Mmmm… Ice cream topped with bacon. Banana-stuffed chicken. Seaweed-stuffed cupcakes. If you’re scrunching your nose at any of these combos, might I introduce you to the wonderful world of pregnancy cravings. 

While it might be tempting to fill your plate with whatever you’re in the mood for (hey, you’re pregnant!), make sure you get the right nutrients for you and your growing baby with the best foods for pregnancy, so you can let your baby grow healthily.

Folate and Folic Acid

Best for: Baby’s brain and spine

Folate is a naturally-occurring vitamin B9, while folic acid is the synthetic form. Both are good for you, and are NB in your baby-growing diet, especially in early pregnancy. That’s when the baby’s spine is being formed. 

Find it in: Make sure to load up on leafy green vegetables like spinach, beans and oranges.

Calcium

Best for: Baby’s bones, and for making sure your nervous system runs properly

Find it in: Dairy has a high amount of calcium, but broccoli, kale and spinach are more bioavailable, meaning a higher percentage of vegetable calcium gets absorbed by your body. A supplement with calcium is also a good idea.

Vitamin D

Best for: Baby’s bones – but most women are deficient in this vitamin, so prioritise the D for your health, too.

Find it in: Fatty fish like salmon is a good way to find vitamin D. Look out for fortified cereals and milk, too. And spend 10 minutes in the sun (with sunscreen, of course) to build up your reserve.

Iron

Best for: Creating blood to supply your baby with oxygen. So, essential, really. Also, you’ll need double the amount you usually consume.    

Find it in: Beans, beetroot, spinach (again!) and broccoli are high in the stuff. Animal-based sources are beef, chicken and liver.   

Protein

Best for: Growing the baby 

Find it in: Lean meats, eggs, legumes and cottage cheese

Sources: Mayo Clinic

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