When you’re eating for two, it’s doubly important to make sure you’re fueling your baby’s growing body and your own with the right nutrients. Below, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the most important nutrients during pregnancy, along with tasty recipes to help you incorporate each of them into your diet. Read on for some delicious (and nutritious) mealtime inspiration.
Experts say you need twice as much iron during pregnancy. Iron helps in the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body, including your baby. Getting plenty of iron can help prevent anemia, fatigue, low birth weight and premature delivery.
Pork is rich in iron, and we love this sheet pan baked parmesan pork chops with potatoes and asparagus from The Wholesome Dish.
It’s good to load up on folate-rich foods early in your pregnancy, because they can reduce the risk of birth defects that can develop in the first few weeks of being pregnant. Folate also helps build your baby’s heart, circulatory system, brain and spinal cord.
Get your folic acid fix with these amazing zucchini parmesan crisps from Damn Delicious. In addition to being good for you, they’ll also satisfy that fried food craving that has been driving you crazy.
Iodine helps build your baby’s brain and nervous system, and also helps keep your thyroid functioning normally. It’s easy to get enough iodine in your diet, especially since our table salt is usually iodized.
Cheese is also rich in iodine, so we’ll take that as a perfect reason to whip up a cheese lasagna inspired by The Wholesome Dish.
Zinc helps with your baby’s cell growth and DNA production, while also building your own immune system to help prevent the flu and other illnesses—because no one wants to be sick when they're pregnant!
To get your fill of zinc, add some turkey to your diet, like this delish butternut squash turkey chili from Fannetastic Food.
During pregnancy, you should be getting 1,000 milligrams a day of calcium, which is key for developing your little one’s bones and teeth. As for you, not getting enough calcium now can lead to osteoporosis later in life—all the more reason to fill up on your favorite calcium-rich foods.
Our minds go straight to cheese, yogurt and milk when we think of calcium, but it can also be found in chia seeds, sunflower seeds and oats. These healthy pregnancy cookies from A Proverbs 31 Wife contain all three of those ingredients, which is a win in our book.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which in turn builds your baby's teeth and bones. Vit D is created in the skin when it’s exposed to UV rays, but you can also get it through foods such as eggs, fortified milk and fatty fish.
Switch up your breakfast and get in some vitamin D with this tasty twist on avocado toast (eggs, spinach and tomatoes, yum!) from Two Peas and Their Pod.
It’s important to get lots of vitamin C during pregnancy, especially since your body doesn’t produce it naturally. It supports your immune system, protects tissues from damage and helps your body absorb iron.
There are lots of foods that are rich in vitamin C, but one of our favorites is sweet potatoes. Whip up a batch of sweet potato chips like these from Minimalist Baker to get your daily dose of C.
Protein is a key part of the tissues that make up the human body, so it’s vital to get plenty of it to support your little one’s organ growth. Protein also contributes to cell repair and the production of amino acids.
Shrimp is a good source of protein, so whip up this shrimp and avocado salad from Natasha’s Kitchen for a light, healthy lunch.
DHA (aka docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid that supports the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. You can fill up on DHA by eating foods like herring, salmon, trout, halibut and walnuts.
Get your fish fix with this fab recipe for grilled salmon tacos from Cooking Classy.
— Susie Foresman