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Preg Superfoods

Pregnancy has done amazing things in teaching me how to eat intuitively. Before I got pregnant, I had a pretty standard way I preferred to eat (whole, highly plant-based diet during the week, with a treat day over the weekends, small treats during the week if I really wanted something specific), and after the little gluten-free bun set up camp that shook everything up as far as eats go. I could only eat certain things without feeling majorly nauseous for quite a while, and now have settled back into the things I enjoy and that make me feel good.

There are quite a few important nutrients for pregnant women to include in their diet to encourage the healthy development of their baby. I checked out a few of the lists online, and found that many were animal-focused. I do include seafood, eggs and goat dairy in my diet, but realized that while I get many of the required nutrients from these foods, plants also play a huge role.

[Please keep in mind that I’m not a doctor or hold any prenatal nutrition certification. If you’re pregnant, definitely have a doc or midwife go over your diet with you]

Here are some of my faves:

Sea veggies:

You guys know I’m a little obsessed with seaweed snacks. I enjoy these often, in addition to another one of my favorite sea vegetables, dulse. Not only are they both super salty (and a great substitute for the 1st trimester salt and vinegar chips I was constantly devouring), but also provide a super dose of protein, iron and iodine, which helps the baby’s brain and nervous system develop.

sea veggies

{Sea veggie stash}

Nutritional yeast:

I adore nutritional yeast because it tastes fantastic and is an easy way to get protein and B vitamins if you don’t eat a ton of meat. It’s also lower in calories and zero grams of fat. B vitamins are crucial for the baby’s brain and nervous system. I love it on popcorn, eggs, in kale chips and on top of salad.

MY OTHER RECIPES


eggs

Whole grains:

These are an excellent source B vitamins, iron and selenium, which can actually help prevent cell mutation and you only need a small amount. Grains also provide fiber and energy for the growing baby. My fave is brown rice 🙂

brown rice bread

Almonds:

For me, it’s usually in the form of almond butter. Almonds are not only high in healthy fats (for the baby’s brain and vision), vitamin B, folic acid and protein but also a source of choline. Choline isn’t an official B vitamin, but is usually included with them- it’s essential for the brain development of little ones 🙂

ab

Kale (and other leafy greens):

Kale is great for calcium, iron and folic acid, which is necessary for development and helps to prevent birth defects. Afraid of kale? Try a massage kale salad or kale chips- both are life-changing 🙂

kale chips

Berries:

My pregnant friends often ask me if I’ve had any digestion problems during this time. This may be TMI [but this is the family page, so TMI happened a long time ago], but I eat a ton of fruits and veggies which = fiber. They’re also high in vitamins and antioxidants, taste amazing and keeps everything going.. the way it should be 🙂

berries

Dark chocolate: Some people have mixed feelings about chocolate during pregnancy because of the caffeine content, but it really is a small amount. My philosophy is that if you’re mindful of serving sizes, it’s NBD. Plus, chocolate makes me happy, so happy mama = happy baby, right? 😀

choc

There are a ton of other great pregnancy superfood choices out there, which makes it easy to choose healthily during an important time. The main piece of advice that the midwives gave me is to avoid trans fats, artificial sweeteners (Stevia is ok in small amounts), and stay away from fried foods. I definitely had my share of french fries and chips in the first trimester, but have also enjoyed a hefty amount of fruit, veggies and salad beast 🙂

I see pregnancy as an opportunity to indulge if I’m craving it, but also pay attention to excellent nutrition so our little guy can be as healthy and strong as possible <3

What are some of your fave nutrient-dense foods?

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44 Comments

  1. Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life on August 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I love organic berries and spinach. I think those are my fav nutrient dense foods! I haven’t tried seaweed snacks yet, but keep seeing them pop up all over the place. I might need to give them a try!

  2. Leslie Wingate on August 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Sounds great to me! That baby is going to be 10 months old when it comes out if you keep rocking him around in Zumba and feeding him so well in there. He won’t want to come out! 😉

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      haha i hope he’s enjoying things in there 😉

  3. Nicole @ Making Good Choices on August 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    great post Gina! I’m sure your little man is enjoying his chocolate too!

  4. Lindsey on August 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Such an inspiration for healthy eating during pregnancy! If only I had known about you while I was pregnant with my first…maybe I wouldn’t have let that General Tso’s Chicken craving end in almost 80 lbs. of weight gain.

