7 foods you must include in your pregnancy diet
Date: Friday, Aug 14, 2020
They don’t call it ‘eating for two’ for nothing. It's important to pay attention to what you eat when you're on a pregnancy diet, because you need to make sure that your baby is also getting the nutrients they need to develop well.
The energy requirement for pregnant women is 2,000kcal, only 300 kcal up from the 1,700 kcal a day recommended for women in Singapore.1 However, your need for folate, calcium and protein increases significantly during pregnancy, so prioritise nutrient-dense foods over bigger quantities of what you normally enjoy.
While a general healthy diet is recommended, there are certain foods that are more beneficial to pregnant women than others. Here are seven foods you should have in your meals to ensure a healthy pregnancy diet.
An often-debated topic is whether it's safe to eat fish during pregnancy. It's true that some kinds of fish – especially large fish like shark and king mackerel – have high mercury levels and this is dangerous for your growing baby.2
However, fish is a good source of beneficial nutrients such as iron and zinc, and the omega-3 fatty acids in many types of fish also help to promote your baby's brain development.
Salmon has an especially high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, and is also rich in vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and immune function. Other pregnancy-safe fish include anchovies, cod, sardines and freshwater trout.3
Get two to three servings a week, but do ensure that the fish is cooked properly to yield the optimal nutrients for pregnancy. And stay away from uncooked fish and shellfish such as oysters, sushi and sashimi.4
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and a healthy food choice for pregnant women; they contain choline, a nutrient that helps with baby's brain development.5 Make sure they're cooked properly, as undercooked eggs may lead to salmonella infection. It's best to enjoy eggs fried, scrambled or hard-boiled when pregnant, so as to reduce the chances of this happening.
Don't forget that things like cake batter contain raw eggs; if you're an avid home baker, resist the temptation to 'lick the bowl' when you're baking, no matter how tempting the batter looks!
One of the most nutrient-packed vegetables you can buy at the market, broccoli has lots of useful nutrients that pregnant women need, such as folate and calcium. It also contains vitamin C, zinc and potassium, is rich in fibre, and is packed with antioxidants. Enjoy it fresh—but wash well before eating it.6
Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits to consume during pregnancy - it’s rich in potassium and also contains vitamin C and vitamin B-6. Plus, it has a high fibre content which might help with constipation, a common condition in many pregnant women.
Eat them whole, cut them into slices and drop then in with your cereal or add it to your breakfast smoothie.
Vitamin A is important for healthy foetal development, particularly the development of their eyes and skin cells; and you’ll find this nutrient in abundance in sweet potatoes. These root crops also contain fibre – you'll get more with the skin on – which improves digestive health and also leaves you feeling full for longer. The latter means you won't be reaching for any unhealthy snacks when you're peckish!
You’ll hardly get bored with this food, as there are so many ways to cook sweet potatoes – baked, mashed, roasted... choose the style that best fits your preferences.
Whether it's lentils, beans or chickpeas that you love most, add more of them into your pregnancy diet. Legumes have loads of dietary benefits, as major sources of iron, protein, calcium and fibre. And, most importantly, they contain folate, which is especially essential for pregnant women.7
Having a sufficient amount of folate during your pregnancy reduces your baby's risk of some birth defects, so get your fill of your preferred legume through these nine months.8
Your body needs extra calcium and protein when you're pregnant, in order to nourish your baby. Dairy products are the best source of calcium, and provide nutrition for pregnant mothers, so include milk and yoghurt in your diet and choose low-fat versions whenever possible.
A2 milk is an ideal choice for women who get digestive discomfort after drinking milk; this dairy product is gentler on your gastrointestinal system.9 And, if you're lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or probiotic yoghurt.
For more tips, Contact Us to chat with our friendly Club Illume consultants.
- 1. https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/928/pregnancy-nutrition-during-pregnancy-eating-right-for-two
- 2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-fish/art-20044185
- 3. https://www.babymed.com/food-and-nutrition/how-safe-it-eat-sushi-or-raw-fish-during-pregnancy
- 4. https://lilynicholsrdn.com/research-backed-benefits-eating-eggs-pregnancy/
- 5. https://www.drgourmet.com/pregnancy/nutrients.shtml
- 6. https://www.happyfamilyorganics.com/learning-center/mama/how-to-include-more-beans-legumes-in-your-diet/
- 7. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/about.html
- 8. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2019-02-05/should-you-drink-a2-milk