If there is one thing we are told time and time again during our pregnancies it is all the foods and drinks we should be avoiding.
How many times do we hear ‘oh you’re not allowed to eat that now’… it becomes draining and such a negative experience.
So we are going to focus on the foods you should be eating during pregnancy (if you can still stomach them).
Pregnancy is one of those times where our hormones go absolutely freaking haywire and when you’re craving those scones with jam and cream (my current craving) there’s nothing that will get in your way.
Which is why it’s important to at least try to eat more of these healthy foods, to balance out those weird cravings.
Oh you thought I was going to tell you that you couldn’t indulge in your cravings? Yeah, that’s never going to happen.
It’s always my goal to eat more from this list so I don’t feel so bad about the scones or Krispy Kreme’s or whatever the current craving is.
1 – Raw Cacao
Super, super high in iron, raw cacao is an amazing substitute for chocolate.
Not only does it give you a mega dose of the iron you need in pregnancy, it also has around 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and is full of magnesium too – which can help with those aches and cramps that are way too common.
Studies have also shown that the consumption of chocolate/cacao in pregnancy could reduce your risk of pre-eclampsia, a serious complication in pregnancy that can be life threatening.
Many women crave chocolate during pregnancy, or are worried that their intake of chocolate may not be good for pregnancy (moderation is always a good thing), so using an alternative like raw cacao can really help.
Just remember, calcium reduces the uptake of iron so if you’re wanting to use raw cacao powder for a hot chocolate, (or having things like cereals with iron and adding milk to it), you’re not actually absorbing as much iron as you may think. Use an alternative like coconut milk, or oat milk instead. Yum!
You can also make your own little chocolates by mixing cacao powder, coconut oil, and a sweetener like honey or rice malt syrup or even adding almond butter for a nutty dose of good, healthy fats.
2 – Eggs
Nutrient dense, highly filling and full of protein plus can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a snack! Winner!
Some people avoid eggs in pregnancy because they are concerned about the transmission of bacteria, however as long as your egg is cooked properly there is limited cause for concern.
To be even more sure, you can always prepare your eggs yourself.
They also are a great start to the day in an omelet or as scrambled eggs as the protein will help keep you fuller for longer.
As far as Vitamins go they are rich in Vit A and D which are essential in pregnancy.
3 – Broccoli and Leafy Greens
I’m not going to ramble off all the vitamins and benefits of broccoli and leafy greens because there’s literally too many to mention.
But for real, get some into your diet when you’re pregnant! In any way you can.
If you hate broccoli (it’s okay, it’s not exactly my fave) I either blitz it up in a green smoothie or fry it up in butter. Yeah… I love butter. I also slice up the stalks super thin and fry them off too… yum!
You can also add your leafy greens into your smoothies too – it’s such an easy way to jam pack your goodness into your diet!
4 – Avocados
Not that I need to be told to eat more avocados, but it’s still good to hear the big green light with the green goodness of avocados. Yum!
Mash them up, add them to salad, have it on top of steak, bake an egg into it… whatever you want to do!
FYI, I make an amazing avocado chocolate mousse… it’s insanely tasty. Add some fresh raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries for a decadent treat!
5 – Healthy Fats (including animal fats, coconut oil, olive oil)
These are fats that are best absorbed by the body and used as energy instead of relying on carbohydrates for energy.
Fat is also an essential element for foetal brain development and is present in our breast milk too.
6 – Yoghurt
Not only is it super tasty, but it’s also high in probiotics to help keep your insides fighting fit and boost that immune system!
Remember to always have full fat options when it comes to yoghurt and milk too – the low fat ones often have sugar added and the fat in milk and yoghurt is actually good for you.
You can also add it to a bunch of the other foods in this list including the berries, nuts or even oats!! It also makes an awesome substitute when making dressings for salads. Yum!
7 – Nuts
When second trimester kicks in and the nausea starts to subside, you might find yourself hungry pretty much all the time.
Nuts can be a handy little snack to keep around to munch on when hunger strikes. Not only are they a nifty little treat, they are full of awesome fats to help keep you fuller for longer and help with baby’s brain development.
Add some toasted coconut flakes, dried dates and cacao nibs and you have a super tasty granola going on!
8 – Salmon
There’s a reason why just about every ‘diet’ ever recommends eating Salmon – it’s one of those incredible superfoods that pack a heck of a punch.
It’s even been shown to increase the IQ of your child if you consume it during pregnancy too!
The short story is that it contains high levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid responsible for brain development.
No need to stress about mercury consumption with salmon though, just ensure you stick to around 2 serves per week and you’ll be fine.
The mercury levels are so small that in this level of servings there’s no need to cause alarm.
9 – Oats
Oats get a bit of a bad rap in some of the health realms and are celebrated in others.
Here, we celebrate them because they are tasty little morsels that are so incredibly versatile and easy to prepare – which we love. And they are full of all kinds of goodness.
Naturally gluten free (winner for those with intolerances) oats contain a good source of dietary fibre which can help with that lovely constipation that tends to come with pregnancy too.
10 – Blueberries & Other Berries
Berries, particularly blueberries, are high in potassium which can help keep your blood pressure regulated (a good thing for those who are at risk of pre-eclampsia and pregnancy induced hypertension).
They are also filled with vitamin C, which helps with the absorption of iron, and antioxidants. Plus, they are a great sweet alternative to Krispy Kreme donuts (okay, maybe they are on totally different playing fields but still…).
As always, check with your health care professional about any dietary changes you make in pregnancy, particularly if you have food intolerances.
And don’t beat yourself up for the occasional sweet treat – pregnancy is bloody tough! Eating healthy will help make you feel good, but sometimes chocolate does too!