by Elana Vey, DTR
Varieties of White Cheese – Cheeses such as Swiss, mozzarella, Parmesan, and feta are great sources of calcium and protein, but are naturally lower in saturated fat than most yellow cheeses. Mozzarella cheese sticks are also an easy option for getting some protein in on the go.
Berries – Berries are a delicious naturally sweet treat that taste great in cereal, blended in smoothies, or simply eaten alone. They also happen to be proven cancer-fighters, and excellent sources of fiber and vitamins A & C.
Dark Leafy Greens– Greens such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, and Swiss chard are nutrient powerhouses, and are packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber and antioxidants. They are also a great source of iron for non-meat eaters. Try adding them to salads, soups, or omelets.
Beans – This can offer a great alternative source of protein to meat, whether you’re a practicing vegetarian or just looking for a little variety. Beans such as lentils, garbanzo beans and pinto beans taste great in salads, tacos, and veggie burgers, and are also excellent sources of fiber and
Whole Grains – Whole grains are one of the best sources of folic acid, one of the most essential vitamins for your baby’s development, and also are a great source of fiber. Pregnant women should consume 6-8 servings of whole grains per day. Some good choices include whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.
Avocados – Avocados taste great in so much more than guacamole! They add pizazz to salads, sandwiches, and even smoothies. Avocados are also a great source of healthy fats, folic acid, and vitamin E.
Nuts and Nut Butters – Nuts and nut butters are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and such as magnesium and potassium. They are also easy to take on the go. Just remember to pay attention to serving sizes; 10-15 nuts (approx. a small handful) or 2 tablespoons of nut butters.
Cruciferous Vegetables – Cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage, are high in vitamins & soluble fiber. Recent studies suggest that consuming these veggies could even help protect your baby from developing certain childhood cancers, thanks to their high phytochemical content.
Wild Salmon- Salmon is one of the best sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for the healthy development of your baby’s brain and eyes. It is also an excellent source of protein and B vitamins. Pregnant women can safely eat up to 12 oz of salmon per week, since its mercury levels are lower than most other seafood sources.
Frozen Yogurt and Light Ice Cream- Yes, ice cream! When eaten in moderation (one serving= ½ cup, or about the size of a baseball), reduced fat ice cream and frozen yogurt are a great way to satisfy a craving while also meeting your increased requirements for calcium and protein.