Prenatal Nutrition - Nourishing Foods for Mama + Baby

You're likely reading this as you begin your second trimester and starting to feel like you have your normal appetite back - woo hoo! The first trimester is not likely a time you feel like reading about green smoothies, bone broth, healthy fats and all that jazz. Lets be real - anything that isn't carb related probably isn't in your vocabulary right now. I get it! I myself could not digest certain foods, could not stand the smell of meat and had to start my day carb loading - even with nutrition as my background and knowing the benefits of all these brilliant foods, I couldn't bring myself to eat the majority of them. But I wasn't worried about the lack of variety in my diet - do you know why? I prepared my body in my preconception period to build my nutritional stores, to have all my essential supplementation under my belt and knew that in a matter of weeks that I was going to be able to digest the food I once craved (pending I wasn't one of the unlucky mamas who have the horrible symptoms associated with Hyperemesis gravidarum) If you're one of the lucky mamas who feel brilliant all the way through pregnancy - wonderful! These tips you can take on board from day one, or ideally a few months before trying to conceive to build your nutritional stores. So what foods can we introduce when we start to feel (semi-like) ourselves again? Sweet potato Lets start with the carby option - now that your appetite is back, its likely back with full vengeance and ready to eat your fridge out. Sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and K - an excellent source of nutrients during pregnancy. They are also high in vitamin B6, which is beneficial if you are experiencing any lingering nausea or vomiting. Meal ideas for sweet potato include, sweet potato fries or a loaded sweet potato - both super easy, filling and nutritious options. Walnuts A wonderful source of nutrients essential for your babies brain development. They are loaded with fibre, iron and polyunsaturated fatty acids . 14 walnut halves contains more than the daily dose of essential omega-3 fats - woah! You can incorporate them into your daily nut mix, add them to a salad for a crunch element or simply eat them on their own. Lentils We all hear about how essential folate is, especially early on in pregnancy. It plays a huge role in many biological processes, so it is key we incorporate it not only in our supplementation regime but also our diet. Fortunately, lentils are loaded with folate. A cup of cooked lentils contain more than half of your RDI (recommended daily intake). They are also a great source of iron, fiber, phosphorus, protein, vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, and copper. You can throw them in your salads, soup or even just as a side dish. Spinach Another wonderful source of folate - one that I could personally eat all day. I started to get called pop-eye in my house! I always get commended on my healthy iron stores from my GP during pregnancy - which I attribute to my spinach obsession. They are also rich in potassium, vitamin A, magnesium and phosphorus. A cup of boiled spinach contains almost half of your RDI of folate. You can incorporate it into your diet through a salad, a side dish or my favourite, steamed topped with some ghee and himalayan salt. Raspberries These beautiful little berries are high in fibre, vitamins K and C and manganese. They can provide assistance for the mamas suffering from constipation and also help nourish your stretching skin and provide some elasticity due to the vitamin C content. They also contain moderate amounts of folate, niacin, zinc and potassium. You can enjoy them in a fruit smoothie or on their own. RDI is 1 cup. Kale Even a small amount of this incredible vegetable is loaded with nutrients. It contains calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, A and K, folate, fibre and moderate amounts of niacin, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins E and B6 - like I said, packed with nutrients! You can use kale in your salads, smoothies, stirfrys or bake up some kale chips - a snack even my 2 year old loves. Avocado Another fave in our household. These beauties are rich in the good fats (mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids) and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. One whole avocado contains your essential healthy fats, carbs, folate, iron, potassium and vitamins C, A, K and E. You can add them to your salads, smoothies or enjoy with some tortilla chips. Wild Salmon If you are not eating a vegan/vegetarian diet, this is a great addition to your pregnancy diet. Wild salmon is again rich in the good fats (mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids), protein, niacin, potassium, vitamin B12 and zinc. It is an excellent source of essential nutrients to nourish both you and your baby during development. Wild Salmon, is particularly rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, farmed salmon also contains Omega 3s, however is significantly lower than the wild options. Chocolate Because you've made it this far, ill treat you with this option. Although like always, moderation is key. Dark chocolate contains essential nutrients such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, niacin and monounsaturated fatty acids. A recent study has shown that dark chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity during pregnancy without affecting weight gain - a win for mamas! If you wish to include chocolate in your diet aim for dark chocolate with 70-85% cacao solids to reap the benefits. As always, please note that nutrition is not a one-size-fits all recommendation as we all have unique chemical and biological design, and we would all benefit from a customised plan. However these food choices listed above can improve our overall health status during pregnancy. It’s important to remember that as your pregnancy progresses, so do your nutritional needs.  While pregnant, it is important to be informed, but also know that, especially when it comes to nutritional advice, everything depends on the individual and their family. For a customised plan or to address and pregnancy symptoms, I can support you through your pregnancy with one-on-one consultations. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with any mamas that could benefit. Amy


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