A healthy and well-balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your baby. It is essential to both your health and theirs. Eating the right food can improve your fertility, keep you feeling healthy during pregnancy and result in an easier labor. Because the nutrients you consume go to the baby first, a deficiency in anything can be even more of a challenge to your body than usual. Learn more about the best foods to consume during pregnancy.
When addressing pregnancy nutrition, certain nutrients are particularly important to pay attention to. Folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, protein and all the essential fatty acids (especially DHA) are critical to fetal development. The richest source of these nutrients are animal products, particularly meat and organ meats. You can, however, find these nutrients in legumes, dairy and leafy green vegetables. Be sure to eat these foods on a daily basis!
Fish is the best source of DHA and other essential fatty acids. Along with a fish oil supplement, it is beneficial for pregnant women to eat fish, flax and chia seeds. Be sure to check with Seafood Watch to ensure your fish is low in mercury.
Getting adequate fiber and water is very important as well. This will help your body flush out waste, and stay regular. The best sources of fiber are fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and millet.
In addition, try out some nutrient-dense booster foods that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine. They include nuts and seeds, fresh or frozen berries, bone broth, fresh vegetable juice, seaweed and nutritional yeast.
Pregnancy Nutrition Meals
A common question women ask is how many calories they should be eating during pregnancy. I encourage you to focus on the quality of your food. Whole, unprocessed and organic foods are best. Each meal should consist of the following:
- Healthy protein such as poultry, fish or beans
- An abundance of non-starchy vegetables
- Smaller portions of starchy vegetables such as potatoes or corn
- A serving of fruit
- Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and olive oil
The food we consume on a daily basis affects our energy and strength, how our bodies work and how we heal and grow. Pregnancy nutrition not only affects the mother, but determines the basic nutritional health that the child is born with. Give your baby a strong start in life by eating the right foods.