Now that I’ve finished the first trimester of pregnancy, I’ve said good riddance to morning sickness (well, for the most part) and hello to a lot more energy and a bigger appetite. Which is great, since I can finally focus on (i.e, stomach) proper prenatal nutrition, rather than on not throwing up. Hey, small victories.
Plus, I can expand my diet from saltines and ginger ale to much more interesting, nutritious fare. So I’ve rounded up some pregnancy power foods to help expectant ladies get the protein and nutrients they need, while also helping to soothe heartburn. Because now there’s that. Check out this list of great foods and recipes for expectant moms that has been making eating well way easier for this soon-to-be mama, and hopefully for you too.
Foods that prevent heartburn
Bananas are low in acid, high in potassium (no leg cramps!), and help soothe and coat the stomach and esophagus. Try this Early Morning Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal at Oh She Glows (above) , which has become my ultimate heartburn-free, pregnancy power breakfast.
I know that ginger is great for nausea, but it turns out that ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it a great heartburn soother too. I recommend boiling ginger in water and adding honey for an easy, delicious tea. Or, if you have a juicer, try the Ginger, Carrot, Orange, Pomegranate Juice at Dear Kitchen that we included in our round up of natural cold and flu remedies.
Oats fill you up, offer vitamins and fiber, and don’t cause heartburn. Just stay away from eating them with too much milk or cream since high-fat foods can contribute to acid reflux. Other complex carbs are also great for preventing acid reflux, like quinoa, brown rice, and barley.
Leafy greens, celery, broccoli, and asparagus are all low in acid and full of fiber, which helps keep heartburn at bay and digestion moving right along.
Easy sources of protein (that won’t cause heartburn)
This little grain—which is technically a seed!—contains loads of fiber and iron, plus it’s a complete protein all on its own. I throw it in salads for an extra protein boost and even sneak it into sweets like these Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Quinoa Cookies (above) at Well Plated. Delicious!
Grilled chicken, turkey, or fish:
Red meat causes me almost instantaneous heartburn now that I’m in my second trimester, as does anything fried or spicy. So, sadly, I’m learning to just say no to barbecue for the time being. However, I can enjoy grilled chicken, turkey, and fish without trouble, as long as I hold the hot sauce and remove the fatty skin. Also, be sure to avoid the deli meat version of these products, which can carry listeria or salmonella.
Anything in the legume family is a total godsend during pregnancy. Not only do beans pack plenty of fiber and iron, they’re also awesome sources of protein. I’m particularly fond of chickpeas, since they are so versatile. I love hummus, but lately I’ve been crushing on this Chocolate Chickpea Cake at Serious Eats.
I’ve found it essential to carry nuts in my purse at all times to prevent meltdowns if I have to go too long without a meal. It works, plus they’re a great source of healthy fats. Walnuts are an especially good choice, since they also contain brain-fortifying omega-3 fatty acids.
All-purpose nutrient dense foods to keep on hand
I keep a dozen eggs and a supply of hard-boiled eggs in my fridge at all times since getting pregnant. Not only are they an easy source of protein, but they also contain choline, which supports brain development and, according to recent studies, may even reduce the risk of mental illness. Fried, scrambled, or poached, I like the sound of those benefits. When you have time to cook (something easy), make these grab-and-go Kale and Goat Cheese Frittata Cups at The Kitchn (above) to also keep on hand. Because there’s never enough.
The bad news is, we can’t have sushi, at least not the kind with raw fish. That said, doctors strongly encourage pregnant ladies to eat other forms of fish. which contain DHA, an omega-3 that helps baby’s brain develop and is great for ours too! Just stay away from fish that are high in mercury, like swordfish, ahi tuna, and king mackerel. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our tips on how to select safe fish.
As if you didn’t hear this one enough before you got pregnant, get ready to hear it a lot more. You need leafy greens! These veggies are where it’s at when it comes to essential vitamins, calcium, potassium, and folate. In other words, they are a one-stop-shop for so many of your pregnancy nutrition needs.