High Protein Foods For Pregnancy


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Can Protein Foods Decrease Your Risk For Preeclampsia

High protein diet during pregnancy: good or bad? | Nourish with Melanie #170

Throughout pregnancy, your body is building more blood, vessels, and various tissues to help support you and your growing baby.

Protein-rich foods supply the building blocks to help your body meet these increased demands, and decrease some of the risk factors for developing preeclampsia, like hypertension and high blood sugar. An integrative ob/gyn can help you manage risk factors for preeclampsia through diet and lifestyle interventions.

One amino acid, called glycine, can be especially helpful for supporting healthy blood pressure, and needs increase during pregnancy. Glycine produces elastin, a structural protein that helps your blood vessels expand and contract.

The best sources of glycine are the connective tissues, skin, and bones of slow cooked animal foods, like bone broth, pot roast or stew, chicken with the skin, and collagen or gelatin powder.

Dealing With Those Quirky Hankerings

No one really knows why pregnancy cravings occur, but theyâre not generally thought to be caused by food deficiencies. If anything, pregnancy hormones could be the culprit, as cravings tend to be particularly strong during the first trimester and pass after that. Thereâs no reason to avoid foods you crave if you eat in moderation. You might find yourself craving non-food items, such as laundry starch or clay. This is a condition called pica. If you crave nonfood items, be sure to consult your healthcare provider.

What To Eat When Pregnant: Protein

With my first pregnancy, I ate a low to moderate protein diet, and I found that my feet swelled a little bit in the last 6 weeks. With my second pregnancy, I ate more protein and experienced no swelling. It turns out that eating a high-protein diet during pregnancy is a great way to stave off preeclampsia, high blood pressure, swelling, premature labor, and other not-so-good pregnancy issues. Dr. Brewer recommends at least 80 grams of protein a day up to 100-120!

Great sources of proteins include:

Adding various types of protein sources in your day allows for a richer amount of nutrients for you and baby.

The Brewers diet also recommends pregnant moms to eat high-quality salt to taste and to never restrict salt intake as low salt intake can actually cause swelling and blood pressure issues.

Recommended Reading: Best Protein Powders For Weight Loss

Nutritious Fruits You Should Eat During Pregnancy

If youre pregnant, you might be craving something sugary. But try not to make a habit of reaching for a piece of cake or a candy bar to satisfy that sweet tooth. Fruit is the perfect solution.

It offers the sweetness you crave and the nutrition you need. Enjoy these fruits as part of a healthy pregnancy diet in salads, in smoothies, over yogurt, or as a snack anytime.

Why Is Protein So Important During Pregnancy

The Benefits and Risks of a High Protein Diet During Pregnancy

Protein is an essential nutrient during pregnancy. The building blocks of protein, called amino acids, play countless roles in the body, from maintaining the structure of our muscles, skin and bones to producing critical hormones for growth.

Eating enough protein during pregnancy also supports your baby’s development, since amino acids are required for normal cell growth and function. Meeting your daily protein needs may also lower the risk of complications like fetal growth restriction and preterm labor.

Recommended Reading: Gluten And Dairy Free Protein Bars

There’s No Need To Eat For 2

You will probably find that you are more hungry than usual, but you do not need to “eat for 2” even if you are expecting twins or triplets.

Try to have a healthy breakfast every day, because this can help you to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Eating healthily often means changing the amounts of different foods you eat, so that your diet is varied, rather than cutting out all your favourites. You can use the Eatwell Guide to get the balance of your diet right. It shows you how much of what you eat should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.

You do not need to achieve this balance with every meal, but try to get the balance right over a week.

Guidelines For Safe Food Handling

Follow these general food safety guidelines when handling and cooking food:

  • Wash. Rinse all raw produce thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting or cooking.

  • Clean. Wash your hands, knives, countertops and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.

  • Cook. Cook beef, pork or poultry to a safe internal temperature verified by a food thermometer.

  • Chill. Promptly refrigerate all perishable food.

Also Check: How To Remove Excess Protein From Body

Should I Take An Iron Supplement During Pregnancy

Talk to your health care provider about an iron supplement. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that all pregnant women following a balanced diet take an iron supplement providing 27 mg of iron during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy . Your doctor may increase this dose if you become anemic. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition in which the size and number of red blood cells are reduced. This condition may result from inadequate intake of iron or from blood loss.

Lean Meat And Proteins

High Protein Smoothie For Every Pregnant And Postpartum Mom

Lean beef, pork, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline, and other B vitamins all of which youll need in higher amounts during pregnancy.

Iron is an essential mineral that is used by red blood cells as a part of hemoglobin. Youll need more iron since your blood volume is increasing. This is particularly important during your third trimester.

Low levels of iron during early and mid-pregnancy may cause iron deficiency anemia, which increases the risk of low birth weight and other complications.

It can be hard to cover your iron needs with meals alone, especially if you develop an aversion to meat or are vegetarian or vegan. However, for those who can, eating lean red meat regularly may help increase the amount of iron youre getting from food.

