It is important to ensure that you are getting the right nutrition for you and your baby during pregnancy. Darshan Pather spoke to dietician Deidre Lindeque about the best pregnancy power foods to include in your diet.
‘Eating for two’ during pregnancy is a myth with regards to calories or portion size. But it is important to take twice as much responsibility for your choices. Eat twice as well, not twice as much.
According to the American Obstetric Society, a singleton pregnancy will require an additional 300 calories into your daily diet from your second semester. This equates to a glass of milk and a 100g chicken breast. With all the diet fads and nutritional advice doing the rounds, it’s hard to decide what foods are actually good for you during your pregnancy. Don’t know where to begin? Fear not, we’ve got you covered!
Here is a list of some pregnancy ‘superfoods’ to include in your diet as you grow your little bump.
Beans not only taste good, but are packed with protein, iron and fibre. Focus especially on black beans, lentils and chickpeas. Black beans give that garden salad an extra bit of flavour and texture. A heart-warming bowl of lentil soup is great for the immune system, and hummus is a perfect snack with some celery and carrot sticks.
Broccoli is an essential green that contains calcium, fibre, folate and other awesome stuff that can improve the appearance of skin, strengthen vision and regulate blood pressure. Add it to your creamy pasta bake or as a steamy side to your roast chicken dinners.
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.” As a complete protein, containing all amino acids, eggs aid in growth and development of the new baby. Scrambled eggs on toast, cheese and spring onion omelette, potato and egg salad ‒ the opportunities to add egg to your diet are endless!
This heavenly drink is an amazing source of calcium, protein and vitamins A and B. There are many variations, but when you’re expecting it’s advisable to go for the fresh, full-cream kind to gain more nutrients. Coconut, almond or soy-milk, as well as lactose-free milk, are great alternatives for lactose intolerance.
A simple glass of warm milk with a hint of honey and nutmeg will get you ready for bed in no time, and provides 50% of the ‘nutrient gap’ induced by pregnancy.
Besides the potential benefits of nuts on brain function development of the foetus, they are also a great source of healthy fats, fibre, vitamin E and other nutrients. As a great source of both fat and protein, nuts are a great snack to help regulate pregnancy-related blood glucose fluctuations. A handful of almonds first thing in the morning can help to keep morning sickness at bay.
Wild-caught salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fat and a great source of vitamin A, B, D and numerous micronutrients. Unlike the larger fish, tuna and swordfish, the mercury content is significantly lower, but it is recommended to limit intake to twice weekly.
To reduce the risk of food poisoning, raw fish e.g., in sushi, is not recommended. Stick with fresh, wild-caught cooked salmon, served with a generous portion of steamed greens drizzled in olive oil.
There are plenty of other super-healthy foods that you should prioritise during your pregnancy journey. Eating a large variety of foods is one of the most important nutrition tips to focus on. It’s also important to note that if you have any underlying conditions or allergies that you seek advice from a medical expert first.