Foods you must not miss when you’re pregnant

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When you’re pregnant, you get all kinds of advice — some you should follow quite strictly, some that you probably don’t need to follow to the letter, and some you’re probably better off ignoring. You get it everywhere you turn: from your doctors, midwife, partner, parents, friends, the media, and even well-meaning, but sometimes rude strangers.

Given that you likely don’t want to do or consume anything that could negatively impact your health or the health of your not-yet-born baby, chances are, you’ll follow at least some of that advice. Food can be a confusing topic for most of us, pregnant or not, so you may find yourself needing some guidance. When it comes to what you should and shouldn’t eat while pregnant, here’s what you need to know.

1. Don’t miss beans in your diet

Beans and lentils are great choices all the time, but especially when you’re pregnant. These legumes are high in a nutrient called folate, which is essential when it comes to preventing birth defects like spina bifida. Not only that, but they are also high in fiber, which can prevent constipation, a common complaint from pregnant women, and a vegetarian source of protein, which helps you feel full.

2. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are delicious and versatile. They’re a definite “yes” for pregnant moms-to-be. Sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A. Vitamin A is a particularly important nutrient for pregnant women, as they’re advised to increase intake by up to 40 percent. Vitamin A is both important for your health and for your baby’s growth over the course of the pregnancy.

3. Lean beef

You may be surprised to see lean beef among foods that you should eat while you’re pregnant, but it serves an important purpose. Meats, like lean beef, contain iron, which is super-important, especially when you’re pregnant. Iron is easy for your body to absorb from meat sources, which makes it a good choice to eat a couple of times a week while pregnant.

Additionally, beef in particular is also high in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, and choline, which helps promote brain development. If you decide to eat beef while you’re pregnant, opt for lean cuts, which give you all of those good benefits, without too much of the unnecessary saturated fat also characteristic of red meat like beef