Everyone always tells you how joyous pregnancy is, but they may not have told you about all the side effects that come with it. There’s morning sickness, weight gain, acne, constant trips to the bathroom… and if that wasn’t enough, there’s worrying about your baby getting the right amount of nutrition. When I started thinking about what I should eat, my biggest concern was finding foods I actually liked that gave baby the right nutrition (brownies count, right?! – unfortunately not). After some thorough research, I found several foods that are powerhouses for pregnancy and also delicious! So here’s my cheat sheet list of 12 Pregnancy Superfoods that every mom-to-be should add to her diet (and will actually eat).
*For the extra nutrition you and baby need – check out these recommended prenatal vitamins*
We love sweet potato in our house (in fact, my 6-year-old can’t get enough of it)! It contains tons of vitamin A & C, and is a great source of potassium, folic acid, and fiber. These nutrients can help reduce leg cramps, constipation, and water retention – which could be especially helpful in the 3rd trimester! Just remember to eat sweet potatoes in moderation, as too much vitamin A can actually be a bad for momma and baby.
Hello potassium superfood! Do I really need extra convincing to eat this? While bananas are typically known for their potassium and the sweet potato is a great source, avocados contain even more! Not to mention the high amounts of good fats, fiber, folic acid, and vitamin B-6. Overall avocado is a super nutritious option to maintain healthy growth for you and baby!
While spinach is a superfood for everyone, one serving of spinach contains just about every vitamin you need during pregnancy. Woah! Combat the water retention, inflammation, and constipation during your later months by ensuring you have enough spinach in your diet. I like mine sautéed with some butter and garlic; or you can dress is up with your favorite salad toppings for even more nutrition!
Calcium and probiotics are super important for expecting mommas. The calcium helps baby grow strong bones and the probiotics assist your digestive system. Greek yogurt is the best option because it contains both probiotics and calcium and typically contains about twice the protein of regular yogurt! Just be sure to watch the sugar count, because high sugars can counter the probiotics.
Seafood is great in moderation during pregnancy. The omega-3’s are critical to healthy baby development and can even improve your mood – bye-bye mood swings! Salmon is the perfect low-mercury option packed with several additional nutrients you need, such as high amounts of: potassium, protein, and vitamin B-6. Having morning sickness or trouble sleeping? This is the perfect food to help combat those symptoms!
Get rid of those irritating leg cramps by adding more bananas to your diet. If you feel any morning sickness coming on, these can help as they are mild, easy to get down, and can fight it off. Plus, bananas help prevent anemia, increase energy, and reduce pregnancy swelling! I personally love cutting up one up with some peanut butter as a healthy afternoon snack.
Holy vitamin C! Pineapples contain a huge amount in addition to high quantities of potassium, fiber, and vitamin B-6! I like to think of this fruit as the cure-all to pregnancy funk. It helps get rid of leg cramps, constipation, and pregnancy swelling. And if you’re having trouble sleeping or feeling bleh, pineapple can help here too! I’ll take mine with some cottage cheese please.
Some of you may be having flash backs to your mom saying “eat your broccoli,” but this vegetable is super beneficial to both you and baby. It contains a number of pregnancy nutrients you need and is packed with fiber and antioxidants to fight away disease. Broccoli may be tough to eat raw, but pair it with some dressing or cheese sauce and you may just find a new favorite snack.
Just like greek yogurt, mozzarella helps with your daily calcium intake. While soft cheeses should be avoided during pregnancy, mozzarella is a totally safe cheese to consume. It’s also full of protein for a meat-free option and is great paired with your favorite whole-grain crackers.
Adding eggs to your prenatal diet will help you with your daily protein needs and also provides a crucial vitamin: choline. Choline supports baby in developing a healthy brain and spinal cord. It also assists in tube defect prevention. Boiled, scrambled, however you like it – make sure you’re eating enough eggs.
Compared with other veggies, asparagus has high folic acid content! Combine that with its fiber, calcium, and additional vitamins and you have a food that is perfect for helping baby grow. Asparagus is also great for improving digestion and helping your body naturally rid of toxins. What does this mean for you? Less swelling and a momma left feeling good!
One of my go-to snacking items is almonds. They have tons of protein, healthy fats, and fiber along with several other nutrients. Not only can a handful of almonds combat morning sickness, it can also improve any restless sleeping or low energy spikes you may have. I’ll never say no to a healthy way to boost my energy – pregnancy can really drain you!
BONUS: Chocolate Malt-O-Meal (made with milk)
Malt-O-Meal is a nutrient-packed, hot wheat cereal that you can pick up or order from the store. As it states on the box, this is a good source of folic acid, calcium and iron: 3 of the most important ingredients in a prenatal vitamin! You can even add in some milk and other favorite ingredients to boost it even further. (a list of ingredients can be found here.)
Chime in mommas! What other pregnancy superfoods are in your diet?
Please consult with a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet. The information in this post is not intended to be taken as medical advice.