So, You’re Pregnant & Hungry
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] know the feeling mama-to-be. I was there – big n pregnant – not that long ago. Snacks for pregnant chicks are kind of like snacks for regular chicks but with a few exceptions.
First, there are foods that I had to give up for the time being – 10 Delicious Foods You Preggers Can’t Eat. Second, adjust the intake of nutrients that are especially important during pregnancy – folic acid (or folate), iron, and calcium.
Vitamins and minerals especially important for pregnancy
Folic acid is said to help reduce spinal cord damage and birth defects. This is great, just one thing though – is it folate or folic acid? What’s the difference? Here is what I found out:
While folic acid and folate are often marketed as one and the same, their metabolic effects can be quite different. Folate is the bioavailable, natural form of vitamin B9 found in a variety of plant and animal foods. Folic acid, while readily utilized by the body, is the synthetic form of the vitamin, often found in supplements and fortified foods.
Simply put, folate is naturally occurring form of the vitamin while folic acid is the synthetic form (think enriched foods). Keep in mind that interestingly, folic acid (synthetic form of the vitamin) is easier to digest for the body than it’s natural counterpart. Maybe, this is why doctors are keen on saying folic acid and not folate when suggesting an increase to their pregnant patients. So, if you opt for the natural folate, make sure you eat the right foods in the right amount.
The current daily intake recommendations for folate and folic acid are 400 mcg per day for women who are not expecting. When you are pregnant, that number jumps an additional 200 mcg, or 600 mcg daily intake, suggests American Dietetic Association (ADA).
Iron. While expecting, it’s suggested that you need 27 milligrams of iron per day in order to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Pregnancy will certainly take a toll on your body and energy levels. The last thing that you need is to feel extra tired and weak – a symptom of iron deficiency anemia.
Calcium. As we all know, calcium is necessary for healthy teeth, bones, muscles, nerves, and heart. The risk of not consuming enough calcium throughout your pregnancy is that the baby will take from your reserve if the developing fetus doesn’t have a sufficient supply. What does that mean for mom? Vulnerability to osteoporosis to start. Losing teeth to follow. I learned the hard way having to have an extraction in only the third month of my pregnancy with my first born. Side note – there is no novocaine when you’re pregnant.
The take away is this: consuming an adequate amount of calcium is important. It’s especially important during pregnancy and way easier than having teeth pulled. The recommended daily amount of calcium for pregnant and lactating women is 1000mg per day.
Veggies w/ Hummus Dip esp. Broccoli – calcium (180 mg), folate (about .25% of your daily requirement), fiber, and helps iron absorption (eat with pasta or whole wheat toast for full benefits). Asparagus has the highest amount of folate and is de-li-cious! Avocado (actually a fruit) packs a mean punch of folate (90 mcg) and is a great source of omegas.
TIP – homemade hummus is better than store bought!
Fruit w/ Dip & Smoothies. Apples are a great dipping fruit (try yogurt or cottage cheese with honey for quick dips). If you’re a heartburn victim in your pregnancy apples are a great way to help fight some of the acid reflux (I lived mini organic apples from Wegmans which are a prefect sized, portable snack). Bananas – fight fatigue with potassium rich food, great for nausea (I don’t recommend bananas if you have the pregger plug 😉 or constipation associated with pregnancy (isn’t that fun, ladies?)). Strawberries for some iron power and an amazingly fresh summer taste if you got to go strawberry picking this summer. Other great fruit for pregnant girls to have on hand: watermelon, pears, peaches, oranges, mangoes, avocados (yep, it’s a fruit), and so on.
Really you can’t go wrong with fruit. Making smoothies is a great way to get your fruit intake in a delicious blend. Add vanilla extract (try the non-alcoholic version), wheat germ, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and even almond butter). A huge plus – smoothies are a great place to add veggies for those of you who aren’t keen on vegetables (think kale, spinach). Now that’s a healthy snack that’ll help keep you going strong!
Eggs – proteins and amino acids. Eggs are also high in choline which help the optimal brain development of your bun. Make sure you cook them all the way through. As much as I love a sunny side up egg, I had to put it on the back burner (no pun intended) until my baby baking was done. Here are some of the other foods you should avoid during pregnancy: 10 Delicious Foods You Preggers Can’t Eat. I know it’s not exactly a snack but I loved a hard boiled egg from the fridge for that quick pop.
Oatmeal for days – dress it up any way you want and enjoy (think apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, etc…). My favorite way to eat oats is with salt and butter or try this Apple Cinnamon Bucks & Oats recipe! Oatmeal is a great source of fiber and iron. It might not sound like a good snack but trust me – mmmm. Here is one of my favorite recipes online for a delicious, no-bake snack: Quick + Easy No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bites (almond bites for me – replace peanut butter with crushed almonds).
Salads – the triple threat: calcium, folate, and iron! Remember, the darker the leaves, the more nutritious they are. Kale and spinach are a great choice if you’re seeking iron power. I had (and still do) made a feast out of my salads. I throw everything in there – tomatoes, cucumbers, tuna, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cauliflowers, carrots, onions, beans, peppers, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, mushrooms… Really, I could go on but you get the idea. One of these salads as a meal will provide you with 50% of your folate requirements for the day!
Nuts and sunflower seeds – great for baby brain development and helping mama keep her fuller longer with a dose of healthy fats. My go to nuts are walnuts, almonds (calcium punch here), and cashews. Sunflower seeds provide a healthy punch of folate and calcium too!
Popcorn – obsessed. This is the perfect snack for those nights that you want to vacuum the fridge with your mouth. Sorry, sometimes that’s exactly how I felt. Here’s what saved me: When the Cravings Come Calling – Homemade Popcorn
Your Turn Bees – What are your Favorite Preggo Snacks?
As always, I want to hear your thoughts. What did I miss? I am dying to know what kind of snacks you Bees are balancing on your bellies as you’re munching late into the night.
15 Foods High in Folic Acid – Global Healing Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/folic-acid-foods/
American Dietetic Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.diet.com/store/facts/american-dietetic-association
Anemia in Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/anemia-in-pregnancy
Chait, J. (2010, March 9). Key nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.pregnancyandbaby.com/pregnancy/articles/933973/key-nutrients-for-a-healthy-pregnancy
Iron Rich Food | List of Meats, Vegetables & Meals | American Red Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/health-and-wellness/iron-rich-foods
Lipoff, S. (2014, October 14). The Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant | POPSUGAR Moms. Retrieved from http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Best-Foods-Eat-While-Pregnant-24122764?stream_view=1#photo-24122998
Osteoporosis – Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/basics/definition/CON-20019924
Professionals for Women‘s Health —- Obstetrics: Calcium Intake in Pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.pwhealth.com/obstetricscalciumintake.php
Schober, D. (2013, October 29). 10 Foods You Should Be Eating During Pregnancy – Fit To Be Pregnant. Retrieved from http://fittobepregnant.com/2013/10/29/10-foods-you-should-be-eating-during-pregnancy/
Schocker, L. (2013, April 25). Surprisingly Calcium-Rich Foods That Aren’t Milk. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/calcium-food-sources_n_1451010.html
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