Moms to be, are you getting the proper nutrition you need? Nutrition while pregnant is extremely important, both for you and your baby. The brain of a fetus begins to form just three weeks after conception.
Knowing what food to eat and what sort of diet to adhere to can be difficult considering how many nutritional aspects there are. While it requires a little planning ahead, there are some foods that should definitely be incorporated into your diet for the health of both you and your baby and proper brain development.
1) Dried beans and lentils
Usually, dried beans and lentils are not on the forefront of our mind's when thinking about food, but beans and lentils are jam packed with nutrients. During pregnancy, women need at least 10 extra grams of protein, and beans and lentils are perfect for this requirement since each cup has about 15 grams. They are also high in fiber content, which is great for combatting various digestive issues.
Looking for ways to incorporate them in your diet? Beans and lentils go great with rice, or as a side for chicken dishes. Making fresh vege or chicken chili (not from a can) in a crock pot is an easy way to incorporate beans in a healthy way.
2) Wild Caught Salmon
Fish is a brain builder! This is super important to incorporate into your diet to give baby the best brain building nutrients.
Wild caught salmon is a great meat to add to your food regimen while pregnant - you can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week during pregnancy, and salmon is a wonderful source of nutrients for both you and your baby. Omega-3 fatty acids have known to be good for your baby's brain and eyes, and it is also a great source for protein and B vitamins.
Luckily, salmon is very easy to cook and there are some delicious recipes you can try to add more of this protein filled fish to your diet. Even a simple pan seared, skin on salmon filet with a side of broccoli raab and rice or cous cous makes for a balanced and delicious meal. Remember to do at least 80% on the skin side till crisp and flip to finish to well done.
This is the easiest snack ever. Really. Bananas are also a great fruit to incorporate into your daily routine, especially in breakfast. Bananas are full of potassium, and therefore are great to fight off pregnancy induced fatigue. Bananas are a good way to kick start the day, and can also be eaten to fight off nausea. Plus, they are pretty simple to add to the everyday breakfast things for an extra kick - add banana slices to gluten free granola, oatmeal, or in yogurt. Or better yet, smoothies with bananas are a good way to get nutrients without sacrificing taste. Here are some smoothie recipes to try out for breakfast this week.
Make this crazy gooood Vegan Ice Cream:
- Chopped frozen bananas
- A Cusinart food processor
- Blend till creamy smooth and add in fresh strawberries or other flavorings to create the "ice cream" flavor however you like. You'll be surprised how simple and delicious this is and the flavor is not overwhelmingly banana. Eat immediately or freeze for a later treat. 100% Guilt free ladies!
4) Low-fat Greek Yogurt
Looking for ways to combine items on this list when adding to your diet? Consider eating low-fat greek yogurt during this time (perhaps with some bananas added) Greek yogurt tastes rich and satisfying! It's also is packed with calcium, and has a higher calcium content than milk. High in protein, greek yogurt lacks added sugar making it a healthy breakfast item. In addition, iodine is important for brain development and greek yogurt adds 50 to 100mng per serving.
Add bananas and/or berries and different fruits to jazz it up as a fun breakfast item. You could also add whole grain granola or cereal for a fortifying meal.
Our favorite is:
- granola like Nature's Harvest
- greek yogurt, fat free or 2%
- a swirl of pasturized honey
- topped with blueberries and walnuts or brazil nuts (more brain boosting health foods)
Believe it or not, these tiny little green onions that we commonly use as a garnish are actually a great food. An average serving size is 2 tablespoons chopped, and contain folate, iron, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, magnesium and a host of other nutrients. Magnesium can help alleviate symptoms of constipation, while folate, vitamin C and iron are all integral nutrients for pregnant women.
The best way to incorporate chives into your diet is to sprinkle them on top of soups and salads, on top of baked potatoes, mixed with spreads or added to dips and hummus.
Try this spin on an insanely good Tzatziki dip that incorporates chives:
- 1 container (32oz) 2% fat Greek Yogurt
- Organic cucumber. Remove skin, take out seeds with spoon. Mince.
- touch of finely minced garlic (one clove)
- sprinkle of red wine vinegar (2 tsp)
- dash of Himalayan pink sea salt
- sprinkle of lemon juice (2 tsp)
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped finely dill
- Mix, Chill, and serve with fresh chopped chives sprinkled on top. Swirl cold pressed olive oil on top as well to finish it off.
This is so easy to make and it's always a hit at the dinner table. Adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.
6) Pumpkin seeds
Looking for a tasty snack without having to sacrifice nutrition? Pumpkin seeds may be the food you are searching for. A half cup of pumpkin seeds can provide much-needed protein for your body as well as containing a host of other minerals needed for muscle health and hydration. 1 cup can provide close to half of your daily needs for nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.
While both raw and roasted pumpkin seeds are great, roasted have more protein and minerals then raw ones. Hit up your local natural food store and you'll have no problem finding some. Remember the greek yogurt we talked about...try pumpkin seeds with your granola, greek yogurt, and top with pumpkin seeds.
7) Sweet potatoes
Beta-carotene is essential for healthy brain formation of your baby. Sweet potatoes are also another food that is chock full of nutrients and easy to add in daily food intake. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, a plant compound that our bodies turn into vitamin A. The latter is essential for growth, and for healthy fetal development. Sweet potatoes, when cooked can fulfill the daily vitamin A requirement, and are also another source of fiber.
There are plenty of ways to cook sweet potatoes, but slicing them in half and baking them covered in foil is a pretty hassle free way to prepare them. It is easy to be creative if you have more time (mashed sweet potato or try diced sweet potatoes with rosemary and olive oil) and use sweet potatoes as a way to break up the monotony of weekday food.
Easily one of the more popular fruits this last year, avocados are a fantastic source of much needed vitamins while also being delicious. They contain high amounts of fiber, B-vitamins (including folate), vitamin K, E and C as well as potassium and copper. They also have high amounts of mono-saturated fatty acids, which is a healthy fat the body needs. These healthy fats are great for fetus growth and development and the folate content is also extremely important for pregnant women's daily intake.
Looking for fun ways to use avocados? Go for avocado toast. Take your favorite toast and spread avocado all over it. Top with other favorites like arugula, shaved fennel, olive oil, radish, and even an egg cooked however you like it makes this such a satisfying treat for anytime of the day.
These are just some of the foods you should think about incorporating into your diet for both yours and your baby's health. It can definitely be difficult to add in so many different items into your daily intake, but with some planning and foresight, it can definitely be done.
Check out our blog to find more recipes like this Lactation Blueberry Muffin Recipe and other great info for mom and mom to be.
Shop stylish and functional breastfeeding tops here.