How wonderful is the feeling when the expectant parents notice the second pink line on the pregnancy test kit! Dreams about the unborn kick start within like the flutters of butterfly. Before you even know, the couple start being protective about the baby in the womb and think about ways of safe delivery and healthy baby. The essential nurturing of the conceived baby lies in the food that the expectant mother takes. Type of food, quality, quantity, and time of intake decide how well the nutrition is supplied to the expanding womb and the delicate life within.
Pregnancy is a period of research and practice. Especially the first time parents need to learn more about the dos and don’ts during this vital period. While generally 12% more food is required during pregnancy, the expectant mothers need 1800 (first trimester)-2400 (third trimester) calories to keep in pace with the growing requirements of the baby. Having said that, there are few vital foods that are the best ones to be included in their daily diet. These vital foods are essential in keeping the mother’s body fit during and after pregnancy. Take a look at those 8 best foods to eat during pregnancy. Make note to include a choice of all these foods every day to fulfil the nutritional demands of the growing baby and the future fitness of expectant moms.
With at least 9-11% proteins and calcium, considerable quantities of iron, vitamin B6, magnesium and vitamin C, beans like green beans, broad beans, lima beans, peas, soybeans, kidney beans qualify to be included in the daily diet of expectant mothers. Since these have a high amount of fiber, commonly found digestive problems like constipation or hemorrhoids during pregnancy are avoided. Try to include at least a cup of boiled beans in daily diet. Make interesting recipes with various types of beans to ensure you are not bored of them.
Wholegrains are most sought food during pregnancy because of their high nutritive value and carbohydrates. Wholegrains like oats, quinoa, flaxseed, barley, ragi, and millets contain a lot of fiber in addition to selenium, proteins, calcium and nutrients required for baby’s brain development. Innovate ways to include wholegrains in your everyday diet to reap the benefits. Explore recipes that won’t stop at rice, chapati, breads, or baked oats.
3. Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are a great source of folic acid, vitamin C & B complex, micronutrients, and fiber. Choose from spinach, lettuce, kale, vegetable greens and many more edible greens that are available locally to prepare various recipes. 1-2 cups of packed green leafy vegetables included in various recipes keep pregnant women nourished.
Fruits supply beta carotene, potassium, sodium, folic acid and lot of hydration which are helpful for bones, blood and in preventing neural tube defects during birth of the baby. Have 2-3 cups of fruits in a day. Apricots, apple, banana, cherries, berries, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, melons, kiwi, pomegranate have been found most beneficial during gestation (pregnancy). Avocados help in brain and tissue development of baby. Along with whole cut fruits, include them in fruit juice, smoothie, or various baked recipes.
Vegetables are a great source of phytonutrients and make a filling accompaniment with most Indian breads or cooked wholegrains as side dish. Among other vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots have carotene which are converted to vitamin A only when needed and hence its carotene is not drained waste. Tomatoes aid in absorption of vitamin C. Avocados help in brain and tissue development of baby. Beetroots have the ability to purify blood and hence beneficial during pregnancy. Rotate the type of veggies used in food every day and try to up your vegetable intake to 4 servings per day. In fact, 4-5 small meals during pregnancy is always good for the mother’s digestive system and ensures calm sleep during night. Vegetables can be had as salads, in sandwiches, or cooked along with spices to make recipes from various cuisines.
6. Dry Fruits and Nuts
Dry fruits and nuts can be called the compact storehouse of essential nutrients. Munching on the dried cranberries, prunes, raisins, apricots can give instant energy. Nuts have calcium, iron and protein and are considered a particular boon for vegetarian mothers. Try to avoid sugar coated or fried nuts since they come with undesirable fat resulting in idle weight gain. Consume nuts and dry fruits daily in their natural form or by adding them in healthy snacks or foods.
7. Milk & Dairy Products
A glass of milk every day without fail is necessary to maintain calcium, protein and vitamin D levels in the body. The new life within needs almost double the calcium that is required by women otherwise. Apart from milk, expectant mothers can rely for 3 cups of dairy products on yogurt (which is also a natural coolant), cheese (make sure you stay away from unpasteurized cheeses like feta, brie, camembert, blue cheese, queso). Try various dairy-based recipes to reap its benefits.
Eggs have essential protein, fats, minerals like selenium, zinc, vitamins A, B complex, D etc which are required during pregnancy. Raw eggs may contain harmful microorganisms which may risk various diseases; hence avoid raw or partially boiled eggs in any recipes during pregnancy. Make the most of recipes that contain eggs. 1-2 eggs can be consumed during pregnancy to keep yourself and your baby nourished.