Pregnancy is a pivotal time in every woman’s life. What is even more important is maintaining a healthy diet during this time. It plays a huge role in determining not only the woman’s health but also that of the baby. Throughout this period, the body undergoes multiple changes, hence a healthy meal is required to ensure the baby grows and develops well. Below are a few diet options to consider while pregnant.
Whole grains are an important source of energy for our daily diet. They contain B vitamins, fiber, proteins, trace minerals and antioxidants. A diet that is rich in whole grains has been proven to minimize the risk of heart obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. They further support nutrition which is usually lacked by pregnant women. Meals like oats, millet, quinoa brown rice, multigrain bread, are healthier options for regular carbohydrates like white rice, etc.
Proteins and lean meat
Protein supports baby growth in the womb. Chicken, lean beef, lamb and pork are great sources of good quality protein for pregnant women. Proteins are known to help build and support the development of important organs for the baby. Organs such as the heart and the brain.
Protein also facilitates the formation of new tissues for muscles and bones which are key for the baby’s growth. Moreover, based on a report from PLoS ONE journal, researchers found that women who ate sea food during pregnancy had lower levels of anxiety in comparison to pregnant women who did not.
Dairy based foods
Dairy foods like yogurt, milk and cheese are great sources of calcium, vitamin D and protein. However, if the pregnant mother is lactose intolerant or vegan, other great sources of calcium are soybeans, almond milk, and soymilk. Likewise, for dairy based options it is good for pregnant mothers to opt for reduced or low-fat versions. It is equally important to ensure that milk or cheese has been pasteurized before consumption.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have a lot of healthy minerals and vitamins. They also prevent constipation and are a good source of fiber. Pregnant women are encouraged to ensure they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables especially during their third and second trimester.
Fruits can be had as a side during breakfast and dried fruits can be eaten as a healthier snack option. Vegetables can be steamed, eaten fresh or even blended into a smoothie. The more creative you are with fruits and vegetables the more fun and enjoyable eating them becomes.
Examples of food in this category are yam, potatoes, pasta, rice, and couscous. Starchy foods are energy packed and make a great meal alongside other fruits and vegetables. They enable pregnant women gain energy which is required for a healthy pregnancy. Moreover, carbohydrates are a necessary component of a great pregnancy diet.
Iron based meals
Research by ACOGA shows that pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron per day. The level of blood in a mother’s body during pregnancy increases by approximately 50%. As a result, she needs iron to produce more hemoglobin for the excess blood. Little iron during pregnancy can cause fatigue, anemia, and an increased risk of infections.
Examples of foods which contain iron are peas, fish, legumes, seeds, nuts, and dark green vegetables (broccoli, kontomire, dandelion leaves, okra)