We are so excited for our friend, Rachel Ramsey Cruze, who just recently announced her pregnancy. With all the healthy eating discussions over which we obsess around here, we realized that we had not published any recipes specifically designed for an expectant mom. We have three clinical dietitians on staff, among all our other resident recipe developers and food authorities, so a post on this topic was right up our alley. Congratulations, Rachel!
Eating right during pregnancy is important for the health of both mom and baby. Enjoy a well-balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Consider these three nutrients when planning your meals and snacks.
Folic acid is essential for the development of the baby’s spinal cord during the very early stages of pregnancy, and sufficient folic acid intake reduces the risk of certain birth defects that affect the brain and spinal cord. Most doctors recommend a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid, but you can also boost your folic acid intake by eating dark green leafy vegetables, beans and peas, citrus fruits and juices and fortified cereals and grains.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in pregnant women. Iron is needed for carrying oxygen throughout the bloodstream to the growing baby, as well as performing several other functions in the body. Foods rich in iron include red meat, poultry, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, beans and fortified cereals.
Related Article: How to be a Healthy Vegetarian
Calcium is needed during pregnancy for healthy development of a baby’s bones, teeth, muscles and heart. When a mom-to-be isn’t getting enough calcium in her diet, it is taken from her bones for the baby. Pregnant women can get enough calcium by including at least three servings of dairy every day, including milk, yogurt and cheese.
Related Article: Top 10 Budget-Friendly Superfoods
Try this healthy smoothie recipe specially formulated to include the nutrients needed by a mom-to-be. Greek yogurt provides calcium, while spinach contributes iron. Including Vitamin C-rich orange juice helps your body absorb the iron from the spinach.
- 2 cups frozen peach slices
- 2 cups frozen mango chunks
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups orange juice
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or smoothie maker. Cover and blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.
Need more healthy smoothie recipes? The eMeals Healthy Breakfast Plan includes one quick smoothie recipe for a new flavorful combination each week. Check out these additional recipes:
And if you’re a mom-to-be interested in learning more about how eMeals can help you eat healthy during your pregnancy, check out our Clean Eating Meal Plan!
-Text by Jessica Cox, RD