13 essential foods to eat during pregnancy

These healthy foods items have the nutrients that you and your baby needs.

Fortified Breakfast Cereal

Folate is an important nutrient. It is very important to have foods rich in folate before conception and during your first few weeks of pregnancy. Doctors advise to take 400 micrograms per day through vitamin supplements or fortified foods. Breakfast cereal is an easy and good way to get folate. Other foods that are naturally high in folate are asparagus and black-eyed peas.

Dried Beans & Lentils

The protein requirement of a woman increases by 10 grams during pregnancy. Beans and lentils are an excellent source which can provide proteins up to 15 grams per cup. They also help you to cope up with constipation as they are high in fibre. 1 cup of cooked lentils meets half of your daily folate requirement.

Broccoli

Broccoli is high in calcium and folate. Also, it is rich in fibre and disease-fighting antioxidants. As it contains plenty of vitamin C, it is very good in absorbing iron when it is consumed with iron rich food like brown rice.

Skimmed Milk

Due to the high requirement of milk during pregnancy as the baby is also dependent on you for calcium, it is recommended to aim for 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. A 250 ml glass covers 30% of this requirement.

Bananas

Banana is high in potassium and quickly provides you with the energy to fight off pregnancy fatigue. They are also lite on the stomach if you are nauseated. You can either have it with cereals or make a breakfast smoothie yogurt with berries.

Lean Meat

During pregnancy you need twice the amount of iron than you needed before conceiving. It is important to include plenty of iron-rich foods during pregnancy. Lack of iron will lead to fatigue. Meat provides a form of iron that is easily absorbed by your body.

Eggs

Aversions are very common during pregnancy. Many women develop aversions to meat during pregnancy. Eggs are a great substitute for meat. They are an excellent protein source, since they contain all the required amino acids your body needs during pregnancy. There is nothing like a quick dinner of omelet and lots of vegetables. If you cannot stand the cooking aromas, hard-boil a batch of eggs. It is a good option for breakfast-on-the-go.

Oatmeal

To kick start your morning have a bowl of oatmeal few times a week. Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal keep you full for longer, and the oat bran it contains helps you lower your cholesterol levels. Make the plain oatmeal with maple syrup instead of buying high-sugar flavoured oatmeal.

Leafy Greens

Cooked spinach is high in folate and iron, whereas turnip is a good calcium source. You can also add greens to your sandwich or make a soup or pasta dishes with it.

Whole-Grain Bread

By avoiding white bread and consuming whole-grain bread your recommended daily aim of consuming 20 to 35 daily grams of fiber is achieved. Whole-grain bread is also a great natural source of iron and zinc.

Oranges

Oranges are full of vitamin C, folate & fibre. Moreover, they are nearly 90% water and help you meet your daily fluid requirement.

Soy Foods

There is no harm in following a vegetarian diet while you are pregnant as long as you make an effort to consume necessary nutrients. Do consult your dietician before you start any diet.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit are portable, tasty and full of nutrient. Apricots, cherries, and cranberries help to prevent urinary tract infections. However, you must stay away from dried bananas, as they are processed in oil and loaded with fat.