The 6 Best Foods for Moms-to-Be

Updated on October 7th, 2020
foods to eat when you are pregnant

When you’re pregnant, you may end up craving foods regardless of whether they’re healthy or not. Then there’s the thing you’re eating for two, so the desire to binge can be at an all-time high.

However, an increase in appetite and cravings can do you and your unborn baby good – but only if you’re taking the proper foods. To be sure you and your unborn baby are receiving the most minerals and nutrients you can, load up on these foods now.

Foods to Eat when you are pregnant

1. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is generally high in fiber, calories, and various minerals and vitamins. One dried fruit piece contains the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, just without all the water and a much short form.

Therefore, one serving of dried fruit can offer a massive percentage of the recommended intake of many minerals and vitamins, including iron, folate, and potassium [1].

Prunes are rich in potassium, fiber,  sorbitol, and vitamin K. They are natural laxatives and can be very useful in easing constipation. Dates are high in potassium, fiber, plant compounds, and iron. Regular date consumption in the 3rd trimester can help facilitate cervical dilation and minimize the requirement to induce labor.

However, dried fruit also contains adequate amounts of natural sugar. Make sure to avoid the candied variants, which have even more sugar.

Although dried fruit may help increase nutrient and calorie intake, it is usually not suggested to take over one serving at a time.

2. Whole Grains

Consuming whole grains can help meet the increased calorie requirements of pregnancy, particularly during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Unlike refined grains, whole grains are abundant in plant compounds, vitamins, and fiber.

Quinoa and oats also contain a fair amount of protein, which is essential during pregnancy. Moreover, whole grains are usually rich in B-vitamins, magnesium, and fiber. All of these are regularly lacking in the diets of pregnant women [2].

3. Legumes

This group of food includes peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, peanuts, and soybeans. Legumes are excellent plant-based sources of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and folate (B9) — all of which your body requires more during pregnancy.

Folate is one of the B9 (B vitamins). It’s crucial for the health of the fetus and mother, particularly during the 1st trimester.

However, most pregnant women are not taking nearly adequate folate.

This has been associated with an increased risk of low birth weight and neural tube defects. Inadequate folate intake can also cause your child to become more prone to disease and infections later in life. Legumes contain adequate amounts of folate. One cup of chickpea lentils or black beans can offer from 65–90% of the RDA.

Moreover, legumes are generally very rich in fiber. Some varieties are also great in magnesium, iron, and potassium.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are abundant in beta-carotene, a plant substance that is converted into vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is essential for the differentiation and growth of most tissues and cells. It’s vital for active fetal development.

Pregnant women are generally recommended to increase 10–40% of their vitamin A intake. However, they are also suggested to skip extremely high amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, which can cause toxicity when taken in excess.

Therefore, beta-carotene is a critical source of vitamin A for pregnant women. Sweet potatoes are a brilliant source of beta-carotene. About 3.5–5.3 ounces (100–150 grams) of cooked sweet potato fulfills the entire Reference Daily Intake (RDI) (25).

Furthermore, sweet potatoes contain fiber, which may increase fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes, and improve digestive health and mobility.

[Read: Health Benefits of Sweet Potato]

5. Leafy Greens And Veggies

 a) Spinach 

 Spinach is a powerhouse of iron and folate.

b) Broccoli 

Being rich in folate and calcium, broccoli is a must-have power food during pregnancy. It is also dense in antioxidants, Vitamin C, fiber, and several other nutrients. It also supports in absorbing iron from other foods.

c) Avocado 

It is a fruit, but is mostly eaten as a vegetable. It is very rich in potassium, even higher than bananas, has the highest fiber content among fruits,  full of monounsaturated fats, and is the richest fruit source of vitamin E.

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[Read: Health Benefits of Avocado]

d) Carrots 

Carrots (and any other vegetable or orange fruit, e.g., pepper, butternut squash, pumpkin, mango, sweet potato) are rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene. They help shield against cancer, heart disease, promote eyesight and healthy skin.

e) Tomatoes 

This lycopene and lutein-rich food is a great energy booster and is critical for healthy eyes.

f) Fennel 

This amazing plant stimulates the body’s natural detoxifying process, mostly working on the liver. Fennel’s rich potassium content helps rebalance the body’s fluid levels.

Opt for dark-colored high vitamin leafy greens and lettuces to add to your sandwiches and salads.

g) Fruits

Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are tasty and rich in antioxidants. Incorporate them to your breakfast or eat them plain. Berries contain potassium, Vitamin C,  fiber, and folate.

h) Bananas 

Pregnancy can make you feel exhausted, so bananas rich in potassium content provide a quick energy boost. They are also simple to digest, mainly when you are nauseated. Take them whole or slice them up and add to smoothies, fortified cereal, or low-fat yogurt.

i) Oranges 

Oranges are composed of around 90% water, so they effectively help you meet your daily fluid needs. Dehydration makes pregnancy fatigue severe. They also contain folate, Vitamin C, and fiber.

j) Coconut 

Meat and juice of coconut act as anti-bacterial and anti-virals. Coconut oil is an incredible source of fatty acids.

k) Apples 

Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers blood cholesterol levels and promotes healthy bowel function. They are also abundant in immune-boosting Vitamin C.

While this list of food can be advantageous during pregnancy, this is only a guide. Remember that every pregnancy and every person is different, so your medical practitioner will be able to advise whether you have additional nutritional requirements. 

Bottom Line

As you have probably observed, many of these foods can be relished as part of a healthy diet. Eating vitamin-rich foods is one of the finest ways to ensure both you and your baby are in the best possible health — we hope this list has been useful!

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