With the many joys and pains of pregnancy comes the realization that you’re helping to build a baby with every bite of food you eat. Some moms find this overwhelming, others love the concept. Maybe you love it and find it overwhelming. Either way, when every bite counts during pregnancy, it can be hard to decide what those bites should be. Especially, if you’re nauseous or starving. Or nauseous and starving. Ah, pregnancy.
If you’ve read any pregnancy books or blogs, and we suspect you have, you already know that a diet incorporating fresh, whole foods is often recommended. This doesn’t mean all sweets are off. Thankfully, real dark chocolate is fantastic stuff. Speaking of, keep in mind that taste matters. Tremendously. It may even serve to train baby’s taste buds in utero. How cool is being a mammal? Eating a wide variety of flavors during pregnancy may help create future eaters who could instinctually seek flavorful food and reap the benefits it offers! Even if you can only keep down the tiniest bit of food these days, here are ten real foods to eat when you’re eating for two people—for nutrients and flavor.
AVOCADOTurn this source of key nutrients like folic acid and B6 into guacamole. Don’t forget the flavor—onion (if you can stomach it), tomato, cilantro, lime, and try some smoky chipotle powder.
BEANSEat beans with abandon in everything from burritos to lentil soup; they supply vital iron, folate, and zinc. Flavor them from Indian to Mexican and every country in between to entice those forming taste buds during pregnancy.
BROCCOLIIt’s hard to believe that in a few months your baby may be eating these “little trees” with pudgy wee fingers. Fresh broccoli contains nutrients like Vitamin A, C, and folic acid. Set them up to love the taste now by stir-frying with garlic for a simple side dish, snack, or pick me up.
DARK LEAFY GREENSEat your spinach, and your kale, and your collards, and your mizuna. Can’t keep these iron-, calcium-, and Vitamin A-, C-, and K containing gems down? Try blending them into a smoothie. Or maybe it’s the cooked texture that’s setting you off. Toss them raw in a salad loaded with color from purple cabbage and orange carrots to red peppers and white cauliflower. Most kids do tend to go through a won’t-eat-anything-green phase. Try to stack the cards against it!
EGGSIt’s amazing how much bang comes in this small white and yellow package—protein, vitamins, minerals, and brain-building choline. And for the morning-sick among us, there are so many ways to get them in. Fry, poach, scramble, frittata, boil. Just don’t eat them runny for now. Still can’t eat them? Bake them into whole grain muffins. Pretty good, right? Keep the recipe; you’ll be making it for a toddler in no time.
LEAN ORGANIC BEEF AND PORKMeat provides vital protein, iron and vitamins like B12. Depending on your pregnancy, you may be a vegetarian who suddenly cannot get enough burgers. Or the smell of cooking meat can send you fleeing to lie on the cold bathroom floor. If you’re OK with it, try a spicy Asian stir-fry. Or ask your partner to bake a meatloaf loaded with garlic, onion, herbs, and spices—when you’re not at home and don’t have to smell the baking. When all else fails, nutrient-containing bone broths can be used in sauces, soups or as a liquid agent when cooking veggies and grains.
MANGOSTangy, peppery, slippery mango might be just what you crave during pregnancy. Equally at home in sweet or savory dishes from salads to salsa, they contain essential Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Of course you can just eat it over the sink, juices dripping down your chin. Slurp.
WILD SALMONDo you wake up in the night trying to think about how to get in more omega-3s? Good mommy! Salmon—wild-caught is the way to go—is a low-mercury, high-protein fish with generous amounts of healthy fats. If you get sticker shock at the fish counter, there are affordable canned varieties.
TREE NUTSAs you’ve probably noticed one of the many oddities of pregnancy is that being hungry can actually make you nauseated. You might be sleeping with crackers or bananas beside your bed. Your purse already looks like it belongs to a mom—baggies of snacks and pretzel dust abound. Make sure you stash some nuts in those baggies. They’re just the thing to give you energy when it’s lagging and contain a variety of nutrients. Walnuts also provide a type of omega-3s! Toss them in salads and cereal, too.
YOGURTDo you also wake up in the night thinking about probiotics? You’re not alone. Maybe your OB or midwife even has you on supplements. Don’t neglect yogurt during pregnancy. It’s got beneficial bacteria plus protein and calcium and some contain probiotics. Choose an organic variety with active cultures and no added sugars, and make a fresh or frozen fruit smoothie—a perfectly real food version of ice cream. Who wouldn’t crave that?
WRITTEN BY PLUM ORGANICS
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always consult a pediatrician to understand the individual needs of your child.