First trimester is a crucial time in your pregnancy, when your baby’s major organs are developing. During these weeks, you need to follow a healthy pregnancy diet plan. This will ensure that you can provide your baby with the right nutrients. But what are these nutrients you need? And what are the best foods to eat?
Here is the Hera lowdown on what you should eat during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Spinach is rich in Folate, which is a critical nutrient for the development of the fetus. It prevents neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly in the baby.
Best Way To Consume: You can steam or sauté Spinach with garlic and oil, make a soup, or a simple vegetable dish.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and amino acids that you and your baby need. They contain calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone and muscle development in the baby and Choline for fetal brain development.
Best Way To Consume: Avoid undercooked eggs. Eggs are versatile and you can enjoy them boiled, scrambled, poached, depending on your choice.
Collard Greens are rich in calcium, essential to a pregnancy diet plan for building strong bones for the baby.
Best Way To Consume: You can use Collard greens in soups, puree into a pesto or steam and roll into a wrap.
Eating dry fruits during first trimester of pregnancy such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews can improve a child’s neuropsychological development. It has been found that children whose mothers eat nuts during early pregnancy have better IQ, memory, and concentration. Nuts are also rich in folic acids and fatty acids, which are crucial for neural development.
Best Way To Consume: You can eat a handful of dry fruits during first trimester of pregnancy as snacks during the day.
Asparagus is a rich source of vitamin K, C A and especially Folate which helps prevent neural tube defects in a baby.
Best Way To Consume: You can roast, steam or grill asparagus with olive oil, salt and garlic for the best flavors.
Lean cuts of beef in a pregnancy diet plan are a rich source of protein, vitamins B6, B12, phosphorus, selenium niacin, zinc and iron, in highly absorbable forms which reduces the risk of anemia in early pregnancy. Beef is also rich in Choline, which is necessary for your baby’s brain and memory.
Best Way To Consume: Avoid eating raw or rare beef. Organic, grass-fed and hormone-free beef is the best choice.
Lentils are a significant source of protein, especially for expectant mothers following a vegetarian or vegan pregnancy diet plan. They are also a rich source of folic acid and of iron that reduces the risk of anemia  and fiber that helps with constipation in early pregnancy.
Best Way To Consume: You can be enjoy lentils as a soup or as a side dish.
The high fiber content of bananas relieves constipation in pregnancy.
Best Way To Consume: You can eat Bananas as they are, slice into a fruit salad or blend it in a smoothie.
Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C that help your baby’s bones grow. Citrus can also help with morning sickness during pregnancy.
Best Way To Consume: Nothing beats the freshness of a glass of orange or lemon juice
Yoghurt is rich in calcium required for bone development of the baby. It contains active cultures that reduce the risk of yeast infections in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Best Way To Consume: A cold bowl of yoghurt topped with nuts and berries makes for the perfect pregnancy snack.
Chicken is a rich source of protein. It also contains easily absorbable forms of iron, which help in making red blood cells that boost oxygen supply to the mother and baby.
How To Consume: Chicken is a versatile food that you can enjoy in many ways. Avoid undercooked or partially cooked chicken in a first trimester diet.
Red Bell Peppers
The vitamin C in red bell peppers helps in iron absorption pivotal to the baby’ growth.
How To Consume: Stuffed and roasted bell peppers are full of nutrition and flavor.
Cottage cheese made from pasteurized milk provides phosphorus, vitamin B12, calcium and protein needed for bone and muscle development of the baby.
How To Consume: Cottage cheese in a spinach gravy is a nutrient dense meal
Salmon is a naturally rich source of long-chain omega-3s, including DHA. It is vital for the development of the baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system. In high-risk pregnancies, increased intake of DHA has also been shown to reduce the risk of premature births.
How To Consume: You can eat Salmon baked, poached or grilled with a side of vegetables. During pregnancy, it is best to avoid Sushi or cold smoked salmon.
Avocados – Avocados are nutrient-rich fruits that are an excellent source of folate, fiber, protein, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, C, E, and K, all of which are essential in a pregnancy diet plan and important for the growing fetus.
How To Consume: The tastiest way to enjoy an Avocado is as a dip or on a toast.
Here is a sample first trimester pregnancy diet plan with three options you can try
|Option 1||Option 2||Option 3|
|Breakfast||1 English Muffin with ½ cup baked beans and 1 egg||2 slices wholegrain toast with toppings||½ cup muesli (60g) with 1 cup low-fat milk|
|Lunch||2/3 cup basmati rice with 2/3 cup beans or ¾ cup lentils or 100g lean meat/fish/chicken and salad/veg||1 wholegrain sandwich, roll or wrap with egg/tuna/ low-fat cheese and salad||1 cup lentil soup with 2 slices of wholegrain bread|
|Dinner||1 cup basmati rice with 100g stir-fried lean chicken/beef/fish and veg||1½ cups cooked pasta with tomato-based sauce and garden salad||100g cooked lean meat/ chicken/fish with 1 boiled potato, ½ corn cob and side of other veg/salad|
|Snacks||1 medium piece of fruit||200g low fat yoghurt||1 cup reduced fat milk|
SHera Pro Tip: It is best recommended that you speak to a nutritionist who will guide you with a personalized pregnancy diet plan.
Conventional belief was that a pregnant woman must eat for two. It no longer holds true. For most normal-weight pregnant women, doctors advice a pregnancy diet plan of about 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester. This may vary depending on the health of the baby and the weight gain of the mother.
|Folate||Folate helps prevent birth abnormalities like Spina bifida. The lack of folic acid is also associated with low birth weight and preterm delivery.||Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, brown rice nuts, beans, citrus fruits, etc.|
|Iron||Iron deficiency is linked to a poor immune system in mother and preterm delivery and low birth weight for baby.||Lean meat, poultry, fish, spinach, beans, lentils, etc.|
|Calcium||Calcium is needed for the growth of the fetus. It boosts muscle, heart, and nerve development.||Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt. Leafy green vegetables are also rich in calcium.|
|Iodine||Iodine is essential for the production of maternal and fetal thyroid hormones that regulate the development of the fetal brain and nervous system.||Fortified salt, seafood, milk, eggs, some cereals and bread are sources of iodine.|
|DHA||DHA supports brain and neurological development of the baby.||Salmon, nuts, eggs and flaxseed oil are the best sources of DHA.|
|Choline||Choline is essential for fetal brain development.||Fish, beef, poultry, eggs, some beans and nuts.|
|Zinc||Zinc is an essential mineral for cell division, growth and production of DNA.||Beans, nuts, avocados, asparagus, broccoli etc.|
|Vitamins A||Aids in the development of major organs and bodily systems during the embryonic stage.||Found in milk, eggs, as well as orange, green and yellow fruits and vegetables.|
|Vitamin D||Vitamin D helps with the development of strong bones, healthy cell division and immune function in the baby.||Sun is the primary source of vitamin D. It can also be found in salmon, eggs, and dairy.|
During pregnancy, both you and your growing baby need extra nutrients. The best way to get them is to eat a balanced and healthy diet with a variety of nutritious foods.
However, although a healthy diet will give you most of the vitamins and minerals you need, it is advisable that you also take prenatal supplements in pregnancy to be sure that you are getting all the nutrients you need and in the right quantity.
Hera’s prenatal essentials are specially formulated to meet the increased demand for nutrients in pregnancy.