Eating for two can be a nerve-wracking responsibility, especially with so much conflicting information.
Is it important to eat enough fish, or does it contain too much mercury? Do you need meat for protein, or is it too fatty? Are eggs okay, or do they have too much cholesterol?
It’s enough to make you want to throw your hands up and dive into the nearest bag of candy bars. There are lots of ways to ensure that you and your baby are getting the nutrients you both need.
Here’s some advice from nutrition experts on their top pregnancy foods. You don’t need to like or eat them all, but pick and choose your favorites to give your pregnancy a nutritional boost.
“It’s amazing what you get in one egg for only about 90 calories,” says Elizabeth Ward, dietitian and author ofExpect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.
In addition to more than 12 vitamins and minerals, eggs contain lots of quality protein, which is essential for pregnancy.
“Your baby’s cells are growing at an exponential rate, and every cell is made of protein,” Ward explains. “Plus, as a pregnant woman, you have your own protein needs.”
Eggs are also rich in choline, which promotes your baby’s overall growth and brain health, while helping prevent neural tube defects. Some eggs even contain omega-3 fats, important for both brain and vision development. (Brands that have omega-3s will probably state it on the label. Look for DHA-enriched eggs because those contain the most beneficial form of omega-3s.)
As for the egg’s bad rap about cholesterol? Not warranted, says Ward. It turns out that eating saturated fat does much more damage to your cholesterol level than eating the cholesterol naturally found in food.
And while eggs are high in cholesterol, they’re also relatively low in saturated fat, with only about 1 1/2 grams per egg.
“Healthy women with normal blood cholesterol can consume one to two eggs a day as part of a balanced diet low in saturated fat,” Ward says. But if cholesterol is a concern for you, substitute egg whites for whole eggs.
Need more convincing? Eggs are cheap, easy, quick, and versatile. When you’re too exhausted to cook a full meal, a couple of hard-boiled or scrambled eggs are just the ticket.