When a woman becomes pregnant, she often gets bombarded with a slew of advice, whether she wants it or not. Food choices are a hot-topic when it comes to unsolicited pregnancy advice. Whether it is a blatant comment or a subtle eye-roll, pregnant women can get confused from mixed messages they receive from doctors, friends, and their know-it-all aunt.
As a prenatal registered dietitian, I have found my favorite pregnancy-fueling foods over the years. While I believe that most foods can fit into a healthy pregnancy diet, these are the top five best foods that I recommend for women to eat when eating for two.
Eating beef is an easy way to ensure that a mom-to-be is getting in tons of important nutrients that will support both her own and her baby’s health. Beef is an excellent source of high-quality protein and is relatively simple to prepare. Furthermore, beef is rich in important nutrients that pregnant moms need, including iron, zinc, and B vitamins.
Iron needs increase during pregnancy to support the increased blood volume that is needed to provide for mom’s growing belly. Not having enough iron can result in a pregnant woman feeling sluggish because her oxygen is not able to be moved around the body efficiently. Experiencing low iron levels during the second and third trimester may result in premature delivery and low birth weight if it is not corrected.
Choosing beef that is USDA certified, grass fed, and organic is a safe and delicious way for a pregnant woman to support her iron and protein needs. Organic grass-fed beef from Greensbury Market is a yummy and convenient addition to any busy weeknight dinner that provides important nutrition to help keep a pregnancy healthy and a tummy happy. Just make sure that the meat is well-cooked before consumption – no rare cheeseburgers right now, ladies.
Fatty fish provide your growing baby with important fatty acids, specifically omega-3s. Salmon is a healthy, low-mercury fish that naturally contains the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. These fatty acid are primarily found in fatty cold-water fish and play an important role in baby’s brain and eye development. Salmon is also naturally bursting with vitamins and minerals like iodine, another nutrient important for baby’s developing brain.
Fish is one food that many people do not eat enough of, mainly because they do not go to the grocery store frequently to get fresh fish. Thankfully, excellent frozen fish options exist that, in some cases, are even healthier than fresh.
Stocking your freezer with frozen salmon that is wild-caught and sustainably sourced is one way to make a better-for-you and better-for-the-planet choice. Greensbury Market wild sockeye salmon is sourced from a fishery in Bristol Bay and shipped right to your door. This fishery is committed to providing salmon that is harvested sustainably and protects the ocean's eco-system. The salmon fillets are boneless, skin on, and full of flavor. Supporting your baby’s brain development has never been easier.
Dark Meat Chicken
Chicken is a staple on many people’s plates, but they may not realize how nutritious it is for pregnant women. Dark meat chicken is a natural source of iron, zinc, and choline – a nutrient that is important for baby’s brain and spine development.
If you are a chicken skin eater, you get the bonus benefit of getting some important amino acids that are essential to support baby’s skin and nail development.
Organic and antibiotic-free chicken that are fed a vegetarian diet that is free from animal by products ensures that the mom-to-be will be getting a delicious and nutritious protein on her plate. Greensbury Market Organic Free-Range Chicken Thighs should be a staple in every pregnant woman’s home. Full of nutrients and flavor, these high-quality thighs are a perfect food to toss in the slow cooker or on the grill for a no-fuss and pregnancy-fueling meal.
Broccoli may not be as exciting as, say, a slice of homemade pie, but it is one of the best foods for pregnancy. For one, this green veggie delivers to mom important nutrients, like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate and potassium.
Secondly, broccoli is bursting with antioxidants and compounds that aid with digestion. Eating broccoli may also help women with some natural constipation relief.
OK, water isn’t technically a food, but it is still one of the best things for pregnant women to consume. Fluid needs increase as a woman’s belly grows, and not keeping up with hydration needs can result in some pretty scary consequences for the woman and her baby.
While specific needs vary depending on many factors, generally speaking, women need between 8-10 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Forget the pickles and ice cream when you are eating for two. Choosing nutrient-dense foods that contain important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy like iron, protein, and DHA omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your pregnancy journey healthy and safe. Keep in mind that quality counts; when choosing foods like beef, chicken, and seafood, focus on organic, sustainable choices. Using a meat delivery service like Greensbury Market can help keep your freezer stocked with high-quality food choices to make dinnertime a breeze.
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian based in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in human nutrition and is passionate about helping people achieve their nutrition goals. She currently acts as a consultant, food blogger, and freelance writer for outlets including Eating Well and POPSUGAR. When Lauren isn't working, she is enjoying the outdoor life with her daughter, husband, and rescue-pup.