5 Pregnancy Superfoods to Eat Now

These five foods provide the prenatal nutrients you need.

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When it comes to pregnancy and food, two extreme things can happen: Either you feel like you could eat an entire refrigerator's worth of calories in 14 seconds flat, or you feel as if you could decorate your walls with your innards at even the thought of certain foods.

These opposite reactions aren't unusual, and they don't have to be harmful (as long as they don't happen persistently).

Your goal, really, when it comes to nutrition, should be to figure out the best ways to fuel your body so that you and your baby have a healthy stream of nutrients throughout the day.

That said, we do understand that some days will be better than others, and eating habits will fluctuate based on how you feel, so you need to look at the whole picture—how you eat on most days, rather than feeling guilty over every little less-than-perfect moment. (Green light to the occasional pickle-and-tomato sandwich!)

We'd prefer you try to eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day to stabilize some of your key biological systems, and we'd like you to think that you're eating for 1.1 (not two!) when you eat. That is, you really should only be eating about 10 percent more than you would when you're not pregnant.

To keep things simple, we offer the five best foods you can have when you're pregnant. Incorporate these into your diet, and you'll be doing a world of good for yourself and your baby.

1. Avocado:

Fruits are full of all kinds of healthy nutri- ents (for mom and baby); we especially like avocados because they contain healthy omega-3 fats, which are good for helping the development of your baby's brain. Like guac? No problem, just easy on the chips.

Try it: Avocado Goddess Dip

2. Chia Seeds:

This grain contains fiber and omega-3 fats, which have been shown to help ward off pregnancy depression. The seeds also help inhibit the speed in which sugar is absorbed, to help your baby grow with less chance of swings in blood sugar. Mix them in yogurt or sprinkle on salads or cereal.

Try it: Always have one of these pantry staples on hand

3. Chicken on Whole-Wheat:

The protein in lean meat— such as skinless chicken or turkey—keeps you feeling satiated and helps you hold on to muscle mass, which is important for handling the physical demands of pregnancy. (Aim for 71 grams of protein a day from lean meats or vegetarian sources, such as low-fat yogurt.)

Having whole-grain bread means you're getting complex carbs, which take longer for your body to digest. Simple carbs, such as those found in white bread, raise your blood sugar level, which requires your body to make more insulin.

Try it: Add this Tasty Breaded Chicken recipe to 2 slices of whole-grain bread

4. Prunes:

Packed with fiber (about 3 grams in one serving of 5 prunes), this dried fruit keeps your digestive system running smoothly. Plus, a diet rich in fiber may help decrease the risk of developing the pregnancy-related condition of preeclampsia. Aim for 25 grams of fiber daily.

Read More: Our Favorite Prenatal Recipes

5. Spinach:

One of our key mantras is to eat foods the way they appear when they come from the ground. and one of the best ways to get good nutrients of all kinds is by making sure to get at least five servings of vegetables a day. (Those drenched in cheese don't count.)

Our favorite? Spinach because it has all-important folic acid, a B vitamin that helps protect against neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Try it: Chicken Spinach Salad

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