When we talk about preparing for parenthood and pregnancy, we would be remiss if we didn't include taking care of yourself. Over the next few blogs, we are going to take a look at some of the best foods you can be eating before and during pregnancy.
When it comes to the best foods to eat when pregnant, try to reach for picks that pack plenty of nutrients into each bite. This will help you and your baby get the vitamins and minerals you both need. (Though the occasional cookie or ice cream cone is just fine, so don’t feel bad about treating yourself from time to time!)
Speaking of nutrients, while all are important right now, the best foods for pregnancy are high in vitamins and minerals that play a key role in supporting your baby’s growth and development, including:
Folic acid. Getting at least 600 micrograms per day during pregnancy reduces the risk for neural tube defects.
Iron. You need nearly twice as much iron during pregnancy, or 27 milligrams daily. The mineral is used to make more blood that carries oxygen to your baby.
Calcium. Aim for 1,000 milligrams daily. Calcium is key to help your baby build strong bones, teeth, muscles and nerves.
Vitamin D. It helps calcium do its job and keeps your immune system strong. You should get 600 IU daily.
DHA. An omega-3 fatty acid, DHA plays a role in your baby’s brain and eye development. You need 200 to 300 milligrams per day.
Iodine. The mineral promotes your baby’s brain and nervous system development. You should get 290 micrograms daily.
Keeping track of your nutritional needs during pregnancy can feel like a big job, but picking the right foods can help you cover more of your bases. (Along with taking a prenatal vitamin, of course.) So make an effort to keep these pregnancy superfoods on hand — and make them mainstays of your daily menus.
The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of every cell in both your body and your baby's. High-protein foods also keep your hunger at bay by stabilizing your blood sugar, which is why you should aim for three servings (that's about 75 grams) of protein per day.
That makes lean meat one of the best foods to eat during pregnancy. In addition to being protein-packed, it’s also high in iron, critical to help your baby develop his red blood cell supply and support yours, too (blood volume increases when you’re pregnant, which is why anemia during pregnancy is so common). Iron also plays a role in baby's brain development.
How to eat it: Lean beef cuts like round, sirloin, chuck, and loin; ground beef with less than 15 percent fat; pork tenderloin or loin chop; poultry like chicken and turkey; and lamb leg, arm or loin all fit the bill. A little goes a long way, so add your favorite cut to veggie-filled soups, salads and rice or noodle dishes. Finally, remember to cook your meat thoroughly. An internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit is high enough to kill illness-causing bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.
Stay tuned next week as we continue our list of nutritional foods to keep on hand!
Resource: what to expect