We’ve all heard the old maxim “you are what you eat.” When it comes to pregnancy, you can bet that you’re baby’s body is built on the stuff you consume, too. But it turns out, even the healthiest eaters among us may be missing out on key nutrients. Here’s how to make the most of your pregnancy diet, just by making simple tweaks to the way you shop and cook:
To market, to market
This may not be feasible throughout your entire pregnancy, but when you can, plan on hitting up the grocery store more often. Because the nutritional value of fresh produce declines quickly, stocking up on fruits and veggies all at once may not do you much good. Instead, shop more frequently, and eat your fruits and veggies soon after purchasing them.
Make sure your produce packs the biggest nutritional punch by selecting fruits and vegetables at their optimal ripeness. Much of the fresh food on our grocery store shelves is slightly underripe – or it’s been sitting around for so long it’s grossly overripe. Neither is ideal.
To ensure your produce delivers a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients, keep these tips in mind: 1.) Look for fruit and veggies that are firm but have a slight give to them when squeezed. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to produce such as greens, cabbage, and peppers. Make sure those selections are brightly colored and crisp. 2.) You want many of your fruits and veggies soft, but not too soft. Anything mushy or worse – moldy – put it back and move on.
When you cook your veggies you lose some of their nutritional value. While fruits and vegetables are usually at their prime when raw, we understand that sometimes you don’t want to chomp your way through a carrot stick and call it a meal. When possible, choose steaming over sautéing – and add the cooking liquid back into your dish.
Eat the peel
Tempted to peel your sweet potato or apple to get right to the good stuff? Don’t. It turns out, the most vitamin-rich piece of your fruit or veggie is right beneath its skin. By tossing the peel, you’re missing out on a host of healthful nutrients to pass on to your baby.
By making thoughtful choices when it comes to the food you consume – and how and when you consume it – you’ll be passing on the most nutrients you can to your growing baby. Have you made big changes to your diet since learning you were pregnant? Share your experiences with other moms-to-be in the comments below.