It’s easy, when you’re pregnant or otherwise, to get caught up in the idea of superfoods. Those foods that are so super nutritious they’re going to cure our every ail… or will they? Like I go over in my clean lean mama course (stay tuned for the re-release, later this month!), superfood does not have to mean expensive ingredients with high expectations. Superfoods can simply be everyday foods that are especially nutrient-dense, and in pregnancy, I consider super foods to be foods that are especially beneficial for mama, and baby. Because as I discussed in my Top 10 Nutrients for a Healthy Pregnancy post, maternal nutrition is HUGE- for baby, and for mama. So I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite everyday pregnancy superfoods- foods that will optimize your nutrition, throughout pregnancy, nursing, and beyond. So even if you have more than one day in a row of only feeling like eggs and toast (not that that ever happened to me…), at least you know you’ll still be doing something good for babe.
1. Kale (and other leafy greens)
Surprised? Not just because it’s one of my favorite foods, kale and other dark leafy greens are nutrition powerhouses- especially during pregnancy. Packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Iron (best when cooked with citrus!) and even a little Calcium! It’s great sauteed up with lots of garlic or massaged with mashed avocado for a creamy kale salad.
2. Organic Whole Milk yogurt
Organic, because we don’t want any extra hormones (we have enough already), WHOLE, because the baby needs fat! Or rather, YOU need fat to absorb and assimilate those nutrients that are so crucial for baby. Doesn’t hurt that it’s packed full of probiotics, calcium, protein and some iron, yogurt is a delicious tangy pregnancy staple. (Can’t stomach yogurt? Try adding whole milk kefir to your smoothie, instead!).
3. Bone Broth
Bone broth, used in soup or just sipped, is a fantastic source of minerals- especially that ever-important calcium. Right from the bones to your baby’s! It’s a comforting, easy-on-the stomach, nutrient packed drink when nausea rears it’s ugly head.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are sweet and yummy, but they are also nutritional stars! Packed with Vitamin A and Vitamin C, lots of fiber, even some iron and a little calcium. They are fantastic baked, mashed or sliced, drizzled with coconut oil and roasted into fries.
5. Pastured Lamb and/or Wild-Caught Salmon
Lamb is quite possibly the healthiest meat. Yes, it is high in fat- but that fat aids in absorbing Vitamin A, D, E and K- which your baby needs! It also helps ensure proper hormone production, which we know is important. But did you know grass-fed lamb is high in DHA- that ever important Omega-3 fatty acid? That’s right- it’s not as potent as in fish, but it’s there, all the same! Lamb, as all red meats, is incredibly high in protein and iron- two essentials for your growing baby. Wild Salmon is similar- one of the healthiest fish you can consume, high in Omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain health, protein and minerals including potassium and selenium.
While we are on the subject line of fats, avocado is one of the best for baby. It’s also got a lot of vitamin C, and even a little vitamin A. Believe it or not, fatty avocado is also high in fiber– around 10 g per cup, and those of us who need extra fiber, need extra fiber. Get into the guac!
7. Chia Seeds
An antioxidant-rich, plant based source of those important omega-3s and high in fiber, helpful to often-irritated digestive tracts, chia seeds are all-around a super, superfood. In pregnancy, they are even better- sprinkled on top of yogurt or blended into a smoothie is my favorite way to enjoy them (sip fast or you’ll have pudding!).
8. Coconut Oil
Oh, coconut oil. I cannot even begin to express my love. The fragrant, beachy scent, the fresh, tropical flavour, and those ever-amazing medium-chain triglycerides. Did I mention it is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and those medium-chain fats, especially Lauric Acid, happen to be the same to those found in human breastmilk. Please don’t get caught up in recent reports that coconut oil is bad for you due to the saturated fat content– as with any fat, having it in balance with other fats is key.
My favorite food of all-time, eggs are fantastic for pregnancy. High in protein and choline, in the yolks, is especially good for brain health. Free-range eggs naturally contain Vitamin D and Omega-3 fats. Plus, they’re delicious, and a great quick protein source for mamas who struggle with enjoying other animal foods as a protein source.
Not only are berries delicious, they are packed with antioxidants to keep those free-radicals away. The bright colors indicate nutrients like Vitamin A and C , both needed for baby, and the fiber helps pack the nutrient-rich punch! Smoothies or on top of a fresh bowl of yogurt with a hint of honey is my favorite way to enjoy- especially when just in season in the early summer!
Do you have a favorite pregnancy superfood? Share with us!