Foods to Eat during Pregnancy – What to Eat when you’re Expecting
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful stages in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, it isn’t an easy journey. From morning sickness to food aversions, different kinds of smells that make you feel sick and bizarre cravings can make things worse. These situations can make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy.
However, this is also the time your body demands additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Doctors recommend adding 350–500 additional calories each day starting from 2nd and 3rd trimesters. A diet plan that does not include key nutrients may affect the healthy development of the baby.
Women are also at risk of birth complications and gestational diabetes due to poor eating habits. Excess indulgence in sweets, fat and junk food can result in unhealthy weight gain. Choosing healthy, balanced and nutritious foods is very helpful in ensuring the health of you and your baby. This is also important for loss of pregnancy weight post-delivery.
Here is a list of 8 highly nutritious foods you should include in your diet during pregnancy:
Eggs make for an amazing source of protein. It is a crucial part of your pregnancy diet. Eggs are loaded with essential amino acids and protein, the building blocks body cells. By including eggs in your daily diet, you are also getting a significant dose of vitamins and minerals, including an important element choline. Choline is very helpful in building baby’s brain and spinal cord. It will also prevent defects of the neural tube. You may combine eggs with veggies and cheese to prepare a delectable breakfast.
2. Whole Grains
When you include whole-grain cereals and breads to your diet, you are actually getting your daily dose of fortified with folic acid. These are also rich in iron and contain more fiber than white rice and bread. The best way to make sure you are having enough whole grains in your diet is to categorize meals into breakfast, lunch and dinner. For instance, you can add muesli or oatmeal for breakfast, a brown bread sandwich at lunch, and brown rice or whole-wheat pasta for dinner. This way, you won’t be skipping your daily dose of whole grains during pregnancy.
3. Milk and Milk Products
Focus on including foods such as skimmed milk or whole milk to your diet daily. Yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, and cottage cheese (paneer) are also important during pregnancy. Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, vitamin B12, protein, and calcium.
Loaded with B vitamins, fiber, and essential minerals, oats are a must have during pregnancy. So make sure you have a bowl fill for your breakfast. You may add a twist to your breakfast by preparing oats in various ways, such as oats pulao, dosas, pancakes, etc. The idea is to add a wide variety of whole grains to your diet. These are loaded with essential baby-building vitamins and minerals.
This is neglected by most pregnant women. However, it is extremely important to stay hydrated all the time during pregnancy. You should drink as much water and liquids as possible throughout the day. Add fresh juices, lemon water and clean and filtered water throughout the day. You may even sip into infused water with your favorite fresh fruits. Do not indulge in aerated drinks, colas and packaged juices.
Vitamin B or Folic acid (when taken as a supplement) is one of the most important nutrients required for pregnant women. Lentils are powerhouse of this vital nutrient. Folate is essential for healthy development of baby’s brain and nervous system. It is known to have a very powerful protective effect against defects of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida (a type of birth disorder wherein a part of spine is exposed). Adding lentils to your diet will also help you get your day to day requirements of vitamin B6, protein, and iron.
If you are not a lentil lover, add spinach to your daily diet. It is loaded with folate and other important nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin A. You may eat it raw (make sure you wash it well) or in curries, soup, salad etc.
8. Prenatal Vitamins
It is true that the primary source of nutrients and vitamins required during pregnancy must come from dietary sources, a daily prenatal vitamin is always recommended by doctors as it helps fill small gaps in case, you fail to get adequate key nutrients. It is important to consult your healthcare provider prior to deciding on a set of prenatal vitamins during pregnancy.