7 Ideas for Healthy Pregnancy Lunches

Pregnant Woman Prepares Healthy Pregnancy Lunch

With unexpected cravings and bouts of nausea, pregnancy can be a tough time for healthy eating. But it's important to maintain a good, balanced diet to ensure that you and your baby get enough nutrients and stay healthy. The foods you eat impact your baby's development — and they can also affect your oral health during pregnancy. Though it may seem easier to reach for a handy but unhealthy snack in the middle of the day, taking the time to prepare nutritious, healthy pregnancy lunches pays long-term dividends.

1. Vegetable Soup

A bowl of warm, comforting vegetable soup and a wholemeal roll could settle an upset stomach while also providing plenty of vitamins and minerals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pregnant women need vitamin A and potassium. Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red sweet peppers and spinach all contain these nutrients, so be sure to include at least one or two of them in your soup.

2. Chicken Salad

A chicken salad may seem like a light option for a hungry mom-to-be, but if you include ingredients that are filling, such as avocado and cooked beans, it can be a satisfying dish. What's more, the American Dental Association (ADA) advises that, during pregnancy, half of your diet should be made up of vegetables and fruit. The ADA also recommends eating lean proteins, so skinless chicken is a suitable option.

3. Baked Potato With Cottage Cheese

A baked potato is easy to prepare, and a cottage cheese topping provides some of the calcium pregnant women need for their babies' development. In fact, the ADA recommends cottage cheese as a healthy dairy product for pregnant women. Add flavor by sprinkling finely sliced scallions on top.

4. Burrito Bowl

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that pregnant women are at a higher risk for gum disease and cavities. This means that they should avoid processed foods, which are often high in sugar, whenever possible. One alternative that may help to satisfy any fast food cravings is a healthy burrito bowl. Mix cooked brown rice with slices of roasted red pepper and tomatoes. Then add some beans and cooked lean beef for protein, as recommended by the ADA. Layer some avocado on top, add a splash of lime juice and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

5. Indian Dal

In Indian cuisine, dal is a thick soup or stew made from dried legumes. The ADA recommends legumes for pregnant women because they are high in protein, as well as folic acid — which reduces the risk of birth defects. You can choose whether you prefer your dal mild or spicy, and you can also include all kinds of nutritious, vitamin-rich ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Eat your dal with whole grain bread or cooked brown rice, which the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests as healthy carb options for pregnant women.

6. Fish Kebabs

Herring, salmon, trout, pollock and sardines are included in the USDA's list of recommended fish for pregnant women. However, avoid eating swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tilefish, which have high mercury levels. To help fulfill the ADA's recommendation of eating 8 ounces of seafood per week during pregnancy, thread cubes of fish with pieces of zucchini, peppers and onion on skewers, drizzle with olive oil, and broil the skewers until cooked and tender.

7. Stuffed Squash

The USDA recommends winters squash as a great source of vitamin A and potassium during pregnancy. Stuff half a squash with chopped veggies, lean meat and black beans, and sprinkle a little Parmesan or mozzarella cheese on top before popping it into the oven.

Being pregnant doesn't have to mean missing out on delicious foods. Eating these and other healthy pregnancy lunches helps your baby's development and protects your oral health — and your overall health, too.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

More Articles You May Like

Common Conditions During PREGNANCY

To help minimize any risks during pregnancy, here is some general advice and some common conditions to be on the lookout for:

  1. Gum disease – during pregnancy, teeth and gums need special attention. Regular tooth brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, eating a balanced diet and visiting the dentist regularly will help reduce dental problems that accompany pregnancy.

  2. Enamel erosion – for some women, morning sickness is a major symptom of pregnancy. Along with the nausea comes additional acid that, if left in your mouth, can erode your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water or with a fluoride mouthwash to keep the acid level under control.

  3. Dry mouth – pregnancy dry mouth can put women at a greater risk for problems such as tooth decay and infections. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugarless gum to enhance production of saliva.

Swollen gums ruining your day?

Swollen gums are no fun; luckily Colgate has answers for you. Try one of our gum health products.