Pro tip: Pairing foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as oranges or bell peppers, along with iron-rich foods may also help increase absorption.

Also Check: Protein Shake Without Protein Powder

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

It is important to track your weight gain during pregnancy. This helps to make sure that both you and your baby are healthy. Women who gain too little weight are at risk of having a small baby . Yet women who gain too much weight have a greater risk of having the baby early or having a large baby. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy may also lead to other health problems. These may include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and varicose veins in the mother.

Pregnant women store fat to prepare for breastfeeding. If you are below your target pregnancy weight, your health care provider will carefully track your progress. Also, ask your health care provider or a registered dietitian to help with meal planning. This will help ensure that you get the nutrients and calories you need for proper weight gain.

What Foods Should I Eat

You will need an additional 200 to 300 extra calories from nutrient-dense foods such as lean meats, low fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grain products. It will be important to carefully consider the foods you consume during your pregnancy. This is a time to eat more foods that are nutrient-dense, and fewer sweets and treats. Eat a variety of foods. Use the website www.choosemyplate.gov as a guide to choose the amounts of foods in each food group.

Recommended Reading: Protein Powder With Real Sugar

Are Food Cravings Real

It is common for women to develop a sudden urge or a strong dislike for a food during pregnancy. Some common cravings are for sweets, salty foods, red meat or fluids, Krieger said. Often, a craving is a body’s way of saying it needs a specific nutrient, such as more protein or additional liquids to quench a thirst, rather than a particular food, she said.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.

Additional resources

  • The Institute of Medicine has a BMI calculator to help pregnant women figure out the right amount of weight to gain.
  • Find answers to frequently asked questions about nutrition during pregnancy from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Learn about safe food choices and food safety risks from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Editor’s note: This reference page was updated on April 24, 2021, by Live Science contributor Sarah Wild.

Other Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

high protein foods for first trimester during pregnancy
  • No bake energy bars
  • Keep in mind that every mama is different. What you love one pregnancy you may not enjoy the next. Our bodies crave and enjoy different things. Take it day by day and do what you can .

    The important thing while pregnant is to stay fueled, and hydrated , and enjoy that growing belly of yours!

    Likewise, stock up now on some of the best recipes for busy moms and these dairy and gluten-free breastfeeding snacks! Trust me, they save your sanity!

    Read Also: Cookies And Cream Protein Shakes

    Other Facts About Iron

    • Vitamin C helps your body use iron. It is important to include sources of vitamin C along with foods containing iron and iron supplements.
    • Caffeine can inhibit the absorption of iron. Try to consume iron supplements and foods high in iron at least one to three hours before or after drinking or eating foods containing caffeine.
    • Iron is lost in cooking some foods. To retain iron, cook foods in a minimal amount of water and for the shortest possible time. Also, cooking in cast iron pots can add iron to foods.
    • Constipation is a common side effect of taking iron supplements. To help relieve constipation, slowly increase the fiber in your diet by including whole grain breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Drinking at least eight cups of fluids daily and increasing moderate exercise can also help you avoid constipation.

    Best 21 Foods To Eat While Pregnant

    Not sure what to include in your pregnancy diet meal plan? Healthy food for your pregnancy might be a lot tastier than you think! Weâve included 21 of the best foods to eat while pregnant, whether youâre in your first trimester or the final stretch:

  • Eggs. Packed with protein and vitamins, eggs are nutritional powerhouses, and they’re quick and easy to prepare.

  • Cheese. Cheese is a delicious calcium-rich food for pregnancy look for varieties made with pasteurized milk. Itâs best to avoid the following cheeses unless the label specifically says pasteurized: feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, queso fresco, and queso blanco.

  • Yogurt. Another calcium-rich food for your pregnancy menu is yogurt. Youâll want to avoid overly processed and sugary foods, so the best yogurt for pregnancy is one thatâs plain, Greek, or anything without added sugar.

  • Fortified milk. Fortified milk is a great source of calcium, and it also contains vitamin D, which can be a tricky nutrient to obtain from other sources.

  • Fortified cereals. To ensure youâre getting the calcium, vitamin D, iron, and folic acid you need, opt for fortified or enriched cereals. Eat a bowl for breakfast or sprinkle some atop Greek yogurt drizzled with honey.

  • Nuts and seeds. Portable and non-perishable, nuts and nut butters are perfect as healthy, on-the-go pregnancy snacks and are excellent protein and fat sources. Almonds, peanuts, and walnuts are all good picks.

  • Recommended Reading: How Much Protein Can You Eat At Once

    Color Your Diet With Fruits

    Some people will warn you against fruit consumption when you ask them about what not to eat during pregnancy. This is a myth. Fruit isnt just delicious it can help curb your sugar cravings and supply you and your baby the necessary nutrients. As long as you arent eating them in juice form too often, fruits are an important part of your pregnancy diet. If canned, choose unsweetened.