  5. Cat @ Breakfast to Bed on August 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I did avocado, hot sauce, eggs and cheddar on whole wheat a lot. Also more kale chips and seaweed snacks than I ever thought possible. (wasabi seaweed snacks)

  6. Amanda on August 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Yummy, sounds more like ANYTIME superfoods! I’m doing a superfoods diet and some of my new best diet friends are coconut oil and water, amaranth, flax crackers, and KALE! You said it, life-changing.

    Best of luck during your pregnancy!

  7. Sara K on August 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I second you on the kales, berries, and dark chocolate! I’m actually an all around fan of all those nutritious dark leafy greens- other superfoods I love: Pomegranate, avocado, ground flaxseed

  8. debbie@accidentlydelish on August 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    wow its a shame i’m not pregnant because i eat all of those foods now. haha. i somehow dont think the fiance wants the pregnancy yet though!

    congrats to you and keep feeding that bayb-eh!

  9. Lauren on August 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I craved kale salads with avocado while pregnant, and soooo much watermelon! I thought she would come out pink! I was preggers last summer, which was the hottest summer ever here, so watermelon was perfect! I also ate small amounts of dark chocolate…daily! 🙂 I read moms who eat chocolate while pregnant have happier babies! And mine sure is the happiest baby ive seen! 😉

  10. Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine on August 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I have got to try this nutritional yeast!

  11. Sylvia on August 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Great post! These are prob foods that people should be eating regardless if they’re pregnant or not though. I love Kale chips and everything else on this post except maybe the sea veggies 🙂 My fave nutrient dense food is DEF sweet potato.

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      that’s very true! eating while pregnant isn’t really that different than normal healthy eating, except for an additional emphasis on making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need

  12. RunFitMama on August 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I’m wondering.. Were you gluten free before pregnancy? And if so, (if you don’t mind me asking), is it because of a gluten allergy?

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      i’m sensitive to gluten, but not allergic. i eat it very occasionally, which doesn’t bother my stomach, but if i have it more than one day in a row, i definitely feel it. so for the most part, i skip out on the gluten and have for the past year.

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm

      ps i love the name jack! 🙂 so cute

  13. Lisa on August 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Kale chips ARE life-changing! In fact, I have a bunch of kale in the fridge just begging to be made into kale chips!

  14. Blake on August 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I don’t know if you addressed this in a post I missed, but why did you decide to go with a gluten free pregnancy?

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      I was gluten free before I got pregnant, for about a year. I’m gluten sensitive but not allergic

  15. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups on August 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I definitely love kale chips! I also love green monsters because I get all my veggies in a cup!

  16. s on August 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    i heard on npr today about a scientific study where they looked at the amniotic fluid of expecting mothers after eating foods like garlic and found that the garlic scents the amniotic fluid. they also asked expecting mothers to drink carrot juice daily (?) and found that their kids after they were born seemed to like carrot juice more than expecting mothers who didn’t drink the carrot juice. anyway i thought it was really interesting… and what your post reminded me of. this stuff is good to know, although i’m not preggers, and they’re all foods i like … but should probs get more of.

  17. Lauren @ Ultra Lauren on August 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    My fave nutrient dense foods are all the legumes. I swear I could live off of lentil salad with balsamic and goat cheese.

  18. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on August 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Great post Gina and thanks for sharing what you’ve been enjoying!

    Things that are nutrient dense for me include lots of leafy greens and fresh/raw veggies and plants and also edamame. I love most all green veggies.

    And what can I say, I love chocolate and desserts too 🙂

    Crazy day and no time for an email but later on tonight hopefully I will get busy and get the revisions over to you 🙂

  19. Emma on August 8, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Fun fact: I live in Woolloomooloo in Sydney, Australia, which is the place your chocolate is named after! I’ve never seen this, though, probably because of the hemp seeds (there are some funny laws about hemp here).

    According to Wikipedia, the name Woolloomooloo could be derived from a number of Aboriginal words meaning, or pronunciations of, “place of plenty”, “young black kangaroo”, “field of blood”, “windmill”, or “There’s wool on my loo!”

    So there you have it. Who doesn’t love a bit of chocolate trivia? 🙂 Actually, I could go for some chocolate as well…

    • Fitnessista on August 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

      no way!!! amazing! 🙂
      thanks for the chocolate trivia too

  20. Yolie @ Practising Wellness on August 9, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I love blueberries, kiwis, extra dark chocolate, cocoa and berry infused flaxseed ( a recent discovery which i adore!), wild alaskan salmon, goji berries, and leafy greens. they are my favourite foods, and also high in antioxidants, which is awesome! yum yum yum. <3 your pregnancy eats look divine, your baby must be very happy to have such healthy food! xyx

  21. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on August 9, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I love all of these! Plus salmon, dates, chia seeds, and sweet potato.

