Your A-Z guide to what to eat during pregnancy

Now you’re eating for two, a healthy diet is even more important. Follow our A-Z of foods to add to your shopping list, to ensure your little one gets all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals she needs

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A is for apricots

Orange fruit and veg contain the kind of vitamin A needed to boost your immune system. “It also helps your baby’s lungs develop,” says Rana Conway, PP’s nutrition specialist and author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant. Avoid liver which contains the wrong sort of vitamin A.

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B is for Brussels sprouts

It’s vital to get folic acid into your body during the first trimester to guard your baby against spina bifida. Brussels sprouts are a good source of folic acid, but you’ll need to take a supplement as well to make sure you get enough.

C is for chicken

“Protein is needed for the growth of your baby and placenta, as well as for the changes taking place in your own body,” says Rana. Chicken is an excellent low-fat protein. Thighs are cheap as well as being dead tasty.

D is for dried fruit

A tasty low-fat snack, raisins are also a great source of fibre. “Fibre will prevent you from getting constipated,” says Rana. Keep a bag handy throughout pregnancy.

E is for eggs

“The thiamin found in eggs converts carbohydrates into energy – essential for your baby’s brain development,” says Dawn Bates, editor of Babycentre’s Pregnancy Questions and Answers.

F is for fish… oily that is

“Oily fish helps with your baby’s brain and eye development,” says Rana. “It’s also a good source of vitamin D, which your baby will need for the first few months of life.” However, you should make sure you eat no more than two portions of oily fish a week.

G is for greens

“The copper found in green veg like broccoli, helps form your baby’s heart and blood vessels,” says Dawn.

H is for honey

Planning to avoid honey during your pregnancy as you’ve heard it’s not safe for young babies? Don’t worry, a pregnant woman can safely eat honey as long as it’s pasteurised. Most honey you buy off the shelf will be OK.

I is for ice lollies

You should be drinking at least 1.2 litres of fluids a day, but if you’re getting bored of plain water, whip out a lolly to make hydration more interesting.

J is for juice

Check the variety you buy isn’t full of added sugar, or invest in a juicer and make your own vitamin C-packed version.

K is for kidney beans

A good source of protein for vegetarian mums-to-be, which you’ll need for your body and baby.

L is for lamb… plus beef and pork

“Vitamin B12 is needed for the body to be able to process folic acid and it’s found in almost all foods of animal origin including lamb, beef and pork,” says Rana.

Click for foods from M to Z

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Aim for at least five portions of fruit and veg a day

M is for mushrooms

“These contain riboflavin, essential for your baby’s bone, muscle and nerve development,” says Dawn.

N is for “No more junk food”

They’re high in sugar, fat and ’empty’ calories, which give you (and your baby) no vitamins or nutrients, and will make you put on weight.

O is for oranges

One of the best sources of Vitamin C, which you need to help your body absorb iron effectively (see R for red meat).

P is for pasta

“Loaded with carbohydrates, pasta is a great source of energy for you and your growing baby. It’s the perfect fast food,” says Rana. “Low carb diets can negatively affect your baby’s long-term health.”

Q is for quiche

Go for the cheese varieties that contain iodine. “Iodine is important for the development of the nervous system, particularly in the first three months of pregnancy,” says Rana.

R is for red meat

Great for boosting your iron intake, which is important for avoiding anaemia. It also benefits your baby by making red blood cells and supplying oxygen to him.

S is for spinach

Spinach contains Vitamin E, “…and there’s evidence to suggest that a diet high in vitamin E may protect your baby against developing allergies,” says Rana.

T is for tuna

“Contains Vitamin B6, which is needed for the development of your baby’s healthy nervous system and red blood cells,” says Rana. “But don’t have more than two portions a week as it contains mercury.”

U is for unrefined carbs

Refined carbohydrates (white breads and pasta) will give you a quick energy boost. To maintain your energy, go for brown rice as well as wholemeal pasta and bread.

V is for vegetables

Excellent for vitamins, fibre and water. “Eat vegetables lightly cooked in a little water or raw, but well washed,” the NHS advises. “Frozen, tinned and dried fruit and vegetables are good too. Aim for at least five portions a day.”

W is for wholemeal bread

Wholemeal will provide you with extra fibre to stop you getting constipated.

X is for X-tra fruit and veg

Now’s the time to really aim for your five-a-day. Keep clementines on your desk at work,
a bag of grapes in the lounge to snack on when you’re watching EastEnders and ready-cut sticks of celery and carrot in the fridge.

Y is for yoghurt

Contains plenty of calcium to give your baby healthy teeth and bones. Choose low-fat varieties, and aim for two to three portions of dairy a day.

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Z is for zinc boosters

“Zinc is important for your baby’s growth, as well as your own body’s immune system,” says Dawn. Good sources of zinc include brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.

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