A healthy diet is a huge factor in improving your lifestyle and even more important when you’re growing a tiny baby inside of your belly.
Babies require healthy foods to help with their development and growth. Quality foods, instead of quantity, will do just that. We know how appetizing that hamburger looks, but remember: “healthy mommy, healthy baby.”
At The WOMB Vaughan, we accompany you on this exciting journey, providing you with the best holistic approach to your new nutritional plan. You’ll receive advice on making smart mealtime decisions that will benefit your pregnancy in the healthiest way.
Hungry? We begin by focusing on a balanced diet that features some of our favourite foods for a healthy pregnancy. Here’s our personally curated list of the best foods to eat while pregnant:
Healthy foods made from fresh, unprocessed vegetables are a vital part of any healthy pregnancy. As important as they are for everyone else, fresh veggies are downright essential for a pregnant woman. This is doubly true for dark greens such as kale and spinach that can provide fibre and antioxidants, while broccoli and cauliflower are abundant in fibre and calcium.
In fact, dark green leafy vegetables are known to contain a whole host of nutrients. These power-packed foods benefit pregnancies by reducing the risk of low birth weight in unborn babies. For example, on its own, kale contains all of the following:
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin K
Not only that, kale is an excellent natural source of folate that pregnant women would otherwise have to get from folic acid, a synthetic form found in supplements and fortified foods. For inspiration for your next meal, try putting kale in your salads, smoothies, soup, and burgers.
When it comes to nutritional benefits and great taste, not many foods can compare to fresh fruit. These vitamin-filled, natural snacks can help pregnant women attain their daily quotas for many essential nutrients.
When choosing fresh fruits, try to specifically choose berries and figs for their long list of nutrients. Dates and prunes are excellent for their fibre, potassium and magnesium, while blueberries boast Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.
As well, blueberries are known as a superfood for their disease-fighting antioxidants that help guard against free radicals.
While they can be eaten in a freshly washed state so as to absorb their raw nutritional value, fresh fruit can also be incorporated into your diet by being turned into smoothies, side dishes, sauces, and more. When looking to snack on something between meals, choose fresh fruit as the smart way to satisfy your appetite and load you up with high nutritional value.
Unsaturated fats are downright healthy for your pregnancy. In fact, you can count on them to help promote brain, nerve and eye development in unborn babies.
There are two types of unsaturated fats required during pregnancy. The first type is the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, nuts, nut oils, and nut butters. You’ll also find this healthy fat in avocados and pumpkin seeds that provide a boost of B vitamins.
The other type is the polyunsaturated fat found in fish, nuts, and seeds. This healthy fat provides the Omega-3 and Omega-6 that are crucial towards the development of a baby’s brain, visual and nervous system.
Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are a great source of Omega-3, and also happen to be high in fibre and antioxidants. Just add them to your smoothies, yogurt or salads to get the full benefit of this powerful, life-enabling nutrient.
Protein & Iron
Protein is crucial for a baby’s growth. For an expectant mother to receive the necessary protein intake, she needs to get her protein from sources like meats, and legumes.
For an excellent source of protein, try lentils! These powerhouse foods are high in protein, fibre, and iron, making them an excellent food to eat during pregnancy.
In addition to protein, pregnant women need to consume ample amounts of iron, particularly during the third trimester. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin that enables red blood cells to deliver oxygen to your baby.
For the best way to absorb iron, plan meals that match iron-rich foods with those that are high in vitamin C such as tomatoes, oranges, or bell peppers. And if you’re not a fan of lean meats, you can supplement your iron intake by eating other iron-rich foods such as dried beans, peas, or spinach.
It’s very important for pregnant women to build up their energy. For your pregnancy, choose nutrient-dense, fibre-rich foods full of good-for-you carbohydrates.
For foods rich in carbs, try incorporating some of these foods into your diet:Quinoa and Buckwheat:
• Gluten-free and high in protein and fibre.
• Squash: Vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, fibre, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium
• Oats: A whole grain full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
For another food rich in carbs, try sweet potatoes. This root vegetable is rich in beta carotene, a chemical that gets converted into the vitamin A that your growing baby requires.
As well, sweet potatoes are a rare natural food source of vitamin D. This makes it a plant-based way to boost the calcium absorption necessary to build baby bones and teeth, and keep immune systems strong.
To get the benefit of all these nutrients, a pregnant woman needs to keep her digestive health at peak levels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to regularly eat fermented foods that can introduce good bacteria like probiotics into the gut. .
Try incorporating these fermented foods into your diet:
• Sourdough bread
We also recommend pregnant women to take a high-quality probiotic supplement for best results.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
In order to ensure both mother and unborn baby receive the optimal nutrition, it’s important to incorporate a good-quality prenatal vitamin and mineral supplement into your diet when planning for parenthood and during pregnancy. At The WOMB Vaughan, we recommend NFH Prenatal SAP, a supplement that can prevent and correct vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and allow you to achieve benefits seen beyond typical dietary intake levels.
For your convenience, this is one of the many professional-grade vitamins and supplements we have available at our centre. We invite you to come into our centre, or give us a call and a member of our care team will be happy to assist you.
It can definitely be a challenge to maintain a balanced diet that regularly incorporates the foods that a growing baby needs. Not only is it possible, but it will help you feel great and will expose you to new and delicious foods. And you can do it with the help and support of our incredible team at The WOMB Vaughan.
Our Holistic Nutritionists and Naturopathic Doctors can help provide you with the nutritional guidance to maintain a healthy pregnancy. We offer care and understanding at this exciting yet nerve-wracking part of your life. Our professionally trained experts are here to support you in your journey towards a healthy pregnancy for mommy and baby.
Are you interested in Holistic Nutrition or Naturopathy? The WOMB Vaughan offers these and many services that help women throughout the many stages of familyhood! Our wellness centre is designed to provide the highest levels of loving care to our community. For more information about our services, contact us today!