Pregnancy Foods for a Healthy Baby
Eat Well And Baby Will Be Well!
Your diet during pregnancy is one of the most important factors when it comes to your baby’s health. What you eat while you are pregnant not only affects your developing baby, but it can also have an impact on his health after he is born. It takes a ton of energy to support a developing baby, and this can leave mom feeling exhausted and constantly starving! It can be very tempting to grab whatever calories are the closest to you when you are feeling famished. When our bodies need fuel we often crave quick calories like sugar. That is why those doughnuts smell so good and you might feel like you could eat an entire box of cinnamon squares cereal while you wait for your dinner to cook. For your baby’s sake, don’t do it.
It is important to plan ahead and make sure you have plenty of healthy meals and snacks to eat. This also means bringing a healthy lunch and snacks with you to work, or when you are out and about, so that you will not be tempted to buy fast-food or any type of prepackaged food from the grocery store. Whole foods that you make at home are the best for you and have the most nutritional value.
Eating as many organic vegetables as you can is the BEST way
to make sure you and your baby are getting all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber you need. If you are unable to buy all organic produce, check the Environmental Working Group’s list of the most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables. It is very important for the health of you and your baby to buy organic if the item is on the “Dirty Dozen” list. Incorporate sources of good fat such as, avocados, coconut oil, unheated olive oil, seeds, and nuts into your diet. Good fats are essential for fetal brain and neurological development!
Make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet. This should help with the sugar cravings. Again, whenever possible, buy organic and avoid packaged processed meats that contain chemical additives such as, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, caramel color, and monosodium glutamate. Meat, eggs, and dairy from animals that are raised the conventional way are given GMO feed and are treated with hormones and antibiotics that will get into your baby’s body when you eat them. If you prefer plant-based protein, make sure you avoid GMOs and read this before you eat Soy.
It is best to avoid processed foods like cereal and snack bars, and in general, all things that come in a box. These “foods” usually contain a lot of chemical additives and high amounts of sugar. There is very little nutritional value in processed food. The nutrients that are listed on the labels of processed foods are usually not naturally occurring nutrients, they are often added to the product after the processing has eliminated all of the nutritional value. The food with the highest nutritional value and best quality for you and your baby is almost always going to be the food that you make at home.
An easy way to transition into preparing all of your meals at home is to start by making a healthy dinner every night. One of my favorite things to make for dinner is roasted chicken and vegetables. It is super easy because everything bakes in one pot at the same time! If you make a little more than you need for dinner, your lunch for the next day is already made. While you are making diner at night, save time the next day by preparing some snacks and lunch for the following day or two. Keeping some chopped vegetables in the fridge allows you to quickly add lettuce and protein to make a salad, or for a snack, dip veggies in humus or eat them with sliced turkey and avocado with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon. Keeping things like almonds, cashews, dates, apples, bananas, nut butters, and organic yogurt on hand will allow you to grab a quick and healthy snack anytime throughout the day.
Protein shakes and smoothies are great to make first thing in the morning when you need to fuel your body fast. Frozen organic strawberries or mango chunks work great to keep the smoothie or shake cold while adding vitamins and fiber. Adding plain organic yogurt adds probiotics and protein. If you are up for adding greens, spinach blends easily, or you can purchase greens in powdered form here. Adding half of a banana will give you natural sweetness without using sugar. Smoothie bowls are a very satisfying and nutritious mid-day snack and are a real treat with granola and honey on top! For a more traditional breakfast, use leftover vegetables like potatoes, bell peppers and spinach or kale to make a healthy egg scramble.
You’ve Got This!
Meal planning can be time consuming, and before you get into the swing of it, can often be overwhelming. It can be a challenge trying to figure out what to make and when to do all the cooking. Don’t let the idea of prepping all of your meals stress you out and deter you from doing it! Once you find things that you like, and you get used to making them, it will become much easier! Your body will thank you and your baby will be much healthier as a result of your efforts!