Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet during pregnancy is a piece of advice we hear over and over again. But precisely what does healthy eating during pregnancy mean? In this post, we go over the essential pregnancy food for a healthy pregnancy diet or eating plan.
If you have a look through pregnancy magazines or websites, you will come across questions like what to eat when pregnant? Or questions are asking if certain foods are safe to eat.
Pregnancy food groups are those that are recommended for pregnant women because they contain protein, vitamins, and nutrients. They help the growing fetus develop while keeping mom and baby healthy.
Fruit and vegetables are a must for any healthy diet. As pregnancy food, they are great because they are generally easy enough to prepare and are cost-friendly. Pregnant women are advised to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
List of Fruit and Vegetables that Promotes Pregnancy Health
Fruit and vegetables can be prepared in a variety of ways – for example, raw, cooked, or even added to protein shake blender. Whichever way you choose to make it, you will still get the pregnancy vitamins from them.
- Apricots – contains Vitamin A, E, and C; calcium, beta-carotene, and iron;
- Oranges are yummy in smoothies giving you lots of – Vitamin C and folate;
- Pears – has loads of fiber which eases constipation and potassium;
- Pomegranates – is a good source of Vitamin K, calcium and iron;
- Mangoes – are packed with Vitamins A and C;
- Grapes – are excellent sources of antioxidants, organic acids, pectin, and Vitamins C and K.
In terms of vegetables – make sure to include the following in your pregnancy diet:
- Dark Leafy Greens – like broccoli and spinach are rich in Vitamins K, A, calcium, iron, folate, and antioxidants;
- Beetroot – is an ultimate pregnancy food, rich in vitamins and fiber and strengthens the immune system;
- Sweet potatoes – are high in fiber which helps with digestion and prevents constipation during pregnancy;
- Red, green and yellow peppers – are excellent sources of Vitamin C.
There are always plenty of questions regarding how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Eating pregnancy foods that are mostly plant-based also helps you lose weight faster after giving birth.
Other Foods for Pregnancy Health
There is plenty of pregnancy food that should be included in the diet of every pregnant woman. Consult with your doctor if you have any allergies, and you might be prescribed a supplement in pill form.
Include lean protein in your diet; it supports the growth of the baby through every trimester. Consume meat, chicken, fish (consult with your doctor to avoid fish that is high in mercury), eggs, beans, legumes, milk, nuts, and seeds.
Whole grains like oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, and bread, as well as brown rice, are excellent sources of iron, B-vitamins, and fiber.
Dairy foods are rich in calcium, Vitamin D, and protein. Sources of these are yogurt, cheese, and milk. Although dairy foods are essential pregnancy food, stay away from soft cheeses (brie, camembert, and mold-ripened) that are made from unpasteurized milk. They can contain listeria bacteria that can cause an infection called listeriosis.
Foods to Avoid When Pregnant
Changes in the immune system during pregnancy can put pregnant women and their unborn babies at risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. These illnesses can be contracted from eating particular foods that are high in certain bacteria.
Because of this, doctors advise pregnant women to avoid raw meat and fish in general and to adopt safe food storage and hygiene practices.
If you are a seafood lover – here’s a bit of bad news!
Raw seafood may contain Listeria, which makes pregnant women sick and could potentially harm unborn babies. Avoid sushi, raw oysters, raw clams, raw scallops, and ceviche.
Here’s a list of other foods you should avoid when pregnant:
- Raw and undercooked meats (like pork);
- Ready-made cold salads from supermarkets and salad bars;
- Patè (for example, liver or fish pate);
- Processed cold meats (like salami and ham);
- Unpasteurized dairy products;
- Raw eggs and products containing raw eggs (like hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, and desserts);
- Soft and semi-soft cheeses.
Pregnancy food is not supposed to be limiting the expectant mother. It is just a way to ensure that mom and baby get all the necessary nutrients and taking extra precautions against infections.
Pregnancy is also a great time to kick-start healthy eating habits and who knows, you might be eating pregnancy foods well after your baby has been born.