    I like to eat all these foods because they make me feel good, but it must be amazing to know that you’re nourishing another human being with all your good eats. You’re going to have such a healthy baby! 😀

  22. Megan on August 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I’ve been making my own vegan parmesan cheese to get my nutritional yeast- I think I used 2 cups yeast to 1 cup walnuts with a bit of sea salt and ground them together in the vitamix dry container. Mine clumped together badly, so I added some diatomaceous earth to loosen it up- It has all kinds of trace minerals anyway. It’s SO GOOD! I love it on pasta, pizza, salads, etc. Yum yum!

  23. Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) on August 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I always wondered if I got lucky by having no bowel issues, but like you I eat a lot of fresh food full of fiber and haven’t had any tummy issues in all my 36 weeks!

    Great tip with the nutritional yeast- I need to sprinkle it on more things 🙂

  24. Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me on August 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I bought nutritional yeast for the first time the other day. I have yet to try it. I will soon though!

  25. miss garlic on August 9, 2011 at 9:46 am

    1.85 for a larabar?!?! and i thought they were expensive here! i’ve started stockpiling them when i see them 10/$10 (and scored this week when they were also 10% off = 10 larabars for $9!) sorry, had to brag. bars and protein are so expensive, and it drives me loco!

  26. Alicia F. on August 9, 2011 at 9:58 am

    love this post! very informative! thanks for sharing girlie! 🙂

  27. Shayla @ The Good Life on August 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I’m glad you mentioned the fruit and veggie part and with that you experienced no digestion issues…I’ve worried about that part in pregnancy since I like to keep things moving, ha! Good to know good ole fiber does the trick 😉

    And I have to get on the kale chips and nutritional yeast bandwagon…I’ve never tried it and see it all around the blogworld!

  28. HB on August 9, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Hi there- I saw this article from NPR yesterday and immediately though it might be of interest….and this is the perfect post for it! Some scientists are saying that babies develop food tastes and preferences within the woumb. Yet another reason to keep doing what you’re doing:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth?sc=fb&cc=fp

  29. Rebecca on August 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Hi Gina!

    I’ve been reading your blog forever, I just LOVEEE it!
    I loved it long before I was even pregnant but recently found out I’m 3-1/2 months pregnant (breezed through the 1st trimester w/barely any symptoms). So thank you so much for posting these pregnancy superfoods!….And for all of your great pregnancy posts!

    I have you on my google reader & you’re the first blog I go to when I log on 🙂 Keep up the great blog & keeping us fellow preggos informed on how to stay healthy during pregnancy. 🙂

  30. Karen Carloni on August 9, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Any suggestions for people who haven’t tried seaweed or seaweed snacks. I have only had it when it is associated with sushi – otherwise I am not sure what to try or how to use it.

  31. Sarah on August 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Just heard this story on NPR yesterday and this post made me think of it. Pretty interesting stuff!

    http://www.wbur.org/npr/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth

    • sarah on August 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Hahaha. That makes 4 of us who heard that story and thought of Gina!

    • Fitnessista on August 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      LOVED this!

  32. R @ Learning As I Chop on August 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I’ve been all about dairy this pregnancy – cheese, milk, cottage cheese, creamcheese. I cannot get enough. I guess my body needs it. Hey, it’s better than cupcakes or cookies!

  33. Kerry on August 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Aw this is such a great post! …and makes me want to go make kale chips right now!

  34. Kay on August 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Great post. I’m not pregnant but definitely getting more interested in superfoods.

    I have a question about nutritional yeast – I have been avoiding white flour and white sugar at my doctor’s suggestions b/c of some yeast infections over the winter (if this is TMI, I’m sorry!) So it would seem to me that I should stay away from nutritional yeast. Is that correct? Or is there something different about it?

    This question has been on my mind for a long time as I read your posts using nutritional yeast, and I figured I’d finally ask it . . . .thanks.

  35. Samantha C on August 13, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Super post Gina!

  36. lisa on August 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I have been reading your blog for a long time (I love it!!) and this is my first time to comment.:) I am wondering what DHA supplement you used during your pregnancy?

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