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13 Super Foods for Expectant Mothers

These days we hear about super foods for this and super foods for that. There is one group of super foods you shouldn’t ignore though, and those are designated for expectant moms.

pregnant woman eating super foods

Eating for two doesn’t mean packing on the pounds, but it does mean eating those foods with the proper nutrients for both you and the healthy development of your new baby. Here are some that just might do the trick: 

Broccoli and All Leafy Greens

The darker the better for this superfood, because darker means more nutrients and vitamins.  Spinach, kale, turnip greens, and swiss chard are all rich in fiber, folate, and antioxidants. Broccoli is especially rich in Vitamin C, and helps you to absorb iron exceptionally well when eaten with brown rice or whole wheat pasta. These foods are better cooked than raw since you will consume more if cooked. They help with constipation, reduce the risk of low birth weight, and aid in digestion.

Eggs

Eggs remain an excellent source of protein. Make omelets with veggies and cheese for a simple dinner during pregnancy. If their smell is difficult to take while cooking, make them hard boiled and eat as a snack, quick and easy breakfast, or chopped up in salads. They help build a strong spinal cord and support your child’s memory.

Lean Meats

Lean beef, pork, and chicken are all rich sources of protein, iron, and Vitamin B. The iron will help prevent anemia and fatigue while protecting against premature birth and low birth weight.

For a simple recipe, try: Steak fajitas with peppers and onions.

Salmon

Loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, expectant mothers should consume 8 -12 oz per week. This fish contains nutrients like Vitamin D, which helps to enhance brain and retina development. Wild salmon is recommended over farm raised.

Bananas

Bananas are an inexpensive way to get your potassium for added energy. Plus they are easy on an expectant mother’s stomach! Bananas are quite portable so you can take them anywhere. They help prevent muscle cramps, and are easily added to cereals, yogurt, or a variety of different smoothies.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a super food containing Vitamin A plus loads of fiber and complex carbohydrates. No matter how you prepare them they will keep you satisfied to prevent overeating, balance your blood sugar level, and improve digestive health.

Here is a great recipe for: Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Legumes

Chickpeas, lentils, peas, soybeans, and black beans are all super sources of fiber to ward off constipation. One cup of cooked lentils equals one half of your daily folate requirement, and these plant-based foods are a great source of iron that is especially important during the first trimester. Legumes are perfect companions with rice dishes and in salads.

Cheese

Skip the soft cheeses and choose cheddar and mozzarella instead. High in protein and calcium, cheese is the perfect accompaniment to eggs, and lean meat sandwiches with whole wheat bread.

Red Bell Peppers

Believe it or not, a red bell pepper contains three times the Vitamin C as an orange. This superfood for expectant mothers is rich in antioxidants which will help your immune system, allow your body absorb more iron, and also support the brain development of your developing baby.

Oatmeal

Adding oatmeal to your regular diet even a couple times a week makes you feel fuller longer due to its complex carbs. In addition, plain oatmeal will help lower cholesterol. You can add berries or maple syrup for some sweetening if desired.

Yogurt and Dairy

One cup of plain yogurt makes up 30% of your daily calcium requirement while pregnant. It contains probiotics and good bacteria for your gut. The Greek varieties contain even more protein, so choose that over the type with added sugars. Sweeten your yogurt instead with berries and/or cinnamon. Dairy products in general contain protein, Vitamin B, and phosphorus, all of which are needed by expectant mothers and their growing babies.  

Berries

These might be the super superfood for expectant mothers. They provide water, healthy carbohydrates, few calories, Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Perfect snacks and great additives to oatmeal or a salad, berries keep you hydrated while remaining low in calories so you don’t have to worry about eating lots of them.

Avocados

Avocados have even more potassium than bananas. They also contain lots of good stuff for you and your baby, namely Vitamin B, K, C, E, and extra fiber. They are full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which benefit the skin and tissue of your growing baby. Slice some into salads of leafy greens or make a batch of guacamole.

Who says you can’t enjoy great food when you are an expectant mother?

Contact VA Women’s Health at (703) 435-2555 for more superfood ideas to help sustain both you and baby throughout your pregnancy.