Being healthy is never more important than during a pregnancy. Let’s face it, pregnancy is rough goings as it is, so hearing that we mothers-to-be need to suddenly eat amazingly healthy as well as feel awful isn’t a pretty sound. In fact, telling a pregnant woman that’s got pain throbbing through her sciatic nerve and swollen ankles that she needs to “clean up her diet” feels like a cinder block falling on her feet. Fortunately, pregnancy superfoods exist and are here to help rescue some of us from the doldrums of pregnancy blues. Pregnancy superfoods can help us right the ship that almost feels as though it is sinking (literally, I feel like I’m sinking every night I lay in my bed).
A recent pregnancy survey showed that 36 percent of pregnant women crumble when it comes to eating unhealthy foods. Are you one of those mothers-to-be? I most certainly am. The thought of that lonely duo, Ben and Jerry, chilling in my freezer without anyone to talk to sometimes destroys my soul. I feel terrible allowing them to suffer in darkness. So I rescue them. I know….you are probably wondering how they got moved into my freezer in the first place, right? Well, the issue for me begins far before their call for rescue sounds off in my brain’s hypothalamus. The problem for this girl is deep, to say the least. But guess what I’ve learned? Pregnancy superfoods can both help replenish nutrients for me and my nourishing baby and help me temper my appetite. Yep, superfoods tend to help people feel more satiated. People who are depleted of fiber or nutrient density are sitting ducks for sugar cravings. And sugar cravings are the call of the wild for our friends, Ben and Jerry.
This is why pregnant women and superfoods go together like pregnant women and baby showers. Our match has always been made in heaven, unfortunately, big food marketing to us preggos has always contributed to confusing us. The thing is, we don’t have to go out and buy prepackaged big food solutions. The box covers of happy pregnant women eating rice crispers that are “high in calcium and iron” are just there to reel us in. Nature has provided pregnant women with superfoods that don’t come in a package. They are readily available in produce areas and at farmer’s markets nationwide. You might even have a few hanging around your home.
You can bake them. You can roast them. Hey, go ahead and mash them. No matter how you decide to do them, they taste great, they are high in fiber, and they are loaded with vitamin A. Now, if you want the fiber benefits, don’t peel them (just wash them…ok?). Sweet potatoes can provide 4 times as much vitamin A as you and your developing baby will need.
There is nothing as wonderful as a perfectly baked salmon. I love to make salmon salad, actually. Salmon is going to provide you and your passenger with protein and a good amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Yes, modern society tends to push too much Omega 6 fatty acid on us (canola and sunflower oils and fatty meats). This has led to a nation of people suffering from inflammation. More seafood means more balance to your fat health profile. But of course, choose your salmon wisely and safely, you don’t want to make sure you don’t get mercury or antibiotic laden sources.
Here’s some good info on fish safety and pregnancy
If one more person tells me to eat quinoa, I may lose it (sorry, hostile hormonal pregnant woman warning). It seems there is always new trend and quinoa is one of the big ones that everyone has jumped on. It makes me really irritated until I realize one thing: (begin shyly voice) they are right (/end shyly voice)
What the heck is it about quinoa that makes it such a vital pregnancy superfood? Well, a lot, actually. Its a complete protein, for one, and from a vegan source, for two, and it is loaded with fiber, for three. So this trend is actually a legit one? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, it seems to be. And the great thing is it is easy to cook, though it is a little bit pricey. I love to make it similar to the way you’d make rice. I use some grass fed butter with it and it is a big hit for me and everyone in the family. I’m not even sure my husband knows he is eating quinoa. I intend to just never tell him, either (why create more annoyances for myself?)
This is a love and hate pregnancy superfood. First, the hate: Oatmeal, like beans, is pretty high in phytic acid. That can block nutrients from absorbing into your body. The good: its super high in magnesium that both you and your bundle of kicking joy need. And it is easy to make and super good. Add some cinnamon to it and get even more taste and even more health benefits.
Lean Grass Feed Meats
The grass fed trend is for real, my fellow moms to be. Grass fed meats are naturally leaner because the animal wasn’t fed grains all of its life for the purposes of fattening it up. This means less Omega 6 fatty imbalance issues. This would also be an essential source of your iron. Most grocery stores will mark their meats as grass fed. You can also ask if that means they were pasture fed their entire life spans (sadly, lots of marketing gimmicks depending on the store you shop in. It should be simple, but of course, it is not. Check the video.
NO! Oh, but YES! I’m not a huge fan of kale proper, but I’ve learned that this vitamin C and A superfood can be ingested in more palatable ways. I like to buy kale chips and feel like a big old pregnant hipster (hey, whatever works).
Now we are talking! Who doesn’t love almonds? Almonds taste great, they have loads of fiber, they are high in vitamin E and protein, and they give you that “full effect.” …as if the little bundle isn’t helping that process along with heartburn….but seriously, almonds can help satiate you during those hunger pang times. And at the same time, provide you with superfoods.
So now that you have the list of pregnancy superfoods, your mission is to take in a good daily amount. Habits are the most effective way to execute such a health endeavor. So start by forming a habit.
Here are some tips:
Start Your Day With One Pregnancy Superfood
Even if we are talking about a handful of almonds (or even less), just establish a habit that goes beyond a strategy. A habit will ensure that you don’t fail. HINT: You can also establish exercise habits and learning habits and brain health habits, the list really does go on.
Include Pregnancy Superfoods With Each Meal
A little spinach with your eggs, a piece of salmon with that sandwich, we aren’t talking rocket science here. Make it a point to have some pregnancy superfoods hanging around your meals. Put them in your meals. Put them on the side of your meals. Just make sure you put them there! Again, moms, it’s all about the habits!
Try A Superfood Shake
Do I hesitate to encourage convenience because it should all be sooooo difficult, right? Wrong. I have found that using superfood drinks can make getting your daily pregnancy superfoods a whole lot easier. There are a lot of scams out there, so be sure to check out my top 10 superfood green drinks list before diving in (unless you already have a prized one). Whole Foods has some solid ones for sale. Many on my list you can get on Amazon if you don’t feel like lugging yourself around a grocery store.
Don’t Feel The Pressure
I’m not talking about the pressure that is your baby knocking on life’s door, I mean, your pregnancy diet. You’re not going to be perfect, neither of us are. We can only do the best that we can. “Mistakes” are subjective. No one has the blueprint, we can only do what works for us and give our children the best possible start available. Just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you feel you slipped up, know that it isn’t the end of the world and ALL mothers to be slip up! You aren’t alone.
Soon, your bundle of joy will have arrived and you will be entering new territory. And after that, it will be back to school days! Oh, and then maybe Prom. Visiting colleges? The point is, time will fly by. Try your best to enjoy it and not become enslaved by some of the pregnancy dogma that many people try to preach. Just do your thing the best you know how to.