My Pregnancy Nutrition Must’s
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”
(a beautiful anonymous quote I found that truly fits this Christmas morning)
As I woke up to hard hungry kicks pounding into my upper rib cage from a growing baby, to my dogs drooling over me and taking up most of the bed, to my husband laughing at my crammed position and inflated ‘Pooh’ belly (this morning I was hurdled between three pillows and two blankets trying to position my belly in a way that allowed me to breath somewhat normally for short incriminates of time). My sister FaceTiming me with tales of her fun night out and my mom text messaging Dan and and I hugs and kisses in her usual Russian accented texts I simply felt grateful.
Yep I thought, Santa covered everything (even though I ate like two of his mini (min) glazed donuts last night and only had almond milk in the fridge) I am officially #32weekspregnant today and I am still following a very strict program of eating. No, not ‘diets’ or calorie counts or overeating, but eating the most nutrient dense and baby rich (meaning baby development rich foods).
Now, while EVERYONE is different (and everyones weight gain during this time is very different, as is what their body needs) there are some incredible foods, and nutrition rules that are worth paying attention to.
Below is a sample of my PREGNANCY NUTRITION MUST HAVES, plus some very important tips on what I have learned over the course of the last 7 months with keeping myself (and the growing baby in my belly) healthy (without over eating, under eating and eating the wrong things).
MY PREGNANCY MUST HAVE LIST
✔️9x DHA rich – Ikura (flash frozen for safety – explained below)
✔️Folate & Protein king – 2% Cottage cheese
✔️My all around 💯 daily- Bowl of berries
✔️Triple the green nutrients – Micro-greens (not to be mistaken for sprouts, explained below)
✔️Natures butter & baby brain health – Avocado everything (lived, diced and in guacamole)
✔️Protein packed & sweet cravings satisfied – Greek yogurt
✔️WILD caught fish (never, ever organic or farmed and excluding high mercury fish)
✔️Broccoli (shaved raw, grilled, you name it)
✔️Only cooked or smoothie shredded Kale
✔️ My prenatal vitamins (Thorn) & my OMEGA pack from Vital Choice
✔️10x DHA rich – Ikura aka Salmon Roe (MY TOP Must)
This is important, but also (to taste), however according to my favorite health and nutrition scientist (you must follow and research this woman – Dr. Rhonda Patrick) she ‘made herself eat this every morning’ despite the eversion to it because of early pregnancy nausea.
I am lucky on the other hand and grew up with Ikura, and I love it. So eating this for me was easy and delicious and something I knew was (and still is) highly beneficial for my baby.
What is Ikura? Fish eggs, or fish caviar. (I know, I know) but it takes delicious, salty and not too fishy, in Russia it is commonly eaten on top of bread, but I love it on top of avocado.
Why? why? why? (literally follow @foundmyfitness Dr. Rhonda Patrick for the science details), but basically it is DHA rich – basically ‘DHA in salmon roe is in phospholipid form which is the preferred source for the brain … and the developing brain (think your baby) takes it up 10-times better than non-phospholipid form.
Basically – the very best form of Omegas you will have, and much more effective then all the cooked salmon and omega capsules you are taking – still take those too though!
KEY DETAIL when eating Salmon Roe (Ikura)
As you may very well know your American doctor (it’s very different in other countries) doesn’t advise you eat raw fish, so to make sure your Salmon Roe is safe while pregnant DO NOT go into any shop or sushi place and order. Instead you must get flash-frozen salmon roe (I get mine in the same place Dr. Ptraick got hers: Vital Choice )
If you are expecting you have 100% heard and continue to hear about Folate. Basically, the building block of everything your baby needs, hence why you must take your pre-natal vitamins. But Folate can be found in foods, and as we all know natural food is the best way to take up your much needed nutrients and vitamins.
I was eating Greek yogurt in great abundance every morning with berries; it tatted great and had tons of protein and was great with satiety and quality yet contained calories. Then I got tired of it (I still eat it, but for 5 months straight I was eating the same lunch and breakfast). I found cottage cheese, which I used to love and looked at the nutrition facts; still protien rich, low in sugar and just like Greek yogurt rich in calcium I was hooked.
Believe it or not cottage cheese has always been super popular with bodybuilders and athletes because of how protein rich it is.
Then I did my research and was triple hooked when I found out about one key factor in cottage cheese – FOLATE! You know Folate (Folic Acid) which is known to help prevent birth defects.
By the way, it’s available in creamed, whipped, lactose-free, reduced sodium or sodium-free varieties so you can have it no matter what your needs.
These are NOT to be mistaken with sprouts (which doctors don’t want you to have in pregnancy (your choice, but its not advised).
Micros-greens are ‘baby greens’ and they come in a huge variety of versions like nutrient dense Kale (much better digested as a baby green then as an adult), Broccoli (so good for you, and here in its baby version you don’t have to cook it because it takes the place of your lettuce).
But what else is cool – and the greatest BANG of benefits for both you and baby? It’s the fact that in their baby stages these greens pack just as many nutrients as the adult version of the leef – but, your eating (in their mini form) almost 10x the amount.
✔️ Blueberries & Berries
This is a no-brainer and pregnant or not, berries (especially blueberries) are the one thing besides your OMEGAS that Scientists say you nee dot have daily.
Strawberries, blueberries (especially), blackberries, and raspberries are filled with vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, folic acid (that baby building block) and antioxidants all of which build your baby’s healthy skin cells and help build a strong immune system.
My tip: Eat berries after a meal high in protein or iron to absorb the nutrients better and pair your berries with yogurt or dairy (if you have dairy) because it helps the digestion.
The sugar? I love them for the nutrition, and I do not (ever) worry about the sugars here because they are also rich in fiber and help you fight sugar cravings.