When you're pregnant, getting the right mix of key nutrients is especially important at the start of the day. This not only serves your growing baby, but it boosts your own energy and helps you maintain a healthy body and mouth. Kick off your morning with one of these five meals as a healthy breakfast for pregnancy.
Tips for Healthy Pregnancy Meals
A woman with a normal body mass index prior to pregnancy will need an additional 300 calories per day during pregnancy, advises the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). When you're pregnant, it's best to plan meals that include the following:
- Whole grains, fruits and veggies
- Lean meat, poultry and fish
- Healthy fats from fish, nuts or avocado
- Dairy, such as skim milk or cheese
It's also very important for pregnant women to get at least 27 milligrams (mg) of iron daily, whether from meats, legumes or a dietary supplement. Here are a few delicious ways to pack these foods and nutrients into your morning meals.
1. Fortified Cereal With an Orange
From the start of your pregnancy, getting enough folate in the mix — between 400 and 800 micrograms (mcg) daily — is a must, according to the Mayo Clinic. Folate is a key defender against certain neural tube defects, as well as brain and spinal abnormalities. Eating cereals that are 50% to 100% fortified with the B vitamin is an easy way to get this nutrient. Add a ripe orange on the side, which includes about 29 mcg of folate. The Cleveland Clinic also notes that oranges contain a healthy amount of vitamin C, which helps you absorb iron — another essential nutrient for you and your baby.
2. Chicken Omelet
When you're pregnant, iron is especially important to guard against anemia and fatigue, as the Cleveland Clinic explains. Heme iron, which is a special type of iron that's easier to absorb, can be found in red meat, fish and poultry, according to the ACOG. These meats are also great sources of protein, as are eggs. To get a healthy dose of heme iron and protein, you can combine chicken and eggs to make a hearty chicken omelet. Just make sure to only eat fully cooked eggs while pregnant.
3. White Bean Burrito
If you're vegetarian or vegan, you can still get a good dose of iron by eating legumes, explains the ACOG. Make a delicious breakfast burrito with some Great Northern beans for a healthy morning meal. Half a cup of these beans also contains 90 mcg of folate, according to the Mayo Clinic.
4. Milk or Yogurt
Both calcium and vitamin D work together to build your baby's bones and teeth, notes the ACOG. Add skim milk to your fortified breakfast cereal, or have a 6-ounce cup of yogurt, as the Mayo Clinic recommends. Calcium also helps strengthen your enamel to prevent cavities, as the American Dental Association (ADA) explains.
5. Fruit and Oatmeal
The ACOG recommends fruits and whole grains that are high in fiber. Fruits with skin, such as apples, berries and peaches, are a great way to get your fill of fiber. Add these to a whole-grain bowl of oatmeal for a balanced, fiber-packed meal. These foods will also keep you feeling full longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels to help you avoid that late-morning slump. What's more — fiber works to keep your teeth clean and wash away harmful acids, as the ADA notes.
It's easy to start planning balanced meals when you know what foods to look for. A healthy breakfast for pregnancy is important for your growing baby's health, as well as for your own oral health and overall well-being. In addition to eating healthy foods, be sure to maintain good oral hygiene during pregnancy by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. Good food choices and a good oral care routine will help to keep your belly full, your baby healthy and your smile bright.