    Be cautious in your preparation of fruit. Dont use knives used for other raw foods that may have bacteria, and always thoroughly rinse raw fruit under running water. Rinsing your fruit is important since bacteria can be found on the outer rind or peel, which can cause illness or be harmful to you and baby. Cut off damaged or bruised spots to help remove any bacteria hiding out in these areas.

    It is worth noting that eating fruits should be done with care. Observing how your body reacts every time you have some will help. For example, if you have a spike in your blood sugar or notice abnormal weight gain, you should cut back.

    You can have moderate servings of the following fruits:

    • Bananas
    • Dried fruits

    Mocha Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

    7 Best High Protein Foods that Reduce Abdominal Fat

    Calling all coffee lovers for this one and smoothie bowl lovers while were at it. Smoothie bowls are light, flavorful, and easy to whip up in a time crunch, as well as a great way to get your protein.

    The protein in this bowl of goodness comes from chia seeds and your choice of protein powder. One serving provides 20 grams of protein and a creation thats worthy of a photo.

    To get closer to 2530 grams of protein, you can make modifications such as:

    Anyone can make a good protein pancake.

    Take your traditional morning meal up a notch with this grain-free version that uses coconut flour and very few other ingredients. Bananas and other yummy fruits provide some added sweetness.

    One serving consists of 5 pancakes and gives you about 28 grams of protein.

    Read Also: Should I Use Protein Powder

    Get Legitimate Advice On What To Eat During Pregnancy

    Knowing what to eat during pregnancy will keep you and your baby safe and healthy. With nutritious meals on the table, you can safeguard your child from various health risks. Eating the right foods will also reduce symptoms, such as nausea, morning sickness and fatigue.

    Some long-time parents who insist that they know the routine should never assume this pregnancy will be like their others nutritionally. Your family and friends may also mean well when giving you pregnancy advice, but keep in mind that a legitimate set of guidelines is what you need the most. This will ensure that you get precise details on what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy.

    First-hand information from a nutritionist specializing in prenatal care is 100% reliable. Ideally, consult one, who will offer advice tailored for your specific needs. A certified nutritionist** can provide you definitive advice on proper prenatal care and diet.

    During pregnancy, you are your babys only source of nourishment. What you eat and drink will affect your childs health, so you want to be sure that you choose the best food to eat during pregnancy.

    Family Health Centers of San Diego can guide you through your pregnancy. Our dedicated certified nutritionists** and registered dietitians will assess your condition and help you make healthy food choices. We will help you manage your symptoms through the foods you eat and educate you on prenatal care.

    Pregnancy Foods High In Protein

    Pregnancy is a time when concentrating on your diet and the benefits of the foods you eat is very important. Prenatal diet must be carefully chosen and should fulfill the requirement of all nutrients such as protein, vitamins and essential minerals. Do you know that it is very important for you to get a high protein diet during pregnancy? Well protein can help you remain healthy and your baby to grow properly. The following is a list of the 10 pregnancy foods that are really high in protein:

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    Fish With Low Levels Of Mercury

    Fish is a good source of lean protein, and some fish, including salmon and sardines, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that’s good for the heart. It is safe for pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood a week, as long as it’s not a high-mercury fish , according to ACOG.

    A Pregnancy Snack List: High Protein Snacks


    The snacks on this list are all high in protein and take a little bit of time to digest. These kinds of snacks tend to help ward off morning sickness in early pregnancy. Then they help you to satisfy protein requirements in your second and third trimester!

    • String Cheese
    • Celery with Nut Butter
    • Add Cream Cheese or a little Butter to the above for taste & good fats
    • Pork Rinds
    • Hard-Boiled Eggs
    • Macadamia Nuts
    • Sausage Rounds
    • Sardines
    • Smoked Salmon
    • Greek-style Yogurt
    • Tuna, Chicken, or Egg Salad
    • Pate, Liverwurst, or other high-protein sandwich spread
    • Cottage cheese

    Eat real foods and stay away from protein bars and other processed foods. Most of these snacks are quick and easy to prepare and keep on hand, but yogurt cups can be a good option if you need them.

    If you will be out and about for awhile, take a cooler with some snack foods in it to help you keep your energy levels high and morning sickness at bay!

    Read Also: Muscle Milk Gainer Protein Powder

    Food Cravings And Aversions

    Food cravings and dislikes of certain foods are common during pregnancy. There is no evidence that food cravings are linked to nutritional deficiencies. Their cause remains a mystery. It is acceptable to meet your food cravings within reason. Especially when they supply nutrients to the diet.

    In rare cases, some pregnant women crave nonfood substances. This is a disorder called pica. The consumption of nonfood items can be dangerous for both mother and baby. In some cases, pica involves eating large amounts of nonfood. This can prevent you from getting enough calories or nutrients to stay healthy. Examples of these nonfood items include clay, starch, ice, coffee grounds, or baking soda. If you experience nonfood cravings, talk to your health care provider right away. These symptoms may be a sign of nutrient deficiency , and may need to be treated with an additional supplement.

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