During pregnancy, you’ll need protein and calcium for your baby’s tissues and bones. But you’ll also need extra folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects, as well as more iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby. Get off to a good start with these pregnancy super foods.
- Whole grains. Enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid and iron and contain more fiber than white bread or rice. Work whole grains into your day: oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole-grain bread for lunch and whole-wheat pasta or brown rice for dinner.
- Beans. Add blacks beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, and kidney, garbanzo or soybeans to your diet. Try them in chili and soups, salads and pasta dishes. Besides providing protein and fiber, these legumes are also a good source of key nutrients, such as iron, folate, calcium and zinc.
- Salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids promote brain development and vision in babies, and salmon is a great source. Plus it provides protein and B vitamins. Salmon is also relatively low in mercury compared to other fish. Try it grilled, broiled or on a salad. Limit yourself to no more than 12 ounces of salmon per week to minimize any mercury exposure.
- Eggs. Eggs are versatile and a good source of protein that provides amino acids you or your baby need. They contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline and lutein. However, be sure to not eat undercooked or raw eggs.
- Berries. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are delicious snacks and taste great on pancakes, and on top of cereal. Berries are packed with vitamin C, potassium, folate and fiber.
- Low-fat yogurt. One cup of plain, low-fat yogurt contains more calcium than milk, is high in protein, and doesn’t have the added sugar of flavored yogurts. Dress it up with crunchy, whole-grain cereal.
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