There are lots of ways to ensure that your baby gets the nutrients it needs without necessarily depriving yourself the pleasure of eating something good.
For example, during pregnancy, you’ll need protein and calcium for your baby’s tissues and bones. You’ll also need extra folic acid to protect against neural tube birth defects, as well as more iron to help red blood cells carry oxygen to your baby.
In addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs contain lots of quality protein, which is essential for pregnancy. Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s overall growth and brain health, while helping prevent neural tube defects. Some eggs even contain omega-3 fats, important for both brain and vision development.
As for the issue of cholesterol, it turns out that eating saturated fat does much more damage to your cholesterol level than eating the cholesterol naturally found in food. And while eggs are high in cholesterol, they’re also relatively low in saturated fat, with only about 1 1/2 grams per egg. Healthy women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one to two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat. But if cholesterol is a concern for you, substitute egg whites for whole eggs.
Besides, eggs are cheap, easy to cook, quick, and versatile. When you’re too exhausted to cook a full meal, a couple of hard-boiled or scrambled eggs are just the deal.
Beans contain the most fiber and protein of all the vegetables. You already know that it’s important to get enough protein during pregnancy, but you may not yet realize that fiber could become your new best friend. When you’re pregnant, your gastrointestinal tract slows down, putting you at risk for constipation and hemorrhoids. Fiber can help prevent and relieve these problems.
In addition, food that contains fiber tends to be rich in nutrients. This is certainly true of beans, which are good sources of iron, folate, calcium, and zinc.
One cup of plain, low-fat yogurt has more calcium than milk, is high in protein, and doesn’t have the added sugar of flavored yogurts. You can dress it up with fruit or crunchy, whole-grain cereal.
Sweet potatoes get their orange colour from carotenoids, plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Although consuming too much vitamin A (found in animal sources, such as liver, milk, and eggs) can be dangerous, carotenoids are a different type. They’re converted to vitamin A only as needed, so there’s no need to restrict your consumption of vitamin A-rich fruits and veggies.
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, folate, and fiber. And like beans, they’re inexpensive and versatile. You can cook extra and even save enough to slice up later as a snack.
Enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid and iron and have more fiber than white bread and rice. Work whole grains into your day; oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole-grain bread at lunch, and whole-wheat pasta or brown rice for dinner. And then popcorn as snacks in between.
Mangoes contain more vitamins A and C even than a salad. This tropical favorite, also packed with potassium, is especially versatile, a perfect complement to sweet and savory dishes. Blend it into smoothies or soups, chop it up or simply scoop and enjoy.
Nuts are chock-full of important minerals (copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium, and even calcium) and vitamin E. And even though they’re high in fat, it’s mainly the good-for-you kind.