In this article: Pregnancy is a turbulent phase with several highs and lows. Every pregnant woman goes through a lot of stress. While hormones are a partial reason, worrying about various things such as dietary requirements and what foods to eat during pregnancy contributes significantly to stress in a mom-to-be. There is a need for more calories and fluid intake during the second and third trimesters. This article lists a few pregnancy superfoods that provide more calories along with impressive nutrients needed for a pregnant woman.
Medically reviewed by: Dalia Al Andary, BS (Nutrition and Dietetics)
The arrival of a new member to the family is exciting to everyone, but for the expecting mother, it is equally stressful. Day in and day out, the mom-to-be has enough worries regarding her baby’s growth and health.
Am I eating the right food? Is my intake too little or too much? Am I getting enough sleep? Do I drink sufficient water? And so on.
The importance of a healthy balanced diet in any person is emphasised enough. But is it any different for a pregnant woman?
Yes, the dietary needs of a pregnant woman are a little different from those of a normal human being. For example, an expecting mother would need more iron, folic acid, iodine, vitamins D, B6, B12, and protein than the recommended daily intake.
Also, she would need 340 extra calories in the second trimester and 450 more calories in the third trimester. With the increase in calories, she must increase her fluid intake as well roughly equal to the calorie increase. That is 340 ml more fluids in the second trimester and 450 ml more in the third trimester.
As you know, it is vital to nurture your baby right from its days in your womb. Hence, what you eat when pregnant becomes super important because you are feeding your baby as well.
So, how do you ensure you get the extra calories? By including high energy foods such as carbs and fats? No. You must take care to include foods that can give you more calories along with healthy nutrients. And, we call them Pregnancy superfoods!
Listed here are seven pregnancy superfoods an expecting mother should include in her daily diet. These superfoods would do the most job in less quantity. Further, they are abundant in folic acid, Omega6 fatty acids, minerals, and micro-nutrients that support the development of a healthy child.
Seven pregnancy superfoods for supermoms
One of the pregnancy superfoods, fish, contain DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) along with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acid required to build your baby’s brain, eyes, and nervous system. Also, iodine requirement increases by 50% during pregnancy and fish such as cod, shrimp, sardine, and salmon are naturally rich in iodine.
So, get some Baked Dijon Salmons! And learn some recipes to make your diet savouring.
- A must note here is to avoid fish high in mercury. A popular few high in mercury are Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel, Bigeye tuna.
- You must also avoid raw seafood as it may cause food poisoning.
Roughly you get 200 calories from 100gms of cooked fish.
Pumpkin seeds, almonds, groundnuts, walnuts, cashew, and pistachios! Which one is your favourite? All are rich sources of minerals, healthy fats, proteins, and fibres. They are amazing foods to eat during pregnancy and the best snacks expecting mothers can eat in-between meals. They will increase your good cholesterol and reduce fatigue. The quantity, you ask? A fistful of assorted nuts every day!
A fistful will be 30gms of nuts that can give you around 200 calories.
Beans can rightly be called pregnancy superfoods because they have an impressive quantity of iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins like B12, C, A, and good proteins. Some lentils and beans to include during pregnancy are black beans, white beans, pinto, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, and black-eyed peas.
If you are wondering how to make beans enjoyable on your plate, here are some ideas. You can include them in soups, stir-fry, salads, and even in your staple dishes. So, another must-have on your plate in today’s meal for the taste and nutrients!
A 100 grams of cooked beans can provide you with 130 calories.
A well-known fact, fruits give you a bunch of nutrients. In addition, they are the best products of nature suited to your temperament and probably the best tasting foods to eat during pregnancy. Banana, pomegranate, cherry, berry, or apple; you can have the fruit of your choice. Also, try to have locally grown seasonal fruits which will be tastier and healthier for obvious reasons.
As a mom-to-be, you can safely take two to four servings of fruits (roughly equal to the quantity of 2 medium-sized apples). And, do wash the fruits very well to avoid foodborne illnesses due to contamination.
Approximately you get 120 calories from 2 cups of fruits.
Eggs are another superfood highly beneficial to an expecting mother. An efficient source of protein and vitamins, eggs provide you with iron and iodine as well.
If you can, get ‘Omega-3’ or ‘DHA’ marked eggs! These chicks have been fed with omega-3 rich food, so including such eggs provides you with the essential Omega-3 fatty acids good for a child’s brain development and retina development.
Also, avoid myths related to eggs. Eat well-processed eggs to prevent flu virus and bacteria, which are often seen in farm-fed eggs.
Calories per egg are around 80 calories, and you can safely take two eggs per day.
Like fruits, vegetables are an inherent part of any cuisine, and they are incredible pregnancy superfoods. Vegetables can be especially appealing during your first trimester when most women have difficulty retaining the food they take due to nausea.
With loads of fibre and other nutrients, including an assortment of veggies on your plate is good throughout pregnancy. The more colourful your meal is, the more diverse their nutrients are! They will also keep you hydrated and your baby kicking!
Carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, beets, tomatoes, green peas, and bell peppers – the list goes on. You can include veggies in diverse ways. Eat them as juicy curries, salads, smoothies, soups, pickles or give them your personal touch by trying new recipes.
Like fruits, vegetables also can be contaminated with bacteria. So wash them well before consumption!
You get approximately 50 calories from 1 serving or 1 cup of vegetables. So a mom-to-be can safely take four to five servings of vegetables in a day.
7. Milk Products
Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt are excellent foods to eat during pregnancy for getting those extra calories. Further, they are rich in protein, calcium, and minerals such as iodine.
Yogurt will supply you with 50% more protein than your daily requirement. Further, they are good probiotics to help you fight bacterial infection not only during your prenatal period and labour but will also keep your baby free of allergies up to five years of age. However, restrict unpasteurised dairy products as they may cause infections. Also, it is good to opt for low-fat dairy products.
A 100 gm of cheese would give you 400 calories, a 100 gm of yogurt with 60 calories and 100 ml milk with 40 calories. So you can alternate between 2 cups of milk, 1 cup of yogurt, or two slices of cheese in a day to get the optimal amount of nutrients but not too much.
As an expecting mother, you deserve to enjoy your pregnancy without worrying about nutritional needs and lapses in them. Listed above are pregnancy superfoods; nevertheless, they are available quite easily. So, remember them and include them in your meal every day. And, be rest assured, your baby is happy inside, growing very well the way it should!
Edited by love4wellness | Images: canva.com