We’ve all heard the old adage “you are what you eat.” These wise words especially hold true with a pregnancy. Eating healthy foods with a variety of nutrients not only directly affects the health of your child, it also greatly boosts your physical and emotional well-being while pregnant.
Including our favorite superfoods below in your diet will benefit you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and during breastfeeding. These nourishing powerhouses help prevent cravings, indigestion or constipation, and they absorb slowly to help control blood sugar levels, giving you energy and vibrancy. This is a special time in your life, so make the most of it.
Start your day off right with a warm bowl of oatmeal. Whole grains like buckwheat, quinoa, millet, brown rice and, yes, oats are a great source of fiber, protein and B vitamins. They’ll keep your energy levels up and help with another common pregnancy problem: constipation. The least processed grain types you can find are the best.
Nuts and Seeds
Noshing on nuts and seeds is the perfect way to get plenty of heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Make flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkins seeds, walnuts and magnesium-rich almonds a regular addition to your diet. Stash a handful of nuts in your bag for a quick power snack on the go, and throw a scoop of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds into your smoothie or salad.
Dark Green Vegetables
“Eat your greens” is yet another saying you’ve probably heard mom say -- and for good reason! Dark green leafy vegetables, like kale, collard greens, broccoli, spinach and watercress, are especially important for mothers and their developing babies. They’re chock-full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. They’re also rich in phytochemicals that have anticancer properties. Be sure to get in at least one serving a day.
Fruits are full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and biological water. And lucky for us, they’re easy to fit in any meal or snack. We especially love avocados for their healthy brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids; berries and citrus fruits for their high amounts of vitamin C, folate and potassium; and dried apricots and raisins for their high iron levels.
Whether mashed, steamed or baked, sweet potatoes are delicious. They’re also so good for you that we’re singling these veggies out. Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy, and they’re packed with calcium, vitamin C and beta carotene, an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A, vital for skin and eye development.
Cultured and Fermented Foods
Naturally cultured and fermented foods contain beneficial probiotics, digestive enzymes and friendly bacteria that vastly improve your gut health. It’s a great idea to eat plenty of fermented foods while pregnant to prevent your digestive system from becoming too sluggish. Our favorites include miso, tempeh, naturally fermented pickles, veggies and sauerkraut and yogurt.