10 Pregnancy Power Foods
Dried Beans & Lentils:- All women need 10 extra grams of protein a day during pregnancy (for a total of at least 60 grams); beans and lentils are an excellent source, with about 15 grams per cup. They are also high in fiber, which helps to combat constipation.
Broccoli:- Its not only packed with nutrients that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy -- such as calcium and folate -- but broccoli is also rich in fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants. And since it contains plenty of vitamin C, this popular green vegetable will help your body absorb iron when its eaten with an iron-rich food, such as whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
Nonfat Milk:- Your body absorbs roughly twice as much calcium from foods while you are pregnant, so your daily needs remain the same. But since most of us get too little calcium to begin with, drinking more nonfat milk is a smart move. Each 8-ounce glass supplies about 30 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of 1,000 milligrams.
Bananas:- Bananas are rich in potassium and offer quick energy to fight off pregnancy fatigue. They are also easy on your stomach if you are nauseated. Slice them up into cereal or whip one into a breakfast smoothie with yogurt, berries, ice, and a splash of orange juice.
Lean Meat:- Your daily iron needs double during pregnancy, so its important to include plenty of iron-rich foods now. "If you dont have good iron stores, you are more likely to feel tired," warns Jo Ann Hattner, RD, a dietitian in Palo Alto, California. Meat delivers a form of iron thats easily absorbed by your body.
Cheese:- Soft cheeses are off-limits, but varieties such as cheddar and mozzarella can be a big help in meeting your calcium requirements -- each ounce contains between 150 and 200 milligrams. Cheese is also high in protein.
Leafy Greens:- Cooked spinach has high levels of folate and iron, and kale and turnip greens are both good calcium sources. Increase the nutrient value of your salads by passing up traditional iceberg in favor of darker-colored lettuces (the deep colors signal higher vitamin content). You can also add greens to a sandwich or stir them into soups and pasta dishes.
Oranges:- They are packed with vitamin C, folate, and fiber, and since they are nearly 90 percent water, they will also help you meet your daily fluid needs (skimping on your fluid intake can leave you feeling fatigued).
Soy Foods:- Its perfectly safe to follow your vegetarian eating plan while you are pregnant -- as long as you are diligent about getting necessary nutrients such as protein (your doctor or a dietitian can help you devise a healthy plan). So be sure to include foods like tofu, which packs 10 grams of protein per half cup.
Dried Fruit:- Its a tasty, portable snack thats especially helpful when you are craving something sweet. Choose dried fruits such as apricots, cherries, and cranberries (which can also help to prevent urinary tract infections), but stay away from dried bananas, since they are processed in oil and loaded with fat.