There are several key vitamins and minerals pregnant moms need in their diet. I’m going to briefly share what they are, how you can get them from whole food sources, and provide you with a tasty smoothie recipe which incorporates everything you need.
It’s no secret folic acid is a must for pregnant mommas. It’s recommended to take 800 micrograms (mcg) of folate or folic acid (its synthetic form) a day before conception and throughout pregnancy. This B vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects. All prenatal vitamins have this vitamin, but I also like to consume it from its natural food sources.
While folic acid and folate are often marketed as one and the same, their metabolic effects can be quite different. Folate is the bioavailable, natural form of vitamin B9 found in a variety of plant and animal foods. Folic acid, while readily utilized by the body, is the synthetic form of the vitamin, often found in supplements and fortified foods according to the Global Healing Center.
The body is more adept at using folate and will regulate healthy levels by releasing excess through the urine. Great sources of folic acid include leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and peas.
- 1 cup spinach (raw) – 58.2 mcg of folate
- 1 cup broccoli (frozen) – 105 mcg of folate
- 1 cup kale (raw) – 19.4 mcg
You and your baby also need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps your circulatory, muscular and nervous systems run normally. It’s recommended that pregnant women consume 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. Great non-dairy sources include broccoli and kale.
Most importantly, iron can help prevent anemia. During pregnancy your blood volume expands to accommodate changes in your body and help your baby create an entire blood supply. These important tasks require double the amount of iron. If you don’t get enough iron, you might also become fatigued and more at risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. It is recommended pregnant women consume 27 milligrams of iron per day. Iron is also found in most prenatal vitamins.
Great iron sources include quinoa, beans and spinach. It’s best to eat iron-rich foods along with foods that contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb the iron.
- 1 cup spinach (raw) – 0.8 mg
- 1 cup broccoli (frozen) – 1.3 mg
- 1 cup kale (raw) – 1.1 mg
- 3 tbsp hemp seed (raw, shelled) – 2.9 mg
Protein is one of the building blocks of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Without protein, you will lack the energy you need to function and the calories you need to support your and baby’s health. Protein is particularly critical in the second and third trimesters; according to the Mayo Clinic, you need 71g per day. Dried beans and peas, tofu, and peanut butter are all vegan sources of protein.
- 3 tbsp hemp seed (raw, shelled) – 10g protein
My Pregnancy Power Smoothie:
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- ½ cup frozen berries (high in vitamin C)
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 medjool dates
- 3 tbsp hemp seed
- 1 ripe fig
- 2 cups coconut water with pulp (or non-dairy milk)