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Best foods for mummy during pregnancy

Updated July 19, 2017

The basic principles of healthy eating are the same before, during and after pregnancy -- plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Nevertheless, a pregnancy diet requires special attention to a number of nutrients, and the foods that contain them. Lack of folate, a B vitamin, in the diet may produce birth defects and calcium and vitamin D are important for mummy and baby -- for strong bones and teeth.

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Avocadoes are an excellent source of folate, or folic acid, as well as potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 -- which may also help with morning sickness as well as baby's development. Avocadoes go well on a whole grain roll, are more healthy than mayonaisse but high in calories, so use in moderation.

Eat your porridge!

Cereal, especially oats, are full of fibre as well as the B vitamins and iron. The bonus for oats is in their addition to muffins, cakes, biscuits, pancakes and even meatloaf. An ideal serving size, says MayoClinic.com, is 3/4 cup. Fortified cereals are a good source of folic acid, as are leafy greens, citrus and dried beans and peas.

Milk the cow

Milk and associated dairy products -- yoghurt and cheese -- give the calcium baby needs for strong bones and teeth and also ensure mummy's circulation and muscular and nervous systems run as normal, according to MayoClinic.com. Dairy products have the richest source but many fruit juices and breakfast cereals have calcium fortification. Daily calcium needs are about 1000 mg per day but MayoClinic.com notes pregnant teenagers may need 1300 mg per day. A cup of milk will contain about 300 mg.

Fish for vitamin D

"Fatty" fish, such as salmon and tuna, provide plenty of vitamin D. Like calcium, vitamin D helps build strong bones and teeth in the infant. Pregnant women need 600 IU of vitamin D daily and 85 g of salmon goes a long way (447 IU) to provide that. The rest can come from a cup of fortified orange juice, a few spears of asparagus or two cups of milk.

Nuts for minerals

Nuts are high in fat but of the kind that is good for you in moderation -- and the kind that boost's baby's brain, according to the What to Expect website, which notes they are full of minerals and the E vitamin. Nuts can go into salads and pasta dishes -- as well as meats and baked goods -- liberally if weight is going on slowly and moderately if weight gain is happening quickly.

Broccoli and carrots

All green vegetables serve expectant mothers well but broccoli has heaps of folic acid as well as liberal doses of vitamins A and C. It's a crisp and healthy snack when raw, lightly steamed or stir-fried. Like broccoli, carrots are high in vitamin A and are great for eating raw on the move and they shred neatly into a wide range of cooking, from meatloaf to muffins.

No yolking around

One large hard-boiled egg contains 44 IU of vitamin D, according to MayoClinic.com. Eggs are low in calories and high in protein and form part of any balanced diet, especially those high in the fatty acid DHA.

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About the Author

Geoffrey Darling has been writing since 1980. In 2007, he received an Ohio Senate award for contribution to the arts, recognizing his work performing in Ohio prisons. Darling also worked for the New Zealand government as the Minister of Energy's press secretary and edited three small community newspapers.

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