A Colorful Pregnancy Diet
Mixing and matching fruits and veggies for good nutrition while pregnant
While we’d love to take credit for the whole idea of grouping fruits and vegetables by color, the truth is, the American Dietetic Association is way ahead of us on this one. Their “Eat Right with Color” campaign encourages Americans to eat a wider variety of fruits and vegetables by thinking about color.
Colorful Food Options
For pregnant women in particular, says Lori Rittel, public health nutritionist for the Montana WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) Program, recommends the following because of their unique benefits for the expectant mother:
- Greens (collard, beet, kale), spinach, Romaine, green or red leaf lettuce, beans—folic acid, vitamins A and C, iron, antioxidant properties
- Kiwi—vitamins A, B and C, antioxidants
- Broccoli—calcium, vitamin C, antioxidants
- Orange squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe—vitamin A, antioxidants
- Oranges, lemons—vitamin C
- Berries, tomatoes—vitamin C and A, antioxidants
- Bananas—vitamin B6, potassium
Of course this is just a partial list—there are many other delicious vegetables and fruits, and there are no “bad” fruits or vegetables.
Fruit and Veggie Tips
In her book Every Woman’s Guide to Eating During Pregnancy, Martha Rose Shulman says fruits and vegetables are the key to eating healthy during pregnancy. In addition to being the best way to get lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories, it’s satisfying in a more emotional way as well.
“I found this during my own pregnancy and in talking to others that there’s something very earthy and appealing about eating a fresh fruit or vegetable when you’re pregnant,” says Shulman. “You not only are feeding yourself physically, but there is such a great feeling of satisfaction in biting into a clean, juicy piece of fruit or eating a well-prepared green vegetable You feel like you’re getting all of these natural sources of energy and vitamins and just doing something really good.”
Rittel also notes that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help balance nutrients from the rest of your diet. Because vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, Rittel always recommends having a glass of orange juice with iron-fortified breakfast cereal in the morning. Or, make pasta sauce in a cast iron pot. A tomato-based sauce is very healthy to begin with and will absorb the iron from the pot to add another important nutrient.
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