There’s seems to be a diet for everyone, including expectant moms. The truth is that there are dietary nutrients that a mommy-to-be shouldn’t come up short on. Some of the big four nutrients for expectant moms include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium and folic acid, known also as folate.
Moms-to-be need more than these four primary nutrients, of course. In fact, demands for healthy protein increase by about 25 grams, as does the need for iron—and that’s just a couple of areas. Nevertheless, here’s a look at some important foods for Mom and the nutrients they provide.
Fatty fish: Fatty fish serves multiple purposes nutritionally. Not only is fish a great source of healthy protein, but fatty fish such as salmon also provides valuable omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, tryptophan, selenium, vitamin B3, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, folic acid, phosphorous and magnesium.
Eggs: Eggs really are both incredible and edible. They contain nutrients like omega-3s (especially DHA), vitamin A, iron, protein, calcium, folic acid, B vitamins, zinc and selenium. Eggs are great scrambled, hard-boiled, in a veggie omelet, in quiche or however you want to add them to your diet. They’re easy to make and serve and are budget-friendly, too.
Lamb: Lamb provides an excellent source of vitamin B12 and is also a good source of highly accessible iron and zinc. Zinc, of course, is important for growth and development, since it’s required for cell division, DNA and RNA synthesis as well as protein synthesis. Adequate zinc intake can also support healthy bones in developing babies.
Yogurt and other dairy products: These can provide necessary calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for strong bones and teeth. Probiotic-rich yogurt may have an extra benefit because probiotics can support healthy digestion and a healthy immune system. You can top your yogurt with berries for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Dark, leafy vegetables: Packed with calcium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and antioxidants, dark, green leafy vegetables are a must. Spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard top the list, but other green veggies (not leafy) to include are broccoli, green peppers and Brussels sprouts. Nothing beats a healthy green, leafy salad for lunch or dinner!
Berries: These nutritional powerhouses pack an antioxidant wallop, while providing fiber, vitamin C, folic acid and more. Strawberries, for instance, are packed with vitamin C, have fiber, folic acid, vitamin K, manganese, potassium and even some omega-3s. Blueberries and raspberries are excellent food choices, too, for snacking, breakfast or a healthy dessert.
Avocados: Avocados are nutrient-dense foods that contain monounsaturated fats, the antioxidant lutein, folic acid, fiber, vitamin E, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin C. Add some to a green salad or mix up some healthy guacamole to take advantage of this healthy food.
Nuts and seeds: Be sure to go a little nutty with your diet during this time! Walnuts provide omega-3s and almonds serve up calcium. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cashews have zinc. Nuts also provide healthy fats. They’re great as a snack or added to top your salad or berries & yogurt.
This may or may not be called a pre-mommy diet. One thing’s for sure, though. If you’re an expectant mom, it’s important to not skimp on the foods and nutrients you and your baby need.