When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I craved cheese curls. A lot. And I gave into that craving. A lot. Now, I may have just completely discredited myself from being able to write a blog recommending healthy foods for pregnant moms, but I've learned a lot since then. And, I've met a lot of people much wiser than I who have the actual training to make valid recommendations. Today, I offer a few of those sage recommendations to all of you pregnant mamas out there and hope you enjoy them in good health!
Fruits & veggies. This might be a no-brainer, but fresh produce is a stellar source of nutrition. Eat a wide variety of colors for maximum impact. Here are a few tips for choosing and prepping your produce:
- Opt for organic, but if you can't always find or afford it, prioritize the Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies that the Environmental Working Group identified as having the highest levels of pesticide residues: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce, kale/collard greens. Find the Clean Fifteen conventional options that are safe to eat here.
- If you're on WIC, check out your local farmers' market. Thirty-five states accept WIC vouchers at farmers' markets and they usually have organic or pesticide-free produce. Learn more about farmers' markets and how to find one near you.
- When you get home, wash & prep all your produce. It's a real time-saver to prepare everything in one fell swoop. It also makes it super fast and easy to grab a healthy snack from your fridge whenever hunger sets in.
- Bump up the nutrition punch by dipping produce in nut butters or hummus.
- Hard boiled eggs. One egg packs in 6 grams of protein and some women swear by their power to quell morning sickness. Boil a dozen at a time and store in the refrigerator for another quick and healthy snack. (Learn whether or not it's worth it to buy organic.)
- Smoothies. I am NOT talking about the caloric monsters you find at the mall. I mean DIY; there are a million different ways. Smoothies are a tasty, fast and easy way to pack in a ton of nutrients. Consider the combinations you can make using healthy ingredients like almond milk, coconut water, yogurt & berries. Sneak in extra nutrients by tossing in some spinach or kale (trust me, you won't taste them mixed into the other delicious flavors).
- Trail mix. Skip the pre-made versions and whip up some trail mix using your favorite ingredients. Watch this video with nutritionist, mom and pregnancy wellness guru, Latham Thomas, about how eating protein snacks & maintaining a healthy blood sugar level all day can help eliminate morning sickness & nausea. Her solution is to keep a little bag of trail mix in your bag, she calls it the Pregnancy Pantry To-Go. (By the way, this video was submitted to us by Parent Earth, an awesome on-line video library and organization working to promote healthy eating. We're super excited to announce we'll be partnering with them on a bunch of cool projects in the near future!)
One more idea: check out "Feeding Baby Green" by pediatrician, author and Healthy Child Advisory Board member, Dr. Alan Greene. This amazing book has month-by-month advice for eating right during pregnancy and beyond - to really lay a foundation of good health and eating habits for your child.
What healthy, fast foods do you recommend? Any novel food ideas for morning sickness? Any crazy cravings you'd like to share?
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