Health & Wellness

5 best foods for pregnant women

When you're pregnant, eat with two in mind, but don’t actually eat for two! Remember, while you do need to eat a diet rich in nutrients like calcium and iron, you only need an extra 300 calories per day during the second and third trimesters.

Just like when you’re not pregnant, aim for eating three meals and two snacks per day. This will help keep blood-sugar levels stable and provide you with energy. While you should be focusing on your overall diet full of fresh, whole foods, the below eats, in particular, will give you an extra nutritious boost for you and your bun in the oven.

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New Baby Basics: How to dress for pregnancy and beyond

Play Video - 2:49

New Baby Basics: How to dress for pregnancy and beyond

Play Video - 2:49

1. Broccoli

You don’t have to be a milk drinker to get in your calcium. A serving of these little mini trees provides you with calcium (and folate, iron and fiber — all important for a healthy pregnancy and baby). Calcium is vital for building your babe's strong bones and teeth, and also for nerve and heart development. Roasting broccoli is a great quick and easy go-to, but cooking it into mini quiches is way more fun.

RELATED: 8 dos and don'ts: Diet tips for pregnancy

2. Lentils

Your prenatal vitamins and these guys have something in common: Both pack in the crucial vitamin for a healthy pregnancy, folate. One cup of lentils provides almost 60 percent of the daily need for folate, for pregnant and lactating women. If lentils aren’t your thing, black beans and chickpeas are also great sources, and this chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad couldn’t be easier to throw together.

Lentil Salad with Fennel, Onions and Lots of Herbs
Lentil Salad with Fennel, Onions and Lots of Herbs
Vassilis Stenos / Ikaria
Rating:
( rated)
Servings:
4-6
Get the recipe

3. Salmon

This is an omega-3 rich food that's also high in calcium and vitamin B12, making it a perfect addition to your prego diet and for the development of your child’s nervous system. If you’re worried about the mercury, not to fear. Salmon proves to be low in mercury compared to other seafood options. While raw salmon in your sushi is a no-no, properly cooked salmon (I recommend wild) is fine. Just remember to limit it to 12 ounces a week. If you think you’re not a salmon eater, here’s how you can sneak omega-3s into any meal.

Lemon-Garlic Salmon with Asparagus
Lemon garlic salmon with asparagus
Cook Smarts
Rating:
( rated)
Servings:
4
Get the recipe

4. Spinach

Greens high in iron are an important part of any healthy diet, but the daily recommendation of iron is even higher for pregnant women (27 milligrams per day), and is needed for the transportation of oxygen.

Spinach is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie way to get it in. Just one cup of spinach packs 6.4 grams. Top your greens with this healthy dressing, or saute with onion and top with an egg in the morning. If you can’t take a hint from Popeye himself, grass-fed beef and even kidney beans also contribute to your iron needs.

RELATED: Exercise is good for moms-to-be — and baby's brain, study finds

5. Walnuts

These crunchy brainy looking nuts are loaded with omega-3s, making them a perfect snack for your baby’s healthy brain development, though studies have shown that many pregnant women aren't getting enough of ‘em. All nuts are also a source of protein and fiber. You can roast walnuts with any spices of your choosing, or even bake them into bread to reap the benefits. Sick of your go-to snacks? Two tablespoons of flax seeds (3 grams) or 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (5 grams) sprinkled in your smoothie or on top of oatmeal offer the same brain-boosting benefits.

For more tips on how to live a nutritious life, follow Keri on Instagram @Nutritiouslifeofficial. Looking for more diet advice? Sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter!

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