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7 Foods to Eat When You’re Pregnant

 

Keeping track of your nutritional needs during pregnancy can feel like a big job, but picking the right foods can help you cover more of your bases. (Along with taking a prenatal vitamin, of course.) So make an effort to keep these pregnancy superfoods on hand — and make them mainstays of your daily menus.

 

1. Dried fruit

Figs, dates, prunes and dried apricots are quick, concentrated sources of energy when you can feel your blood sugar starting to drop. And the natural candy-like flavor is a better option than actual candy when your sweet tooth strikes.

Even better? Dried fruit is a surprisingly valuable source of nutrients like fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, plus antioxidants. Just keep in mind that a little goes a long way — dried fruit is higher in calories than fresh, so pay attention to your portions and be sure to seek out varieties made without added sugars.

How to eat it: Pair a handful of dried fruit with a handful of nuts for a satisfying snack, or stir chopped dried fruit into yogurt. Or enjoy it as a healthy dessert: Try stuffing dates with peanut butter or almond butter, or dunking dried apricots into melted dark chocolate.

 

2. Low-fat milk

You know it’s chock-full of calcium to strengthen your baby’s bones and teeth — a single glass serves up about a third of what you need in a day. But milk also delivers vitamin D, iodine and plenty of protein — around 8 grams per cup.

How to eat it: If the idea of guzzling a glass of milk isn’t all that appealing, there are other ways to work it into your pregnancy diet. Use milk in a fruit smoothie, or pour fruit and milk smoothies into popsicle molds to make cool, creamy ice pops.

 

3. Sweet potatoes

A single sweet potato serves up more than 400 percent of the vitamin A that you need in a day. That’s especially important during your first trimester, when your baby’s cells are dividing at rapid speed to become different organ and body parts. (While vitamin A is important during pregnancy, steer clear of supplements, since getting megadoses of the nutrient could increase the risk for birth defects.)

How to eat them: Try roasting sliced sweet potatoes to make oven fries, or create a meal-in-a-bowl by topping a halved baked sweet potato with cooked beans, shredded cheese and diced avocado.

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4. Bananas

They’re a tasty source of energy when you get hit with that urge to eat something, anything, ASAP. Plus, they’re easy on your stomach even when you’re feeling queasy.

Bananas are also rich in potassium, a mineral that plays a key role in promoting healthy blood pressure. They might even help you manage annoying pregnancy bloat, since potassium helps your body release puff-promoting minerals like sodium through your urine.

How to eat it: If a banana by itself doesn’t cut it for a snack, try piling sliced bananas on top of a piece of peanut butter toast. Or toss frozen banana chunks in the food processor to make a delicious — and surprisingly creamy — dairy-free ice cream.

 

5. Kale

The leafy green is always a good choice, and it’s a particularly potent pregnancy superfood. Kale serves up folate, iron, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K and fiber — all in a tasty package that can be enjoyed in a million different ways.

How to eat it: Try swapping kale for basil in your favorite pesto recipe and tossing it with pasta or slathering it on a sandwich, or swirling it into scrambled eggs.

 

6. Mangoes

Stomach doing flips at the thought of veggies? Good news: Mangoes are another great way to get your fill of vitamins like A and C.

How to eat them: Use fresh diced mango in a zippy salsa that’s tasty on top of fish or chicken, or blend the frozen cubes with yogurt for a sweet-tart smoothie.

 

7. Red bell peppers

These veggies are a top source of vitamin C and A, plus fiber to keep things moving. Another big benefit? Research has found that eating a vegetable-rich diet during pregnancy could help reduce the risk for complications like high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How to eat them: Take advantage of their crunchy texture the next time you get a craving for crispy pretzels or chips. When dunked into hummus, ranch dressing or even plain yogurt for a snack, they’re sure to hit the spot.

 

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