Being an adult is challenging. Eating well three times a day, every day, for an entire life is one of those things. Doing so while you are also responsible for feeding another being that is growing inside of you at an alarming rate – that’s a whole other level of challenging.
If you happen to have a tiny human renting space in your bodily real estate, then you are probably working hard to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients that tenant needs to grow properly.
Eating well during pregnancy not only helps to ensure your tiny human’s health when it moves out, it can also help to minimize pregnancy-related discomforts such as morning sickness, heartburn and constipation.
The following foods and healthy choices can help provide the nutrients you and your tiny human need:
1. Dried beans and legumes
Pregnant women require around 50 per cent more protein than what they would have needed pre-pregnancy. That’s around 70 to 85 grams daily. Beans and lentils are an excellent source of protein – consider that chickpeas offer almost 40 grams per cup. They also pack an extra benefit of being high in fibre and magnesium, which can help with preventing constipation.
2. Leafy greens
Fill your plate with Swiss chard, kale, broccoli and all the other greens you can find. Pregnant women need 800 to 1,000 mg of folic acid a day to support healthy central nervous system development, and greens are a great source. They also pack a healthy dose of calcium, which supports bone health, and iron, which is needed due to the increase in blood levels.
3. Cold-water fatty fish
Growing humans require around 250 mg of the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA to support healthy brain development. Cold-water fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, and sardines are all rich in omega 3s. Salmon is also high in vitamin B6, which can help prevent morning sickness. Opt for wild, not farmed.
4. Nuts and seeds
While cold-water fatty fish is one of the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids, it is a good idea to somewhat limit them in the diet due to some levels of toxicity. This is where chia, hemp, flax and walnuts enter as great staples for a healthy pregnancy diet. They also offer Omega-3s and the seeds are high in fibre. One tablespoon of chia seeds alone has over 10 grams of fibre. Enjoy ground flax and chia seeds mixed into a warm bowl of oatmeal. Remember to drink lots of water when beginning to add these seeds to your diet to help balance the increased fibre intake.
The pre-pregnancy conditions of both partners play a role in a healthy pregnancy. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, consider starting a good diet and supplement program and eliminating harmful substances and nutritionally-deficient foods from your diet before you begin trying.