Eating a well-balanced diet full of whole foods is very important during pregnancy. Most people will agree that it is very important to eat well during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to navigate the recommendations for what to include or avoid during pregnancy. This post will provide some guidance on food choices during pregnancy.
A diet filled with whole foods is rich in nutrients. My definition of whole foods is pretty basic—anything that has not been overly processed before you eat it. Some examples of whole foods are meat, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables, seeds and legumes. Processed foods can also fit into a well-balanced pregnancy diet in moderation.
Nutrition needs for pregnancy are individualized so it is very important that you discuss your specific needs with your doctor and dietitian. I will not get into specific guidelines in this post for that reason 😊
I wanted to share some whole foods that I highly recommend including in your diet when you are pregnant. The following foods will provide a variety of nutritional benefits for you and baby!
1. Eggs—Eggs are a great source of choline, protein and vitamin D. All these nutrients are vital for a healthy pregnancy. Choline is essential in baby’s brain development. Protein needs are increased in pregnancy. Vitamin D is very important for bone health and immune function. Eggs are also very versatile. You can prepare them in a variety of ways and include them in your diet several times per week. Make sure you eat the yolks because most of the an egg’s nutrition is in the yolk.
2. Nuts—Nuts are full of healthy fats, protein, fiber and several other micronutrients. Nuts are also a very convenient snack to carry with you when you are on the go. Try to choose nuts that are unsalted to avoid going overboard on sodium.
3. Leafy Greens—Leafy greens are a good source of folate. Folate is essential for preventing birth defects such as spina bifida. Adding leafy greens and other high folate foods to your diet paired with a high quality prenatal vitamin will ensure you get adequate folate.
4. Red meat—Red meat is a great source of iron. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases drastically! The increased blood volume brings oxygen and nutrients to the placenta and baby. Iron is responsible for making hemoglobin which carries oxygen to the cells. So, make sure to add red meat or other iron sources into your diet regularly during pregnancy.
5. Salmon—Salmon is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also low in mercury which needs to be limited in pregnancy.
These are just a few of the many whole foods to include during your pregnancy! We all have different food choices and different pregnancy experiences--so you need to give yourself grace with your eating during pregnancy. If you have any questions about which foods to include, reach out to me and I can help you with an individualized pregnancy wellness plan!