Eating well during pregnancy is not just about eating more. What you eat is as important too.
For the baby, eating a healthy diet helps improve the odds of the baby’s birth weight. and boosts their brain development! Healthy food choices decreases a baby’s risk of certain birth defects, like neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Healthy habits can also result in better eating habits for the child after birth, which is especially helpful should your baby grow into a potentially picky eater.
For the mother, a healthy pregnancy diet decreases the odds of experiencing prenatal complications like anemia, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Not only are these conditions less prevalent among women who eat well, but it makes pregnancy more comfortable, balances emotions, improves odds of a timely labor. Delivery and postpartum recovery can also be bettered through a healthy diet.
Broccoli is packed with nutrients like calcium and folate, which are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Also rich in fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants, broccoli contains plenty of vitamin C! This popular green vegetable will help your body absorb iron when it's eaten with an iron-rich food, such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
Your body absorbs roughly twice as much calcium from foods while you're pregnant, so your daily needs remain the same. Since most of us don’t get enough calcium to begin with, drinking more nonfat milk is a smart move. Each 8-ounce glass supplies about 30 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of 1,000 milligrams.
Bananas are rich in potassium and offer quick energy to fight off pregnancy fatigue. Slice them up into cereal or whip one into a breakfast smoothie with yogurt, berries, ice, and a splash of orange juice.
Lean meats like beef, lamb, pork, veal, turkey, chicken or duck offer the most protein and a variety of minerals and vitamins. Your daily iron needs to double during pregnancy, so it’s important to include plenty of iron-rich foods while you can. Meat delivers a form of iron that is easily absorbed by your body.
Soft cheeses are off-limits, but varieties such as cheddar and mozzarella can be a big help in meeting your calcium requirements. Each ounce contains between 150 and 200 milligrams. Cheese is also high in protein.
Many women develop aversions to meat while pregnant. Eggs are an excellent alternative protein source, as they contain all the essential amino acids your body needs. There's nothing better for a quick dinner than an omelet with lots of chopped vegetables and a bit of cheese.
If cooking aromas make you feel sick, hard-boil a batch of eggs to keep on hand in the refrigerator. Eat them whole for grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks, or chop them up into green salads.
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