Pregnancy is an exciting time filled with emotions and a whirlwind of preparation. Of course, it’s important to look ahead and plan when your little bundle of joy finally arrives. However, many forget it’s equally necessary to focus on the pregnancy journey.
It can be good to have a few go-to healthy pregnancy recipes to make eating well that much easier.
Studies have shown that most pregnant women are missing key nutrients from their diets, which is cause for concern.
While you’re performing the miracle of growing a human life inside you, you must fuel your body with the proper foods necessary for this amazing task to continue and for your baby to thrive and grow.
In the postpartum stage, too, nutrition plays a very important role.
Although it can sometimes be difficult, getting the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and exercise is something medical experts highly recommend for a good reason. Read on for four super healthy (and simple) recipes for pregnancy and postpartum.
Foods to Avoid
Before we dive into what foods are great for pregnant women and growing babies, we’ll touch on an equally important subject: foods to avoid. Certain foods are best for those expecting to avoid them for various reasons.
For example, undercooked or cured meat can pose a risk of toxoplasmosis, which can induce miscarriage.
Unpasteurized dairy products, meanwhile, could contain the harmful bacteria listeria, which can have the same effect. Certain types of fish can contain high amounts of mercury or pollutants.
Below is a list of foods that are best avoided for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers:
- Rare steak.
- Moldy cheeses.
- Cured meats.
- Organ meats.
- Raw sprouts.
It’s worth noting that this list is inexhaustive. It is always best to consult your doctor on what you can and cannot eat and drink while pregnant.
Healthy Recipes for Pregnancy and Postpartum
Most experts agree upon a list of the most important vitamins and minerals to intake while pregnant.
The general consensus is that a pregnant or breastfeeding woman should get around 300 extra calories daily in her diet. Making sure to fit in all of these extras is tricky, but certain nutrients are crucial for a healthy mom and baby during pregnancy.
These include folic acid, iron, calcium, Vitamin D, and fiber. These have different functions, from providing extra energy and calories to helping to prevent constipation—a common side effect of pregnancy many moms-to-be will be all too familiar with.
Some, such as folic acid, help to promote healthy fetal development and prevent congenital disabilities of the brain and spine.
Below are some tasty, simple, and healthy recipes for pregnant women. All are made using easy-to-source ingredients you can pick up in your local supermarket. None takes more than 30 minutes to prepare.
Breakfast: Greek Yoghurt Topped With Fresh Fruit and Granola
This recipe is super simple to assemble, taking less than five minutes in the morning. It’s the perfect get-up-and-go breakfast when you’re short on time but need fuel for a busy day.
Another great thing about this breakfast is that you can mix and match the toppings you choose, so it’s never dull.
One tip is to either make your batch of granola or buy one that’s low in sugar or sugar-free. High amounts of sugar should be avoided while pregnant.
You can choose any fruit, but something high in fiber might be good.
In this recipe, Greek yogurt provides much-needed calcium and protein, the fruit provides fiber and vitamins, and the granola is a good fiber source.
You can also add some nuts and seeds if you like. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, protein, and fiber.
Lunch: Bacon and Asparagus Frittata
A slice of a frittata is always a nice light and easy lunch. You can make a tray at the beginning of the week and eat for a few days afterward. Add a small side salad with a tasty dressing to increase your greens intake.
This recipe substitutes bacon for ham in this traditional flavor profile. The reason is that ham and all packaged meats should be eaten with care when pregnant.
This option is wonderful because it has an array of important nutrients. The eggs in the frittata contain choline which helps develop the baby’s spinal cord.
Bacon is a good source of iron. Asparagus is filled with folate; one cup has almost one-third of your daily iron needs.
Snack: Apple and Peanut Butter
It’s hard to think of a simpler snack than chopped apples topped with peanut butter. But they taste great together and are fantastic for fuelling expectant mothers in their busy days.
Make sure to pick a peanut butter with no added sugar, and try not to eat a whole jar in one go.
Peanut butter is a great source of extra calories and protein. Apples, meanwhile, have loads of fiber, but only if you keep the skin on!
Dinner: Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Spinach, and Avocado Buddha Bowl
Like the Greek yogurt and granola above, buddha bowls are a nice meal because you can mix and match different ingredients to suit your mood.
Ensure you have a good mix of leafy greens, veggies, healthy fats, and whole grains. This one, in particular, is great because it requires little prep, but it’s jam-packed with nutrients.
The sweet potato is filled with fiber and contains beta-carotene, promoting healthy fetal development. Quinoa has lots of protein and fiber. And Spinach is filled with folate.
You can top this all off with whatever (low sugar) sauce or dressing you like, and just like that, you’ve got a wholesome and delicious pregnancy-friendly meal.
Fuel Your Body in the Right Way
Felling the body properly is vitally important for everyone, especially pregnant and postpartum women.