Eating for two? Not necessarily, but the diet you adopt during your 9 months (or sometimes almost 10 for that matter…) of pregnancy are super important for a healthy baby and healthy mamma. You know what they say about that pregnancy glow, right? Well, you should know it has little to do with skincare and serums, but more with “glowing from the inside out”. What you put into your body reflects on your skin, hair and nails and can uplift your mood and boost your energy. Because we all know how crucial that extra spark of energy is while you move, eat and function for two, right? Especially if you have one or more other little dragons on the outside hanging on you..
We know that many new moms don’t have time for hours of research and food preparation so here is a list of superfoods recommended by nutritionists, to help you power your pregnancy and keep you healthy, strong and happy.
The Gem of all Gems, the one that steals the superfood show, especially when it comes to prenatal nutrition! Avocados contain healthy omega-3 fats, which are so so good for your baby’s brain development. They’re not only high in folate – also really important in pregnancy, but they are a great source of “good” fats! Think about those early weeks of morning- or alldaylong- sickness, extreme fatigue and tiredness, when you need a big splash of energy. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, fat, fiber, and antioxidants to power your pregnancy.
Plus, they’re so easy to incorporate in your diet – think about a plain avo toast topped with olive oil and a splash of lemon, or a good guacamole bowl served with tortilla chips… So yummy and so healthy!
Eggs are also one of the greatest superfoods, and a great source of protein and amino acids for you and baby-to-be. Also, eggs provide omega-3 fats that babies need to help develop their brain and enhance their vision. They also contain proteins, fats and vitamin D – it supports immunity in babies and helps prevent infections or other diseases.
But pay close attention: they need to be hardboiled, so no raw, undercooked, poached eggs during pregnancy! You can enjoy them over your avo toast, in an omelet or frittata!
Small but oh so mighty, they are a great source of folic acid – super important for you in these times! Chia seeds contain fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and proteins. Adding proteins to your prenatal diet can help balance blood sugars and keep your nausea in check, while also boost your energy! Chia seeds also help slow down the absorption of sugar, which will help inhibit the amount of sugar your baby absorbs. Add Chia seeds to your favorite greek yogurt bowl, smoothie, cereal, or even salad!
Kale, Spinach and Greens
They keyword here: folic acid, again! Pregnant women need folate in its active form for the baby’s brain development, but unfortunately most prenatal supplements contain folic acid in its synthetic and inactive form! So squeeze in as much greens as you can- spinach, kale, green salads and everything else you can find under the form of green veggies! Don’t think you need to consume them in their pure form, as it might seem too boring or tasteless for you! If you hate spinach, you can easily incorporate it in your banana, strawberry, orange smoothie – just add water or your favorite vegetable milk, ice and mix it all together! Here you go- your daily portion of folic acid and greenies!
Lentils are filled with iron, fiber, folic acid, healthy minerals, protein and vitamin B. They are also great to help with digestion – we all know that constipation can be a burden during pregnancy. Add lentils to creamy soups or salads to provide you and your baby a powerful handful of nutrients. Her friends are equally beneficial: think beans or peas that you can incorporate in your meat-free meal plans to add protein to your diet.
Salmon is a great source of protein, vitamin B, and omega-3 fats that can help promote brain development and vision for your little one. The Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to also help prevent developmental delays and improve problem solving skills. In moms, it reduces the risk of postpartum depression and supports skin elasticity as the bumps grow and stretch over the period of 9 months. Enjoy salmon grilled, smoked or broiled – never raw, as in sushi. Don’t worry, soon enough you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite sushi again!
Don’t be afraid of carbs during pregnancy! Wholes grains contain fiber, vitamin B, iron, folic acid, and zinc. Enjoy whole grains by eating whole-grain oatmeal, brown rice, or whole-grain crackers paired with cheese for a delicious snack.
Hummus is packed with protein and low in fat. This superfood helps moms lower their glycemic levels when paired with a higher glycemic food, such as crackers or bread.
Kefir, like yogurt, is fermented dairy that is packed with calcium and probiotics. Calcium is essential during pregnancy as baby’s bones and teeth form. Because it is so important to baby in utero, if mom doesn’t consume enough calcium during pregnancy, the body will mobilize (or draw out) calcium from her bones to use for her baby’s growth. If you can’t tolerate dairy, calcium can be found in greens and fortified dairy alternatives. Other examples of fermented foods are yogurt, aged cheese, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables.
Did you know your iron needs double during pregnancy? Many moms struggle with iron deficiency causing fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Iron is found in its most active forms in animal proteins like red meats. They also contain collagen, which can assist as our bodies grow and stretch. Fats and cholesterol are also essential for hormone production for you and baby during this very hormonal time. When consuming red meat, try to choose organic meat where possible. Add lean-cut steak to your favorite salad, stir fry, pasta, or chili.
Berries are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid — and they provide amazing benefits, such as protecting cells from damage. Not to mention they are oh so delicious, no matter what we are talking about – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries… Enjoy them on top of your morning oatmeal, whole-grain cereal and milk, in smoothies made with yogurt or milk, on pancakes and even salads. Use berries as an oatmeal or a cereal topper, in a berry smoothie or a Greek yogurt parfait. So refreshing and so yummy!
That being said, here are some foods you should stay away from during pregnancy: unpasteurised juices and cheese, raw seafood, rare meat, hot dogs and deli meats, raw/ undone eggs, high mercury fish (like swordfish, mackerel, bigeye tuna, tilefish), raw sprouts and alcohol unless it’s a sip of champaign or a glass of wine every now and then.
Mammas, stay healthy and stay strong!