words Alexa Wang
A nutritious and balanced diet is vital for your well-being, especially when you are pregnant. You need extra nutrients and calories to support the baby’s growth and development. However, the nutrients should come from healthy sources.
Poor nutrition, when you are expectant, can lead to anaemia or gestational diabetes. You can also gain unnecessary weight, or your baby can have a low birth weight. Fortunately, you can make the most of your grocery shopping list to ensure you eat essential nutrients to sustain your pregnancy. Some of the must-have items in your basket include:
Fruits and Vegetables
Your baby needs vitamins and minerals to grow. Therefore, you need to increase your vitamin intake to stay healthy and maintain foetal development. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and carry a host of benefits. Some of the vegetables to buy include:
• Broccoli, spinach and kale: Dark and leafy greens pack an array of nutrients from vitamin C, K and A to minerals like calcium, folate, potassium and iron. Apart from maintaining healthy foetal development, they have sufficient fibre to fend off constipation. Besides, you can incorporate them into various dishes and smoothies.
• Avocados: They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids alongside other essential minerals. Healthy fats build tissues, especially the baby’s skin, while B vitamins (folate) prevent spinal abnormalities. If you have leg cramps, potassium in the avocado will relieve the pain.
• Berries: Blueberries, Goji berries, strawberries and raspberries are the best snacks during pregnancy. They give you an array of healthy carbs, fibres, vitamins and antioxidants. Besides, they are flavourful for smoothies and desserts.
• Other fruits to include in your grocery shopping include citrus, bananas, apples, melon and mangoes. Dried fruits also have similar nutritional content to fresh fruits, hence providing similar benefits.
You need lots of high-quality proteins when pregnant since they are building blocks for new cells. Besides, they promote the muscle and tissue development of the baby. Ensure your shopping list contains the following proteins:
• Salmon: It has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids that pack multiple benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in the brain and eye development of the baby. Also, they lengthen the gestational period reducing the chances of preterm delivery. Salmon is rich in vitamin D, vital for immune function and bone health. Other seafood with similar benefits includes sardines, Pollock, tuna and cod. If you do not like seafood, you can supplement omega-3 with fish liver oil extracted from cod.
• Eggs: These nutrient bombs provide healthy doses of proteins, choline and minerals that are perfect for sustaining a pregnancy. Taking eggs boosts your chances of carrying your pregnancy to full-term. Moreover, high-quality protein prevents complications in the brain and spine development of the baby. You can fry the eggs, boil and scramble or mix them with various dishes. They also save you several grocery trips since they last longer than other perishable items. Therefore, the next time you are buying groceries check out Lidl deals to stock up on eggs. Despite many discounts on groceries that Lidl offers you can find also eggs that are stress-hormone-free, which you can find also on dedicated BIO shops like Denn’s and Alnatura.
We recommend that you check Lidl’s offers in their leaflet or Aldi’s leaflet offers to save money on their discounted prices on BIO products. Nevertheless don’t hesitate to support local BIO shops so they can earn a living if you can afford their prices.
Recommendations for Vegetarians
Vegetarians usually have trouble consuming animal products; hence, their protein intake is low. If you are pregnant, you need to watch the amount of protein you consume in every meal. Some of the protein sources for vegetarians are tofu, nuts, legumes and pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
• Legumes: These plant-based sources of proteins include lentils, soybeans, peas and chickpeas. Apart from proteins, they contain fibre, iron, calcium and folate. Folic acid is essential during the first trimester, and it helps the baby develop a healthy nervous system. While legumes are nutritious, dry peas or beans take longer to cook. However, you can grab canned varieties with similar nutritional content.
• Nuts: When shopping for groceries, do not forget to buy almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or cashew nuts. They are rich in proteins and healthy fats and you can carry them around as snacks.
While lean meat is known for its high-quality proteins, it is also a great source of choline, iron and B vitamins. You can get excellent nutrients from pork, chicken, beef, veal, or lamb. During pregnancy, you need a lot of iron since the blood volume increases. Therefore, you need to lean red meat to increase iron in your blood. You can boost iron absorption by pairing iron-rich foods with vitamin C foods, for instance, serving steak with a mango salad or adding tomato slices to your turkey burger.
Apart from providing high-quality proteins, dairy products provide calcium and phosphorus, vital for the growing baby. Calcium promotes healthy bone development, and a deficiency can lead to Osteoporosis. Some dairy products are milk, cheese and yoghurt. You should add Greek yoghurt to your shopping basket since it contains higher calcium levels and probiotic bacteria to boost your digestion.
When you are pregnant, your grocery shopping should be full of nutrient-dense food options. While you can indulge your cravings occasionally, you need to maintain a healthy diet. If you are due for your weekly or monthly grocery shopping, do not forget to take advantage of Tesco, Aldi or Lidl deals to save some cash.