Updated: Jan 5
When your schedule is packed and your energy is tapped and you’re pregnant, it can be tempting to grab peanut butter crackers or a pack of vending machine potato chips on the go. Did you know that poor nutrition can totally sabotage your hormone balance, mess with your blood sugar and cause your energy level to tank? Yup... I’m guessing you knew that! The things is, when we’re stressed, we reach for the convenient foods and sometimes the things we know are healthy just don’t make it into the mix.
Let’s challenge things a bit and aim to boost intake of foods in these four categories. Not only will you help boost your energy levels, but you’ll also combat stress and add nutrients to help build a beautiful, brilliant and healthy baby! (P.S. post-partum recovery becomes a boat-load easier when you are not deficient in the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are packed in these categories!)
Leafy Greens Focus on the brassica family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables pack in nutrients, including antioxidants and sulfur-rich compounds that help your liver process the extra blood volume and the flood of hormones surging through your body during pregnancy!
Vitamin B-Rich Foods Lentils, nuts, and seeds contain lots of vitamin B1; leafy greens, tomatoes, almonds, and eggs are rich in vitamin B2; and B3 is found in highest concentrations in meats such as beef, pork, chicken, and fish while lesser amounts can be found in peanuts and beans. Opt for grass-fed meat, pasture-
raised and free-range pork and chicken and fish that’s been certified low in mercury and other toxins.
Fats Healthy fats are an important source of energy for pregnancy, they help provide the raw materials for hormone production and are also critical for the brain development of your growing baby! The best fats come from avocado, coconut, organic butter/ghee, and meat from pasture-fed animals, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and hempseeds.
Iron-Rich Foods Iron is key for the transportation of oxygen in the body. Studies show that many menstruating women are iron-deficient and that means that many women who are entering pregnancy are iron deficient. Poor nutrition, absorption problems, undiagnosed celiac disease, and heavy menstrual blood loss are common culprits. Foods containing iron include red meat, eggs, mussels, dates, and green leafy vegetables. Getting iron from food sources rather than supplements helps ensure that you don’t get too much. Too much iron is not a good thing.
As you focus on enjoying foods in those four categories, also work to minimize your consumption of processed foods. Your energy should improve and you can enjoy feeling great as you await the arrival of your sweet babe.
As always, pregnancy os not a time to diet or restrict foods, but rather to focus on nutrient dense choices. Be sure to check in with your healthcare provider or nutritionist when making any new dietary changes. For more on pregnancy nutrition I like to recommend The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start, by Jessica Lang MD. I especially appreciate learning about my babies developmental stage of the pregnancy and which foods specifically support optimal growth and why.
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