A healthy pregnancy involves maintaining a well-balanced diet and exercising, but also making sure your diet is rich in nutrients. Power foods are great because they are filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that both mom-to-be and baby need. Incorporating these pregnancy power foods into your diet will help meet daily nutrition recommendations.
Eggs are a great pregnancy power food for a number of reasons. First, they are a strong source of protein. Second, they are also inexpensive to buy and can be served in a number of ways – as an omelet, scrambled, fried, hard boiled (eaten alone or on a salad). Third, egg yolks contain the nutrient choline. A Cornell University study shows that choline consumption during pregnancy can lead to cognitive benefits for babies.
Maintaining high iron levels is important for pregnant woman. Lentils are a great power food for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Lentils are rich in iron… along with folic acid, protein and vitamin B6. They also pair perfectly with soups, salads, or as a side dish with meals.
Calcium is important for babies’ growing bones, along with muscle strength and nerve functions for women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends all women get between 1,000 – 1,300 mg of calcium each day. Yogurt is a great source of calcium, and it is also filled with folate and protein. One added benefit is that yogurt contains “good bacteria” which can help prevent upset stomachs and yeast infections.
Broccoli is a member of the “super veggies club.” This means it is high in many minerals, nutrients, and vitamins including iron, fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K. Also, the ACOG says broccoli is a great source of calcium for women who have trouble digesting milk products (or have a dairy allergy). Broccoli can be eaten cooked, raw, or steamed.
Lean meat is recommended in diets for all pregnant women. Salmon is an excellent source of lean protein. Eating fish means consuming omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that assist in baby’s brain and eye development. If you’re worried about mercury content in seafood, salmon is considered safe to eat by the ACOG. Salmon is also rich in vitamin D.
Nuts are a fantastic source of omega-3s for moms-to-be who don’t like seafood. Snacking on nuts will also bring you closer to meeting your recommended daily dose of calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, and protein. Just remember that nuts are high in calories and fat, so don’t go overboard!
For more information about which nutritional options are recommended for you, please consult your provider.