When you’re pregnant, the top priority is eating right, staying healthy for both . That means the foods you eat must provide as many nutritional benefits as possible. Enter functional foods, which supply all of the nutrients crucial to your well-being and your baby’s growth. Following are the most important foods to eat during pregnancy.
Here are some choice foods to add to your pregnancy diet, making those extra calories count by providing a variety of nutrients that benefit you and your child.
Chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and soybeans supply fiber, protein, iron, folate, calcium, and zinc. Suggested recipes are: chili and soups, salads, and pasta dishes; as hummus with whole-grain crackers or in roll-up sandwiches.
Eye of round, top round, round tip, bottom round, top loin and tenderloin are among the leanest cuts available.
What you get: Protein, vitamins B6 and B12, and the minerals zinc and iron in their most absorbable form. Beef is one of the most concentrated food sources of choline.
They’re packed with carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber, and fluid. The phytonutrients in berries are naturally occurring beneficial plant compounds that protect cells from damage.
Broccoli is rich in the folate, fiber, calcium, lutein, zeaxanthin, carotenoids to foster healthy vision, and potassium for fluid balance and normal blood pressure. Broccoli also contains the raw materials for vitamin A production in the body.
As part of pasta and stir-fry dishes, steamed and topped with a smattering of olive oil, pureed and added to soups, or roasted: chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces, coat lightly with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until tender, about 15 minutes.
Cheese supplies concentrated amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium for your bones and your baby’s, plus vitamin B12 and protein (use reduced-fat varieties, such as Cabot 50% Light Cheddar to save on calories, fat, and cholesterol). As snacks with whole-grain crackers or fruit, sprinkled on top of soups, in salads, sandwiches, and omelets.
Eggs supply the gold-standard of protein because they provide all of the amino acids you and your baby need to thrive. They also include more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, such as choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Certain brands supply the omega-3 fats baby needs for brain development and peak vision, so check the label. In omelets and frittatas, in salads and sandwiches, in homemade waffles, crepes, and whole-grain French toast, as snacks, hard-cooked, or scrambled.
It’s an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D — bone-building nutrients mother and child require every day. Milk also packs protein, vitamin A, and B vitamins.
Plain or flavored, in smoothies made with fruit, over whole-grain cereal and fruit, and in pudding. Prepare oatmeal in the microwave with milk instead of water.
While seafood is generally low in fat, the type of fat it does contain is largely the heart-healthy omega-3 variety. Fattier species, such as salmon, cod and haddock, are excellent sources of omega-3.
What you get:Protein, B vitamins and small but significant levels of iron and zinc.
Sweet Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, vitamin C, folate and fiber.
Last but not least, it is yogurt. Plain yogurt contains more calcium than milk does and is the richest of all yogurts in zinc. Some new brands are now fortified with vitamin D; check the label to be sure.
What you get:Calcium, carbohydrates, protein, B vitamins and zinc.
There are two main types of sweet potatoes: dry-fleshed and moist-fleshed. Throughout the United States, the moist-fleshed, orange variety is often improperly referred to as a yam.