Eating a nutritious diet for you and your baby is about much more than eating an extra sandwich every day. The average energy requirements (calories) for pregnancy increase only 10%. However, the average dietary needs for many of the most critical nutrients increase by as much as 50%. That’s why it’s particularly important to enhance the nutrient density of your meals.
Here are six “prenatal super foods” to get help boost your nutrient intake:
Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods out there! It is rich in magnesium, iron, vitamins B2, B6, K, E, and A, folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, and copper. It is also an excellent source of fiber, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, protein, and choline, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B3, and selenium.
Here are some of my favorite spinach recipes.
It’s recommended that pregnant women consume two servings of fish every week, one of those being an oily fish. Salmon is an excellent choice for your oily fish serving. It is very high in vitamins B12, D, B3, and B6, selenium, omega-3 fats, protein, phosphorus, and iodine. It also a good source of choline, pantothenic acid, biotin, and potassium.
Try to select salmon that is wild-caught, preferably fresh. I will have a post coming soon with more details about how to pick the healthiest salmon.
Follow this link for some delicious salmon recipes!
Avocados are full of good fats — fats that are essential to both your health and the health of your baby. Avocados are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins K, B6, E, and C, copper, folate, and potassium (more than a banana!!).
Here are some great recipes that use avocados.
Sweet potatoes are a personal favorite of mine! They are an outstanding source of vitamin A (the good kind your body can’t overdose on), vitamin C, B6, B3, B1, and B2, manganese, copper, biotin, potassium, fiber, and phosphorus. And they’re super delicious!
Here are some of my favorite sweet potato recipes — many of which could easily double as dessert!
Berries are rich in vitamin C, manganese, potassium, folate, and antioxidants which help build your baby’s immune system and skin. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect. (Incidentally, they should be eaten in moderation during the third trimester when you actually need inflammation to keep an important blood vessel open in your baby’s heart.)
Check out some fun ideas for incorporating berries into some of your favorite meals.
Eggs are a complete protein source, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids we need in our diet. They are also a good source of choline, selenium, biotin, vitamins B12 and B2, and iodine. When possible try to get organic, pasture-raised eggs as their nutrient content is largely dependent on what the hen is fed.
Here are some ways to spice up your standard egg recipes.
Let me know what your favorite recipes are for these Prenatal Super Foods! And check back for more great food options for a healthy pregnancy!