When you’re expecting you want to eat right, for yourself and your baby. Here are eight amazing edibles that will help you do just that:
You can eat this power food straight out of the bag as a snack (watch the added salt) or add them as a tasty topping for salads, string beans, chicken, rice, whatever. Almonds are rich in healthy fat—the monounsaturated kind, which is necessary and beneficial, particularly during pregnancy—as well as important protein, Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.
Similarly loaded with that hearty-healthy fat, avocados are a good source of fiber and several essential nutrients, including folate, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and potassium. Here’s an easy guacamole recipe: take a ripe avocado, peeled and pitted, and smash the fruit with a fork; add a generous helping of fresh squeezed lime juice, a pinch of salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh cilantro. Slather on your next sandwich in lieu of mayonnaise.
Rich in vitamin C, broccoli helps the body absorb iron; it is also loaded with calcium, folate and fiber. Be sure to steam cook it to retain nutrients. If you don’t have a steamer, boil briefly in a minimal amount of water, or stir-fry the spears in extra virgin olive oil and be sure not to overcook—it should still be crunchy when you eat it.
When you’re pregnant, you need protein, and eggs are a cheap and easy way to help make sure you’re getting enough—especially if you’re not so much into beef and other meat. And eggs contain a dozen other essential nutrients besides. Keep them on hand in hard-boiled form to be eaten whole or blended with chopped celery and a touch of mayo and diced celery and served on whole grain bread. Eggs are also relatively low in saturated fat, and previous worries about their cholesterol content have been shown to be overblown. Be sure to cook your eggs thoroughly as raw eggs can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Read what experts are saying about eggs on WebMD.
All types of beans do the pregnant body good, for all the protein, iron, fiber and folate they provide, but we are partial to the lentil for its dainty size and versatility. Served cold, lentils make a great salad with chopped fresh vegetables such as sweet peppers and onions dressed in olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. They’re also terrific mixed with rice, barley and other grains, or as the main ingredient for a hearty soup.
Forget the packets of instant oats that contain extra sugar and salt and go for the natural whole grain version you cook yourself. Either 100% rolled or steel cut will do just fine, and your body will benefit from all the iron, fiber and complex carbohydrates. Stir in some maple syrup as a natural sweetener.
Super-rich in omega-3 fats, salmon is good for the baby’s development, and good brain and heart food for you too. But don’t overdo it. Though considered low in terms of mercury content, the FDA recommends no more than 12 oz. of salmon (or any low-mercury fish for that matter) per week. Choose wild caught over farmed.
You could drink low-fat milk to help reach your daily recommended intake of calcium and protein, but with Greek yogurt you’ll get a satisfying snack to boot. Buy plain to avoid unnecessary sugar, and choose brands that don’t add thickeners and fillers like gelatin and corn starch. Throw in a handful of fresh berries or sliced bananas and drizzle with honey. Yum!