Pregnancy Foods

Pregnancy Foods

Eating for two can be a nerve-wracking responsibility, especially with so much conflicting information. It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up and dive into the nearest bag of candy bars. But there are lots of ways to ensure that you and your baby are both getting the nutrients you both need.
 
Eggs
In addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs contain lots of quality protein, which is essential for pregnancy. Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s overall growth and brain health, while helping prevent neural tube defects. Some eggs even contain omega-3 fats, important for both brain and vision development. (Brands that have omega-3s will probably state it on the label. Look for DHA-enriched eggs because those contain the most beneficial form of omega-3s).
 
Salmon
Not only is salmon rich in high-quality protein, says Ward, but it’s also an exceptionally good source of omega-3 fats, which are good for your baby’s development – and may help boost your mood. And unlike swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and shark, salmon has low amounts of methylmercury, a compound that can be harmful to your baby’s developing nervous system.
 
salmon rich in high-quality protein 
 
Beans
Navy beans, lentils, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas … there are so many to choose from. “Beans contain the most fiber and protein of all the vegetables,” says Ward. You already know that it’s important to get enough protein during pregnancy, but you may not yet realize that fiber could become your new best friend. When you’re pregnant, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, putting you at risk for constipation and hemorrhoids. Fiber can help prevent and relieve these problems.
 
Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes get their orange color from carotenoids, plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A in our bodies, says Ward. Although consuming too much “preformed” vitamin A (found in animal sources, such as liver, milk, and eggs) can be dangerous, carotenoids are a different type. They’re converted to vitamin A only as needed, so there’s no need to restrict your consumption of vitamin A-rich fruits and veggies.
 
Popcorn is a whole grain 
 
Popcorn and other whole grains
Yes, you read that right. Popcorn is a whole grain. “People love it when I tell them that!” says Ward. Whole grains are important in pregnancy because they’re high in fiber and nutrients, including vitamin E, selenium, and phytonutrients (plant compounds that protect cells). But don’t stop at popcorn: There are lots of other whole grains out there, from oatmeal to barley. Fluffy, nutty-tasting quinoa is one of Ward’s favorites.
 
Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt typically has twice the protein of regular yogurt, making it one of Geagan’s favorite pregnancy foods. And any kind of yogurt is a great source of calcium, which is vital in a pregnancy diet. If you don’t take in enough calcium, the limited amount you have will go to your baby, says Geagan, depleting the calcium in your bones.
 
Dark green, leafy vegetables 
 
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and other green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as the all-important folate. They’ve also been found to promote eye health, Geagan says.
 
Lean meats
Meat is an excellent source of high-quality protein, says dietitian Karin Hosenfeld of North Dallas Nutrition. “Look for lean meats with the fat trimmed off,” she says. “When buying red meat in particular, look for cuts that are around 95 to 98 percent fat free.” Beef and pork stand out among meats because they contain choline in addition to protein, says Ward.
 
Colorful fruits and veggies 
 
Colorful fruits and veggies
Eating plenty of green, red, orange, yellow, purple, and white fruits and vegetables ensures that you and your baby get a variety of nutrients. “Each color group provides different vitamins and minerals,” explains dietitian Jodi Greebel, owner of Citrition, a nutrition counseling service in New York.