Your diet may be one of the first things you think of once you get a positive pregnancy test (well, after the initial excitement wears off!). Pregnancy is truly a magical and sacred time.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have helped guide multiple clients through this period, and the beautiful (but sometimes confusing) shifts that are happening with your energy, food preferences and moods.
There are some necessary changes you’ll need to make to your diet once there’s a little one to consider for his or her safety, but there are some others you can make to give yourself—and your baby—optimal nutrition.
Today I wanted to share with you 10 Beauty Foods that you should eat while pregnant.
Some of the key nutrients to focus on when you’re pregnant are folate, calcium, protein, omega-3s, iron, and vitamins B12 and D.
These top 10 Must eat Beauty Foods for Pregnancy will nourish your body from the inside out. Curious to what they are?
1. Nuts and Seeds
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends getting the majority of your fats from plant sources rather than from animal products or processed foods.
Nuts, seeds, avocados, and a little coconut oil are all good sources of healthy fats that will benefit your body while you’re pregnant (and post-pregnancy, too!).
Nuts and seeds aren’t just sources of healthy fats; you also get a good dose of protein from them. Getting enough protein is also extremely important during pregnancy for the baby’s growth, especially during the second and third trimesters.
“Enough” may not be as much as you’re thinking. The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women get six percent of their calories from protein– more than totally doable on a plant-based diet! If you add a Power Protein Shake into your diet.
Brazil nuts are also a good source of selenium, which can stave off thyroid issues that can pop up during and after pregnancy.
I never recommend peanuts or peanut butter because of the potential for a toxic mold called aflatoxin (along with a heavy dose of pesticides if you’re eating nonorganic ones).
This mold—plus fungi that can also grow in peanuts—may be one reason so many people are allergic to peanuts. One study suggests that peanut consumption during pregnancy could lead to peanut allergies in infants prone to other sensitivities, like eggs and milk.
If you’re having a craving for nut butter during your pregnancy, I recommend almond butter. You can make your own nut and seed butters pretty easily, too, by soaking and dehydrating the nuts or seeds and then letting your Vitamix or food processor do its thing (it can take a while, but the consistency will eventually be creamy!).
Add whatever you’d like to flavor it with—a touch of maple syrup, high-quality sea salt, spices, etc. Experiment with combinations and have fun! You may have to add a tiny bit of oil to get the consistency just right, but just add a very small amount at a time so you can use the smallest amount of oil possible.
As I mentioned in the nuts and seeds section where I talked about plant-based fats, avocados are fantastic sources of those omega-3s you need while you’re pregnant. Thanks to their creamy texture, they can also help you take care of your cravings for creamy foods without diving into a carton of ice cream or pudding.
Try adding avocados into a smoothie (have you tried the Cedric Smoothie yet?!) or you can use it to make non-dairy ice cream. If you’re craving something savory and creamy, whip up some guacamole and dip your veggies or (mostly) oil-free tortilla chips in it.
Greens are absolute musts all the time, but especially when you’re pregnant. It’s like they were designed to be pregnancy superfoods in addition to being powerful Beauty Foods in general.
You can get folate, calcium, protein, and iron, plus a variety of necessary vitamins and minerals from them. Even though they inherently contain vitamin C, it’s a good idea to eat them (at least some of the time) with foods that contain vitamin C, like citrus fruits or tomatoes, in order for your body to get the most out of the iron content. Also, try pairing greens with foods that contain magnesium, like pumpkin seeds, spirulina, or hemp seeds, because in order to fully utilize the calcium in greens, your body needs a little help from magnesium.
Throw those hemp or pumpkin seeds right on your mighty green salad! Spirulina? Maybe not so much, they are admittedly an acquired taste. But if you’re interested I included a Spirulina salad dressing recipe in The Beauty Detox Solution, but I don’t think it was a top fave (oh well, you win some and you lose some, right?!).
There’s another way greens can possibly save the day. If you’re craving something at least a little crunchy and salty but don’t want to give in to the potato chip craving, kale chips might help. Be sure that to use high-quality sea salt on them instead of table salt.
