What to eat for pregnant women
For the man in your life
A pregnant woman's diet
What to eat for pregnant women:
Why are avocados fantastic for you and your unborn baby's health?
When you’re pregnant, making sure every mouthful you eat is packed with the nutrients you need is more important than ever. Your growing baby means your needs for some nutrients increase – and while a healthy balanced diet can generally meet your needs, some nutrients are worth special attention.
Making sure you get enough calcium and iron, for example, is important, but some nutrients, such as folate, are tricky as they’re not easily found in a wide range of foods. The good news is avocados are a good source of folate, so they can help to boost your intake of this important nutrient.
Why is Folate, important for pregnant women?
Folate is key for your baby’s development, both at conception and throughout the first trimester, in particular. It’s important for the growth and development of your baby, and to prevent birth defects such the neural tube defect spina bifida207.
If you’re planning to get pregnant, it’s recommended that a healthy diet containing folate rich foods, such as avocados, should be supplemented with an extra 400mcg of folic acid (a form of folate) each day – through until the end of the first trimester207.
However, your requirements for folate generally also increase during pregnancy from 400mcg to 600mcg per day207 – a gap that avocados can help to bridge.
Half an avocado (120g) can provide you with around a quarter of your needs each day. That’s as easy as adding half an avocado to your sandwich or salad.
For the man in your life:
Folate is not just important for women. Initial research is showing that folate may also be important for men’s fertility. Low folate may play a role in sperm DNA damage.218 While more research is needed there is certainly no harm in making sure the men in your life get enough folate. Just ½ an avocado can provide a third of a man’s folate needs.
A pregnant woman's diet:
A healthy diet is important for your health and your unborn baby's growth and development.
A healthy diet in pregnancy includes216:
- A wide variety of nutritious foods.
- Plenty of vegetables, legumes and fruit. Make sure they're washed well.
- Plenty of wholegrain cereals, including breads, breakfast cereals, rice and pasta.
- Lean fish, meat, poultry and cooked eggs all cooked thoroughly.
- Legumes (such as chick peas, kidney beans), nuts and seeds.
- Low-fat or reduced-fat dairy foods, for example, milk, hard cheese and yoghurt.
Avoiding foods that can cause Listeria infection217:
It’s particularly important that pregnant women avoid certain foods to avoid the risk of Listeria infection, which can result in miscarriage and premature labour. Avoid:
- Processed meats; sliced chicken and turkey, ham, salami, luncheon meats – including packaged, sliced and ready-to-eat.
- Cold cooked chicken.
- Raw meats and fish, including sashimi.
- Pâtéor meat spreads
- Chilled raw or cooked seafood, including smoked seafood, oysters, sushi and sashimi, chilled prawns, prawn salads.
- Cheese – soft, semi soft and surface ripened cheese, for example, brie, camembert, fetta, ricotta and blue cheese.
- Unpasteurised cheese or milk
- It’s best to choose only freshly cooked and prepared foods.
- If you are buying take-away foods they must be cooked all the way through and eaten straight away, not stored. Make sure they’re served steaming hot.
- Avoid ready-to-eat foods from salad bars, sandwich bars and smorgasbords. If you’re eating out, order hot meals.
- You can make home-made sushi without the raw fish. Try a sushi roll that's made with avocado and cucumber.
- Make sure you store all prepared food in an airtight, clean container in the fridge. Refrigerate it promptly (don’t leave it on the bench to cool) and keep for no longer than one day.
Some recipe ideas using avocado:
Two slices of wholegrain toast, spread with avocado instead of butter, add a hard-boiled egg and tomato, then drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Baked beans (reduced salt) on wholemeal toast with sliced avocado.
Avocado, mushroom and tomato omelette.
Homemade guacamole with vegetable sticks.
Mashed avocado on wholegrain toast.
Avocado slices with tomato, cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lime on wholemeal crackers.
Jacket potato with homemade guacamole and a freshly prepared salad.
Wholemeal pasta with avocado, garlic, lemon juice and basil sauce. Serve with freshly prepared rocket, avocado and tomato salad.
Grilled steak or chicken breast with avocado slices, cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon, served with steamed vegetables.
Avocado and chicken burritos
Baked fish, with tomato and basil sauce and avocado slices, served with veggies or fresh salad.