Pregnancy Nutrition: Foods To Build A Healthy Baby
Posted by Alicia Hamilton
Many people understand the importance of eating healthy during pregnancy because food plays a huge role in a baby’s development. Many cultures around the world have famous foods that are prized for nourishing people before, during and after pregnancy.
Your body will do everything in its power to reproduce successfully, however it’s up to you to provide it with the necessary nutrients to build the healthiest baby possible.
The Plate Method
A good place to start is by having a good balance of macro and micro-nutrients at each meal (vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins and fats).
The plate method is an excellent guideline to use when planning meals and measuring proportions. Aim for half of your plate being composed of non-starchy vegetables, one quarter composed of protein and fats, and the remaining quarter composed of fruits or vegetables.
- 2 or more cups of vegetables with some healthy fat, like a good quality oil or avocado.
- 3-4 oz of protein, either plant-based or animal-based
- 1/2 cup of starchy or root vegetables
If you feel better on a low carb diet, aim for less starch and more greens, healthy fat and protein.
The Plate Method Components:
Strive to have a variety of protein sources in your diet to ensure you get a good balance of amino acids and other key vitamins and minerals. Try not to get caught in eating the same thing again and again.
- Organic beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey
- Seafood (wild caught)
- Organ meats such as liver, heart, kidney
- Eggs (pasture raised, organic)
- Almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seats, chia seeds
- Beans, peas, lentils, brown rice
Your body’s need for fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) increases during pregnancy. A baby’s brain is made up of 60% fat and depends on omega fatty acids, choline, and fat soluble vitamins for development. The key is to prioritize high quality/healthy fats and avoid trans and saturated fats.
- Nuts & seeds
- Olives, coconuts, avocados
- Organic butter or ghee
Avoid processed vegetable oils such as corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, peanut oil or margarine. Try to stay away from anything deep fried or processed, as they are usually cooked in these low quality oils.
Vegetables are little powerhouses packed with vitamins and minerals necessary for building baby’s bones, blood, joints and much more. Aim to fill half your plate with an assortment of vegetables. And just like protein, don’t get caught up in only eating the same few vegetables again and again. Choose from a wide variety of vegetables.
- Bells pepper
- Brussels Sprout
- Greens: spinach, kale, collards, watercress, bok choy, arugula, dandelion
- Snap pea
- Spaghetti squash
- Sweet potato
Fruit is an excellent source of hydration, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These are all required for collagen/skin formation, immune development, iron absorption, wound healing and much more.
When craving something sweet, try fruit such as baked apples & cinnamon, peaches & yogurt or a berry smoothie. Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with whole foods.
- Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
When you’re pregnant, your fluid intake needs to increase. Your baby is swimming in amniotic fluid and your blood volume increases significantly. Water plays a huge role in nutrient absorption, digestion, transporting oxygen, and more.
Try to drink good filtered & mineralized water. Chlorine in tap water disrupts the gut flora for both the pregnant parent and the baby. Aim for about 10 cups of water a day.
Make it a priority to add more real foods and minimize processed foods.
Think variety! Try to avoid eating the same dishes over and over again, incorporate new proteins, new vegetables, and new fruits.
Eat healthy omega-rich fats and avoid trans or saturated fats.
For more information on how we can help you optimize your Pregnancy Nutrition, book a free 15-minute online consultation today!