Top 5 things to eat during your pregnancy


1) A little bit of healthy fat

The two healthiest fats include omega 3s and monounsaturated fats. Read about the omega-3 benefits, dietary sources and needs during pregnancy here (please link to last month’s blog). Food sources of healthy monounsaturated fats include olives and olive oil, avocados, nuts, nut oils and nut butters, and canola oil. Add a small portion a few times a day to keep you satisfied in between meals and snacks, help absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and keep your skin soft and hair shiny.

2) Calcium-rich roods

The daily recommended intake of calcium during pregnancy is 1200 mg, so most women benefit from a calcium supplement during pregnancy (take this at least 2 hours apart from your prenatal vitamin, as iron and calcium compete for absorption). However, research shows that calcium from dairy impacts bone density more favorably than supplemental calcium, so including three servings of dairy each day is a good idea for non-vegans. In addition to yogurt, milk, and cheese, some non-dairy foods are natural sources of calcium, including legumes and greens like kale and collards.

3) Whole grains or starchy vegetables

Pregnancy is not the time to avoid carbs, but there is no benefit to increasing your intake of refined grains, highly-processed high-carb snacks, or sweets. Instead, get a serving of whole grains or starchy vegetables with each meal. Both are packed with minerals, vitamins, and fiber. In addition to whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, steel cut oats and brown rice, try quinoa, barley, bulgur, amaranth, sweet potatoes and winter squash.

4) Colorful vegetables and whole fruit

A prenatal vitamin is very important, but there are so many phytonutrients that aren’t available in any pill! Three to four servings of non-starchy vegetables and one to two servings of whole fruit each day delivers phytonutrient antioxidant power for cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory properties to reduce pain and cardiovascular disease risk, and lower risk of gestational diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Aim to eat vegetables and fruits from all the different color groups, because each color group has its own set of phytonutrients. Whole fruits and vegetables also provide abundant fiber to prevent constipation. For best health, eat more non-starchy veggie servings than fruit servings, and limit intake of fruit juice and dried fruit, which can be high in sugar.

5) At least 75 grams dietary protein

Most pregnant women get plenty of protein in a day, but it’s worth tracking for a few days to get a sense of your typical consumption. You can find the amount of protein in a food by searching online. Make sure you are measuring the portion of food you eat to get an accurate protein count.

Good sources of protein include eggs, seafood*, poultry*, lean meats*, yogurt (particularly Greek), cheese, milk, beans*, nuts & seeds*, some whole grains like quinoa, soy products* including tofu and tempeh, and seitan*. (Foods marked with an asterisk are good sources of iron as well as protein.)

Your increased protein needs start in the first trimester of pregnancy. If you are having trouble getting enough protein in due to morning sickness, consider a protein supplement (powder or ready-to-drink shake) that is low in sugar and made from whey, soy or egg protein.

Those are the top five things to eat daily during pregnancy. Remember to also drink plenty of water (aim for a minimum of 80 oz per day) and take your prenatal vitamin.

Here’s to your health!

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay

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