. Using a guideline to stay on track with nutrients is important so you can have those snacks when you want to. The best thing to do is to figure out what foods will give you what nutrients, and how to combine them in order to make meals rich in things that will benefit you and baby.
This article compiles a list of some of the essential items that can be eaten during pregnancy. While they may not all seem like fun, there are a few that can help curb a sugar craving, or be snuck into a meal almost undetected if you’re not crazy about it. This list should give you a good place to start when planning out your pregnancy diet, and some ideas for how to incorporate the foods in.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are excellent for pregnancy because they contain beta carotene
, which turns into vitamin A and promotes healthy fetal growth for baby. As well, they are full of fibre and other nutrients. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of Vitamin B6, which helps with nausea. This makes them very helpful when it comes to morning sickness during pregnancy. Sweet potatoes make a great side dish addition to any meal, or can be made into a savoury soup.
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 is good for digestion. Legumes are also full of folate
, the natural version of folic acid. Folate and folic acid are essential during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects. Legumes are an important part of a pregnancy diet.
3. 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 commons ones that can be added to most meals on your pregnancy diet. They are also rich in fibre, which will help with that constipation we discussed earlier. They will also add more folate to promote health growth for baby. No pregnancy diet is complete without a healthy dose of dark leafy greens.
Kale, spinach and chard can be sautéed down and added to side dishes, or blended into a smoothie if the flavour isn’t for you. Once mixed into a smoothie, their flavour is almost undetectable.
Speaking of green, let’s move on to the avocado. Referred to often as a ‘super food,’ this fruit is packed with everything you need in a pregnancy diet. They are full of vitamin C, potassium, and our good friend folate. Baby will benefit from the multitude of healthy fats in an avocado to help with skin, brain and tissue growth. Avocados can be eaten on their own, or are a good addition to meals for a creamy element as well. They go great in a smoothie, or smeared on toast.
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 baby will benefit from a pregnancy diet incorporating many dairy products. Dairy products also have a lot of protein, which is important for baby’s growth as well.
While milk and cheese are usually what comes to mind for dairy products, yogurt is another great addition to your pregnancy diet for baby. Yogurt also contains probiotics and promote digestive health. Yogurt 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!
Many people will tell you to avoid eggs while pregnant, but they are an excellent source of protein and very versatile. 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 baby. Eggs are also a very cheap way to include protein into your pregnancy diet. All British eggs with the red lion can be eaten with low risk of salmonella.
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. Pairing salmon with sautéed vegetables is a great way to get a meal full of the nutrients 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 a good snack to curb a sugar craving, and can be blended into smoothies or eaten mixed with yogurt to get maximum nutrients out of snack time for you and baby.
While there are many foods full of the nutrients needed to help your baby grow health and strong, these are ones that can easily be combined together for meals and snacks. Throughout your pregnancy, you can experiment with different combinations and things that you like and don’t like to find the perfect balance for you and baby.