What's your food vice? What is your food you feel you need every day, multiple times a day, or multiple times a week that isn't totally nourishing? No worries - we're going to focus on foods to add for a healthy pregnancy, not foods to eliminate.
It's easy to tell someone what not to do. It is another thing altogether to provide someone with the information to actually take a positive step forward. Changing habits, lifestyles, is daunting enough. Taking away that "thing" can be overwhelming. We want to build oxytocin for a happy healthy birth, so let's start with a positive approach to choices with these seven foods to add for a healthy pregnancy.
Nettles - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy
Nettles - one of the most nutritious and healing wild foods available. Nettels are high in calcium, vitamin A, iron, plant-based protein, fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate, lutein and many other nutrients your body needs for healthy function.
This tonic (nutrient-rich) herb can be purchased online and in many of your local health food stores as a tea. You may even find a patch of this stinging plant in your back yard (wear gloves when harvesting, the sting will go away when it is steeped, cooked, or dried). Nettles are wonderful for removing proteins from the urine, improving protein digestion, nourishing the liver, and supporting immune function improving atrophied parts of the body systems.
As clinical herbalis David Hoffmann tells us, "When in doubt, give nettles."
Drink nettle tea 1-3 times a day. Throw nettles in a bowl of soup or make nettle pesto.
Eggs - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy
Eggs are another one of those complete meals all in one. Eggs are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Choline, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Omega-3, Omega-6, protein, lutein and of course many more things your body and baby needs.
Eggs can be scrambled, poached, fried (try a high-heat tolorant oil), baked, soft boiled, hard boiled, deviled.... Add them to a sprouted-grain blend pancake with nut butter and fruit on top. Add them to a stir fry for texture and flavor. Put them on a salad. Pair them with a cup of nettle tea and some fresh fruit. Put apple sauce on them. Eat them, love them, share them with your baby's placenta, amniotic sac, and eye health.
Not all eggs are built the same, so be choosy when you can. Free range eggs (not the same as cage free or organic) provide chickens with the most natural-based living environment to graze on wild edibles both plant and insect-based. These chickens will be healthier and their eggs will be more nourishing. In many areas, purchasing a few laying hens for the duration of your pregnancy will prove to be valuable (especially if you've seen the cost of free range eggs at the store). Befriend a local farmer or find your market for fresh free-range eggs (be sure to ask about their living and eating conditions to be sure).
Fish - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy
Fish is a great source of protein, Vitamin D, Vitamin B2, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, potassium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Your body needs healthy fats. Your brain needs healthy fats. Your digestive system eats healthy fats. In fact, as you start digesting healthy fats, oxytocin is released in higher amounts than if you eat meals without healthy fats. Score one for the spontaneous labor team!
Stick to the smaller sized fish to avoid high levels of mercury. But, if fish sticks are all you've got, add them. Fish is great seasoned in a taco, added to a rice and veggie casserole, or grilled with some seasonal veggies.
Rainbow Salad - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy
Get all your colors. Pick whatever fruits you have available to you each week that touch all the colors of the rainbow, and prep a salad as soon as you get home from the grocery store, put it in a glass container, and pop it in the refrigerator. Yes, fresh picked and uncut fruit is going to be better - but pre-prepped likely means you'll eat more of it. Do what works.
The colors of your food come from the phytonutrients and other constituents contained in that food. A lot of food has a little of many of the other colors phytonutrients, but the main color you see will be the main phytonutrient you're consuming.
Red - Pomogranate, Cherries, Grapefruit
Lycopene, Anthocyanidins...etc - Urinary System, Cardiovascular System
Orange/Yellow - Squash, Mango, Citrus
Beta-carotene, lutein...etc. - Immune system, Visual system, Cell Growth
Green - Dark Leafy greens, Kiwi, Avacado
Isoflavones, chlorophyll...etc. - Liver, Kidney & Digestive System, Cardiovascular System
Blue/Indigo/Violet - Eggplant, Blueberries, Blackberries
Resveratrol, Anthocyanidins, Flavonoids - Brain Health, Cardiovascular System
This is just the tip of the iceberg with the nutrients these food color groups contain, but all whole colored foods are vital to whole body health - even the whites, though most are getting many white foods. Vary your selection, too. Add variety to not only the types of colored foods you're selecting, but the species within those same food choices that might not be available at just one grocery store. Mixing these colors up into a salad gives you a quick snack or lunch side.
Avacado - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy
Avacado is an easy source for healthy fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as, Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and many more.
Avacados can be sliced on a salad or sandwich, seasoned with any seasoning of your choice, blended into guacamole, mixed into some amazing chicken salad, or added to a smoothie. Remember the importance of healthy fats for digestion, smooth bowel function, brain health, and a boost of oxytocin.
Sprouted Lentils - Foods to Add for a Healthy Pregnancy
Lentils are a great plant-based protein as well as high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Omega-3, and Omega-6.
While lentils are low in phytic acid when compared to other legumes, lentil digestion and bioavialabilty can still be improved by soaking and then sprouting before consuming. However, lentils cook super fast, so even if sprouting isn't an option now and then, you don't have to wait hours to enjoy their creamy texture.
Lentils go great in just about any soup or stew. They're also a great addition to tacos, blended into a dip, or sprinkled on a salad. You may even enjoy them like cream of wheat in the morning with some cinnamon and raisins or pressed into a patty and grilled for lentil burgers.
Now you have six foods to add to your meal planning calendar to play around with and turn them into a new healthy routine. How will you enjoy them?