Post on: 2020-06-17.
Posted in: Read.
6 Nutrients Pregnant When Tend to Lack, and Where to Find Them
What you should know about what to eat during pregnancy, because there’s a lot riding on your fork (or, nothing’s on your fork if you’re nauseous).
Between the nausea and the cravings, knowing what to eat during pregnancy can be laborious. Luckily, researchers have determined what nutrients the pregnant body needs most. (And, as there are millions of moms out there, you know this food knowledge has been tried, tested and deemed true.) Here’s what you should know about nutrition during pregnancy to help with nausea, cravings and low energy.
What to Eat During Pregnancy: Bite Back Against Nausea
For some moms, their pregnancy related nausea needs to be treated medically. For less severe cases, here are a few tips and tricks to ease your queasiness. The most successful trick is to avoid becoming hungry. Eat small amounts of nutritious food frequently throughout the day. This is more easily accomplished if you stash an apple, some nuts and seeds or even crackers in your purse. Most moms grumble about nausea being worse first thing in the morning. Yes, you can bite back against nausea by eating something before you swing your legs over the edge of the bed. Sadly, being served breakfast in bed isn’t always an option, so at night place a small snack on your bedside table so it’s ready for the morning. In addition, some moms find taking vitamins later in the day helps. Iron and other nutrients in some supplements can irritate a sensitive stomach. Consult your health care professional about supplements.
Dealing with Pregnancy Cravings
Hold on there, Momma! The whole concept of ‘eating for two’ is misleading. It’s never a healthy choice to devour piles of unhealthy foods. But, the struggle is real! The whole pickles and ice cream cravings were not a joke. Pregnancy can bring on some strange and powerful desires for food. Sometimes the craving is a nutritional need in disguise. That hankering for a tub of chocolate chunk ice cream could be your body’s way of telling you it needs calcium. Quench that craving for something sweet and cold with a non-sugar added Greek yogurt fruit smoothie. Still yearning for chocolate? Go ahead and eat a chunk of dark chocolate – just make it healthier by adding in a handful of almonds or seeds. They are packed with calcium, minerals and fiber. (Eating extra fiber is helpful when your uterus grows sufficiently that it takes up all of the space in your abdomen, squeezing your bowels and causing constipation). If you’re hankering for pickles or salty potato chips, reach for a more nutritious option, such as a banana, crispy seaweed snacks or some homemade kale chips. Salty cravings can be a signal that you are dehydrated. Drink some water – cheers!
Can I Eat During Pregnancy to Help with Fatigue?
Gulping down a glass of water may also help with feelings of fatigue. As may eDuring pregnancy, it’s common to feel tired – it takes a lot of energy to grow a baby! And, a lot of nutrients too. If the body is running low on key energizing nutrients, the feelings of fatigue may be more pronounced. Vitamin B12, iron and niacin are common culprits.
Vitamin B12 helps every cell in the body create energy. Since it is only found in animal products, it can be more difficult to get into your diet. If your pregnancy nausea has you turned off meat, or if you are a vegetarian, a vitamin B12 supplement may be helpful.
Low iron levels are common in women of childbearing age, and pregnancy. During pregnancy, your iron requirements increase to almost double what it was before. Most know eggs, animal meats and fortified cereals are sources of iron. But, did you know apricots, spinach, bok choy, nuts, legumes and pumpkin seeds are great, whole food plant-based sources of iron? Gobble up these up along with vitamin C-rich foods (e.g. raspberries, limes, broccoli) to help boost your body’s ability to absorb the iron.
Niacin is a coenzyme needed for cells to make energy. Whole grains, such as brown rice, are good sources of niacin (2.6 mg in one cup). It’s worth getting more niacin in your diet – studies have found that vitamin B6 plays a role in first trimester morning sickness.
What Foods Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
According to researchers, the diet of pregnant women in Canada is concerningly low in iron, iodine, calcium, vitamin D, folic acid and the omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. Simply ditching the processed foods and eating more whole foods can be an easy way to get more of these important nutrients into your diet. Toss berries on your breakfast bowl. Add lettuce and other vegetables to your sandwich. Snack on nuts and seeds. Order a side of vegetables instead of fries when eating out. It’s worth it! Not only will it help your body be better equipped to grow a baby, these nutrients can improve your energy levels!
6 Nutrients Most Pregnant Women Lack and Where to Find Them:
- Calcium – dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, dairy
- DHA – fish, squid, algae, omega-3 supplements
- Folic Acid – citrus, beans, leafy greens, some whole grains, supplements
- Iodine – saltwater seafood, sea vegetables (kelp)
- Iron – green leafy vegetables, legumes, seeds, apricots, meat and fish, liquid supplements
- Vitamin D – sunlight, fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified milk, supplements
The Healthiest Thing to Eat During Pregnancy
The best foods to eat during pregnancy are whole foods. Feel good about digging into your favourite vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans during pregnancy as these whole foods are rich in nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy. Protein is important in a healthy pregnancy – your muscles are hard at work carrying around extra weight. When making food choices, it’s wise to seek out foods that contain nutrients most pregnant women lack.
One delicious bite after another, put healthy foods on your fork. It’ll support your body and may even help with some pregnancy-related complaints. Oh, after birth don’t stop eating healthy! Research has shown that nutrition is crucial from conception to two years of life in the prevention of adulthood diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Allison Tannis MSc RHN
No stranger to cravings, this mom of two is the author of The 100 Healthiest Foods to Eat During Pregnancy, and four other healthy food books. A hilarious motivational speaker and blogger, find more at www.allisontannis.com or enjoy following her @deliciouslygeeky.
Maternal Diet and Nutrition Requirements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Nutrients. 2016 Oct; 8(10): 629.
Pregnancy diet and outcomes: Avon Longitudinal Study. Nutr Rev. 2015 Oct; 73(Suppl 3): 154–174.
- 1 cup frozen raspberries, organic
- 1 cup water
- 1 fresh mango, peeled and pitted
- 1 scoop protein powder of choice
- 1 scoop greens powder of choice (or handful of spinach)
- dash of vanilla extract
Stick it all in a blender. Take the minute while it blends to do a little dance (enjoying every chance to be active). Turn off the blender. Pour into your favourite glass. Add a non-plastic straw and get slurping!
Got strawberries around? Try my Avocado Strawberry Lime Smoothie next!