The Best 5 Foods To Support Nutrient Intake During Pregnancy

The Best 5 Foods To Support Nutrient Intake During Pregnancy

 By Jenny Tschiesche BSc(Hons) Dip(ION) FdSc BANT 

 

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am sure you have been overwhelmed with new information and advice from well-meaning relatives, from books and from Dr Google.  Whilst you may have read about pregnancy foods and what you should and shouldn’t eat we would like to try and make it even easier for you by sharing the 5 best foods to eat during pregnancy to support a healthy pregnancy. Not only that but we will share some ideas on how best to enjoy them too.

 

Lentils

Just 75g of cooked lentils packs around 17g of protein, along with about 7mg of iron. Lentils are a rich source of folate too. Folate is vital for formation of the brain and nervous system in your baby.

Lentils are also high in fibre. That means that they can help keep your digestive system ticking over nicely whilst also staving off pregnancy-related constipation as well as helping to manage blood sugar levels.

Using lentils in a plant-based bolognaise (just reduce the cooking time by about 50% versus a meat-based version) is a straight-forward way to integrate lentils into your diet. Even more straightforward is buying tins or jars of pre-cooked lentils, draining and rinsing them and adding to salads.

 

Yogurt

A growing baby needs calcium for growing bones. Dairy foods can help meet your daily calcium needs. Yogurt is a particularly good choice because gram for gram, it contains as much calcium as milk, but it is also packed with protein and folate. The good bacteria (probiotics) in yogurt can also help prevent stomach upset as well as yeast infections (which are more common in pregnancy).

Be careful to choose plain yogurt without added sugar. You can always sweeten it yourself at home. Some of the most delicious additions include fruit compotes, nuts and dried fruit. Even better is a drizzle of maple syrup and some nuts with banana which creates a sort of “banoffee” yogurt experience.

 

Avocado

Again, a source of folate, along with vitamin B6, both of which promote healthy tissue and brain growth for baby.

You may find that avocado helps you deal with morning sickness too. Avocadoes provide important monounsaturated fats, which help your body better absorb fat soluble nutrients including the vitamin E contained within avocadoes themselves. It is the fat content that is satisfying and can help you stave off cravings and hunger pangs.

If smashed avocado on toast is not your thing then try freezing ripe peeled avocado and adding it to smoothies. It will provide great creamy texture and combines nicely with other fruits.

 

Nuts

Nuts are a veritable powerhouse of nutrients from the micronutrient’s magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamin E, to the macronutrient’s protein, fibre and healthy fats.

They are portable and so make a great snack. They can also be enjoyed in several forms including nut butter, satay sauces and raw or roasted.

The superstar nuts are the walnut because walnuts are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, the almond because they provide a dose of calcium, and peanuts (not technically a nut but it’s made the list anyway!) thanks to their folate content.

 

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Fibre, water, folate, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium are just some of the many positives going for dark green leafy vegetables. They are going to contribute to your digestive health and immune system whilst providing for your growing baby too.

Try to include a bowl of green vegetables 3 times per week at least. Broccoli, rocket, pak choi, lettuces, kale, cabbage, chard and spinach should all be included if possible.

If you are not a fan or raw veg simply stir-fry in a little coconut or avocado oil and add some chilli and garlic with a little seasoning for good measure.

 

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