1. Lean Meat: Aim for 3 servings (75 grams) of protein per day. Protein gives you iron, which is essential during pregnancy
2. Lentils: Lentils are packed with folate (vitamin B), and it also boasts protein, vitamin B6, and iron. If you aren’t one for lentils (like me!), you can easily replace lentils with spinach. Spinach contains iron, vitamin A, calcium, and folate
3. Yogurt: Aim for 4 servings (1200mg) per day. Yogurt is a great way to get in your calcium that helps your baby grow. I strongly recommend Greek yogurt. It’s a healthier option, and tastes great in the many flavors it comes in
4. Wild Salmon: Aim for 2-3 servings (8-12 ounces) of fish every week. Wild salmon contains omega 3 essential fatty acids. Although you should have 2-3 servings of fish every week, there are certain types of fish that you must avoid while pregnant:
These certain fishes can be high in toxins like mercury and dioxin, which is toxic to your baby
5. Avocados: Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, if fact, if avocados were the only thing you ate for the rest of your life, you would get all the nutrients your body requires to survive. This being said, it’s no shocker that avocados are one of the best foods to eat while pregnant. They are loaded with folate (if you can’t tell by now, folate is pretty important), potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6
6. Oats: Oats are full of fiber, B vitamins, and iron. Try by having some oatmeal for breakfast in the morning (oats in cookies don’t count people, healthy decisions!)
7. Edamame: Edamame are packed with protein, calcium, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin B. It is also a great gas free stand in for beans (and if you aren’t one for beans, like me!)
8. Nuts: Nuts are never a bad option! They’re great for on the go, and they’re very filling. Nuts are packed with vitamin E and minerals such as: copper, manganese, magnesium, selemiun, zinc, potassium, and calcium. So go ahead and pack some for where ever your day takes you!
9. Carrots/Peppers: Packed with betacarotene (which your body converts to vitamin A), these are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber. Cutting peppers into strips and making ziploc bags full of peppers and carrots are a great way to have a snack throughout the day instead of caving into fast food
10. Mangos: Full of vitamin A & C, mangos are also packed full of magnesium which helps relieve leg cramps. Anyone who’s pregnant knows how excruciating these leg cramps can be, so instead of feeling helpless, dig into a mango!
11. Water: SHOCKER! Water is an essential whether you are pregnant or not. However, your water intake should increase if you are pregnant. Dehydration can up the risk of early labor, and cause low blood pressure. Staying hydrated also helps when you feel faint, nauseated, or constipated.
Although this is a short list, it’s a good start if you’re having troubles with deciding what to eat, and what’s a good option for you and your baby during pregnancy. Other nutritious powerhouse foods that you can choose from include: seeds, yams, winter squash, apricots, kiwi, and papaya. The list goes on and on, but knowing these essential 11 foods will give you a kick start on what to put into your meal plans, keeping you and your baby healthy throughout your whole pregnancy.