Vitamin D is important for a baby’s healthy bones, eyes, and skin. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 600 IU of vitamin D per day.
You can get some of that from allowing yourself to get a little sun, but mushrooms are one of the few natural food sources for this nutrient. Eat them raw on salads, cooked in stir-fries, or ground up with nuts and/or seeds as a meat substitute when you’re in the mood for something hearty.
Grill up some Portobello mushrooms instead of chicken for a much more clean and cleanly-digesting source of protein for dinner.
5. Nutritional Yeast
Any time you need a boost in B vitamins, especially B12, look to nutritional yeast. Add it to anything you’d normally like to sprinkle cheese over.
One tablespoon has two grams of protein and almost 40 percent each of the daily recommended values of B12 and folate (pregnant women need 2.6 mcg of B12 and 400-800 mcg of folate versus the normal 2.4 mcg B12 and 400 mcg folate these percentages are based on).
If you are new to nutritional yeast, start with a small amount (as with any new food) to see how you feel on it, and definitely check with your doctor about it if you are unsure.
6. Dark chocolate
I’m not recommending this as a daily part of your diet, per se, but I know a lot of pregnant ladies crave their chocolate and nothing else will do! In this case, choose dark chocolate and eat a little at a time.
If munching on a little square of organic dark chocolate won’t scratch the itch, have some vegan hot chocolate. Be aware that cacao does contain caffeine, so you shouldn’t drink this every day and you should check with your doctor or midwife first to make sure an occasional bit of caffeine is safe for you and your pregnancy.
7. Whole Grains
Whole grains (not wheat) are fantastic for pregnant women because they’re filling and contain vitamins, minerals, folic acid, and protein. Two grains that are a perfect example of this are cooked quinoa and amaranth.
Whole grains are fantastically grounding in pregnancy, a staple in Ayurveda, and help to ward off a range of pregnancy woes, one of them being constipation. You can feel good eating whole grains knowing they not only nourish you, they help your growing baby develop too.
8. Probiotic & Enzyme Salad
Your taste buds go a little nuts when you’re pregnant and you may find yourself wanting to consume foods with really strong flavors more than ever.
My Probiotic & Enzyme Salad or raw sauerkraut (check the sodium levels if you’re purchasing a jar at the store because some are loaded with salt) may hit the spot. Be sure it’s made properly and hygienically, by you or someone else of course!
Pickles are a stereotypical craving, often because the body needs a little more sodium when pregnant, but possibly because of the crunchiness and strong flavors, too. These options will give you a little of both, plus the benefits of probiotics, like improved digestion.
Bananas can quell feelings of nausea and also help with mood swings that sometimes seem inevitable with pregnancy.
Like avocados, they can be added to smoothies and used in non-dairy ice cream recipes for a creamy texture that some women crave while pregnant. They’ve also great B vitamins and feel good compounds, so load up on ’em!
You don’t have to eat ginger while you’re pregnant, but you may decide you love it because it’s fantastic for soothing feelings of nausea.
Plus it’s super-flavorful and may be just the kind of thing your taste buds are hoping for. It also naturally boosts your immune system, so if you feel like you might be getting sick, having some ginger tea may help. Try adding some of it sliced into stir-fries, or blending it into salad dressings, for a delicious kick.
Get More Nutrition on a Budget for a Healthier Pregnancy
Take steps to add more nutritious, whole foods to your diet and avoid foods that aren’t “real” foods (processed, packaged junk!) or foods that have been sprayed with pesticides as much as possible. I know going totally organic isn’t the easiest thing on a budget, especially not with a little bundle of joy on the way, so if you can’t do organic everything, at least pay attention to the Dirty Dozen.
I hope these tips give you a little more insight on some suggestions on amazing Beauty Foods to eat during your sacred pregnancy. Pregnancy is a special time and experience and by eating these Beauty Foods you can be sure you are not only providing your body with the best food but also your growing baby!
Sending you lots of joy and love- whether you are pregnant or not :).
Hope you are having a beautiful summer so far! See you back here soon.