It’s important to consume a variety of foods from all food groups and only eat food that’s been freshly prepared. During pregnancy your focus is on extra nutrients, not extra kilojoules, and you should flavour foods that deliver on nutrition.
To support the rapid cell growth that occurs during pregnancy most women need between 9mg and 11mg of zinc a day. Good sources of zinc are red meat, fish, dairy products, or plant sources, such as nuts, legumes and cereals.
This B vitamin is important pre-conception (to prevent neural cord defects) and all the way through pregnancy for the healthy growth of your baby. Load up on this vitamin by eating your leafy greens, citrus fruits, berries, bananas and legumes. The all-time folate stars are asparagus, bran flakes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, chickpeas, dried beans, lentils and spinach.
Eating dairy, seafood and fortified bread and cereals is a necessity when it comes to getting the right amount of iodine for your baby’s healthy brain development. Prioritise two to three 150g serves of iodine-rich fish a week and go for low-mercury species with high-omega 3, such as mackerel, atlantic salmon, canned salmon and tuna, herrings and sardines. If you eat high-mercury fish, like flake, swordfish and marlin you need to limit your intake to just one serve a fortnight and no other fish.
Pregnancy can deplete a pregnant woman’s iron stores, so its good to ensure you choose iron-rich foods. Getting enough iron is especially important early on in the pregnancy because low iron stores have been linked with premature birth and low birth weight. Eat red meat, leafy greens and legumes and team them up with vitamin C rich foods to help with the iron absorption.