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Hi there mama-to-be! We know that you’re feeling a mixture of anticipation and worry about this remarkable milestone in your life. All of the changes that come with your pregnancy might stress you out, but let’s get eating out of the way.
Why Is It Important To Eat Healthy During Pregnancy?
We all know the benefits of eating healthy. Now that you’re pregnant, keeping a nutritious and balanced diet will bring more perks than just improving your wellbeing. For a start, the food you eat will directly boost your baby’s growth and development. The first trimester of your pregnancy is one of the most crucial periods for your baby to grow, so it’s highly recommended for you to start adjusting your diet as soon as possible.
However, we can only eat so much in a day. Among all the food choices available, which ones should you be taking more to optimize the nutrition level in your body? Relax; the foods to eat during pregnancy don’t have to be complicated, and they certainly don’t have to be boring too. We’ve got you covered with this list of delicious pregnancy superfoods and easy ways to prepare them!
1. Greek Yogurt
Now that you are pregnant, you need more protein and calcium for the needs of your growing baby. Your baby needs protein for growing bones, while you need extra protein and calcium to keep your bones and muscle strong. Having the Greek yoghurt pregnancy experts recommend is beneficial for you as it is one of the best sources of calcium, containing more calcium than many other dairy foods. It also contains about twice as much protein compared to regular yoghurt. Not only that, some greek yoghurt even contains probiotic bacteria to help you digest better.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Greek Yogurt with Honey, Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries
Chickpeas are rich in plant-based protein, fibre, calcium, potassium, and folic acid, all of which are vital nutrients for a pregnant woman. Protein, in particular, is essential to build your baby’s body tissues and muscles. The rich folic acid in chickpeas is also known to boost a baby’s red blood cell production and brain development. Furthermore, chickpeas are also an inexpensive source of energy that can keep you energized throughout your pregnancy. One thing to take note is that you should cook chickpeas thoroughly before consuming.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic, Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Chickpeas
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, which your body transforms into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for the healthy development of your baby’s eyes, skin, bones, cells and organs. In addition, sweet potatoes contain potassium, which helps to maintain fluid balance and normalize your blood pressure during pregnancy. Eating sweet potatoes can also prevent you from constipation, which is common among pregnant women.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Sweet Potatoes Milk Shake, Sweet Potatoes Porridge
You should definitely be eating eggs during your pregnancy as they fulfil almost all of the additional nutrients you and your baby needs. Among the 11 different vitamins and minerals that eggs contain, the Vitamin B12 in eggs are important for DNA manufacturing and production of red blood cells. Eggs are also rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which your baby needs to develop healthy visual and brain functions. Like chickpeas, it is recommended for you to only eat fully-cooked eggs during pregnancy.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Steam Egg with Mushroom, Carrot Omelette
5. Lean Meat
Lean meat is meat with a lower fat content, for example, skinless chicken and turkey breast, as well as red meat like beef or pork, with their fat cut off. Lean meats like pork can help to meet your increasing need for iron, choline, and different types of B vitamins during pregnancy. Consuming sufficient levels of iron during the early and mid-stage of your pregnancy may protect you against premature delivery and low birth weight. Additionally, ensuring your body has a sufficient level of iron is important as your blood volume will be increasing during your pregnancy, especially during the third trimester.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Stir-fry Chicken with Broccoli, Garlic Grilled Steaks
6. Dark, Leafy Greens
This includes common vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach. Green, leafy vegetables have been linked to healthy birth weight of babies. If you don’t eat meat, dark-leafy vegetables are a great substitute for you to get enough iron, which helps in strengthening the nerve connections of your baby’s brain. Additionally, broccoli and leafy greens contain high levels of antioxidants, which can boost your immune system and digestion.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Berry and Spinach Smoothie, Kale & Egg Soup
When you enter the second and third trimester of your pregnancy, eating oats is a great way to meet your increased calorie requirements in a much healthier way. In terms of benefit for your baby, oats contain potassium, phosphorous, calcium, selenium and more minerals that can boost bone health. In addition, oats for pregnant moms are excellent because they are rich in folic acid, which is essential in the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Warm Milk with Oats, Cinnamon Oatmeal
The Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate and Potassium in avocados are the nutrients your baby needs to develop tissue and boost brain development. Avocados are also useful in dealing with morning sickness, leg cramps, and indigestion. What’s more, eating avocados helps your body to absorb nutrients from other foods better.
– Easy Recipe Suggestion: Wheat Toast with Avocado Spread, Baked Eggs with Avocado
To wrap things up, the key to eating right during your pregnancy is to eat a variety of healthy food. All the foods mentioned here would make a great confinement food breakfast any day! Aside from that, remember to keep everything in moderation, as over-consuming any food might do more harm than good. Eating healthy consistently is important too, as your body needs to be nourished not only during pregnancy but also after giving birth.
On that note, exploring the superfoods for breastfeeding beforehand could ease your postnatal journey, or you can always count on an all-natural confinement food delivery service like Tian Wei Signature to stay well-nourished after childbirth.