By Erin Ollila
When you’re pregnant, eating healthy is vital. First, and most importantly, food is fuel to grow your baby, but it also helps energize you and maintain your physical and mental health during these months. Superfoods are vital to any pregnant women’s diet.
But wait, what are superfoods?
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “superfoods offer some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals and snacks, and further enhance a healthy eating pattern.” Since these foods are full of the important vitamins and minerals your body needs, it makes them no brainers when you’re reaching into the fridge for a snack or planning your meals for the week.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reminds women that “a well-rounded diet should supply all of the other vitamins and minerals you need [in addition to a prenatal vitamin] during pregnancy.”
Got your pen and paper? These 8 superfoods should be the first items on your next shopping list.
Harvard Health Publishing says, “A good source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains live cultures called probiotics. These ‘good bacteria’ can protect the body from other, more harmful bacteria.”
But be picky about what type of yogurt you choose to eat. Flavored yogurts often contain a lot of unnecessary sugar. Toss in a few berries or drizzle a tiny bit of local honey or real maple syrup in plain yogurt if you’re looking to upgrade the flavor.
2. Leafy Greens
If you love salads, make sure the ones you consume during pregnancy are chock full of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and collard greens, which contain folic acid.
But that’s not the only nutrient leafy greens contain. This superfood group supplies calcium, antioxidants, vitamin A, potassium, and fiber for expecting moms.
Want to add more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet? Salmon is a smart--pun intended--source of DHA and EPA that will assist in developing your little one’s brain. The ACOG also states that salmon is a good source of vitamin D during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
If you get bored with eating salmon for dinner, cut some up and place over leafy greens for a super healthy (and yummy!) lunch.
Got a sweet tooth? If you’re looking for a way to satisfy a craving for something sweet, berries are your best option. This superfood group contains a great amount of vitamin C, fiber, and folic acid. In addition, Healthline states, “They also contain phytonutrients like flavonoids and anthocyanins.”
Eat them by the handful, blend them into a smoothie, or add a few to yogurt for a super-charged snack.
When you’re looking to add potassium to your diet, you might automatically think of bananas, but oranges are another excellent source of it, too. They also contain a strong dose of vitamin C that will help keep your body healthy.
The Bump recommends orange juice as one way to get this superfood in your diet. They say, “The potassium in OJ is important for keeping your muscle function, metabolism and overall health in check. Like iron, pregnant women need to consume more potassium because of their expanding blood volume.”
6. Nuts (and Nut Butters)
Snacking during pregnancy helps keep you full in between meals. And a handful of nuts makes for the perfect on-the-go or at-your-desk snack. It’s nearly mess-free!
The Bump states, “Munching on magnesium-rich foods helps reduce the risk of premature labor and aids in the development of baby's nervous system. A cup of sliced almonds contains nearly 250 mg of magnesium, so keep a stash in your purse for a convenient prenatal power snack.”
7. Sweet Potatoes
If you’re looking for a food that will help you feel full, sweet potato makes for a tasty snack or side dish. Here’s a list of all the goodness the contain: vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, iron, fiber, and beta-carotene. And guess what? They have even more potassium than a banana does!
What’s great about sweet potatoes is that there are many ways to make them. Toast up slices, mash one, or slice and bake them into fries!
Want more protein in your diet? Not only are eggs a great form of protein, but this superfood is also packed with iron, folate, and choline, which aids in your little one’s brain development.
Plus, it’s hard to get bored with this versatile food. Eggs can be cooked in many different ways — scrambled, poached, and over easy — and, if you’re creative in the kitchen, many other ingredients compliment eggs quite nicely (think: yummy avocado toast).