The hormonal shifts and body changes that happen during pregnancy can create new cravings, discomforts, and changes to your typical nutrient needs. For instance, you might get sick thinking about your typical favorite snack or meal and suddenly want something you’ve never craved before. Or, you might find that you have heartburn, when you’ve never experienced those symptoms in your life. On the nutrient side of things, did you know that your blood volume increases 50% during pregnancy? That means you need more iron than you did before!
Food is really powerful in helping to satisfy cravings in a nourishing way and reducing any discomforts. The power of food was our motivation when creating our cookbook, Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook, which contains recipes that nourish you and address pesky symptoms throughout your pregnancy. We’ve rounded up our five favorite foods (and some recipe from our cookbook!) that make putting together meals and snacks during pregnancy easy, delicious, and beneficial to symptoms and nutrient needs. True multi-taskers!
- Eggs: Eggs are one of the best sources of choline, an essential mineral that works with folic acid to reduce the risk for neural tube defects and plays a role in your baby’s brain health. Your intake of choline during pregnancy directly affects baby’s brain health. Plus, eggs are a super easy way to add protein to meals. Avocado toast? Put an egg on it. Pizza? Put an egg on it. Tired after a long day? Whip up a frittata using leftover veggies in the fridge in about 15 minutes. Try this Potato Eggs Benedict recipe from our cookbook.
- Salmon: Salmon delivers a potent dose of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that’s important for optimal brain growth in the third trimester. It also delivers a hefty amount of vitamin D, a nutrient that many of us don’t get enough of (and that’s really tough to find naturally in food). And if this weren’t enough, salmon is loaded with high quality protein, which every mama-to-be needs at every stage of pregnancy. Try the Maple-Mustard Salmon from our cookbook.
- Beans and lentils: No matter what the type of bean (or lentil) you choose, it’s a great choice. Beans are an excellent source of fiber (like, 20% of your total daily needs in just 1/2 cup), which means eating them regularly can help prevent constipation. Plus, beans contain vegetarian protein, iron, calcium, folate, and zinc. They’re also SO versatile, from hummus to burritos, and soups to veggie burgers, there’s a bean recipe for you. Try our One-Skillet Chicken & Veggie Burrito bowls to incorporate more beans into your day!
- Yogurt: Your calcium needs don’t increase during pregnancy, BUT unlike other nutrients, baby will take what he or she needs from your bones if you don’t eat enough calcium. The mineral is also majorly important for normal muscle contraction, blood clotting, and heart rhythm. Just one cup of plain yogurt (add flavor with fruit, nuts, and nut butters) provides nearly half of your daily calcium needs. Plus, yogurt contains good bacteria (probiotics) that are linked to everything from better digestion to improved immunity. Try these Blueberry and Sunflower Seed Overnight Oats.
- Pumpkin seeds: These seeds were made for pregnancy! They contain an assortment of nutrients that help support the muscular changes your body goes through during pregnancy. Phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium can all help prevent muscle cramps as well as help with healthy muscle function as your muscles are stretched and asked to carry more weight. These seeds also provide a vegetarian source of iron and zinc, a key nutrient in healing and repair. They also deliver protein and healthy fat and make a great portable snack when paired with fruit!