With so many different sets of advice available for women who want to eat well during pregnancy, it can be difficult to navigate the various options and opinions. However, there are a few principles of healthy eating that practically any nutritionist or pregnancy expert would agree on - so expectant moms can avoid confusion and adopt these simple, good habits.
Snack with health in mind
Avoiding overly salty, fatty and sweet snacks is a good strategy at any stage in life. For pregnant women, replacing junk-food snacks with healthy ones provides a perfect opportunity to get the vitamins and nutrients necessary to promote proper baby development.
When you're craving a snack, consider hummus - its base is chickpeas, which are a particularly nutrient-rich food that contains folic acid, one of the Mayo Clinic's top recommendations for essential vitamins during pregnancy. Seeds and berries also provide great short-term hunger relief and lots of nutrients.
While pregnant, it's safe to assume that the more greens you eat, the better. Spinach and asparagus, for instance, are excellent sources of folic acids, the Mayo Clinic noted, while kale and Swiss chard are rich in vitamins and fiber.
Avocados, meanwhile, are technically fruits, but that's no reason to exclude them from your vegetable-eating regimen. Their green flesh is full of vitamins and healthy fats, and they help you feel full for a longer period of time than many vegetables do.
Choose oily fish
The Mayo Clinic noted that fatty fish provide an excellent source of vitamin D. If you eat 3 ounces of cooked sockeye salmon, you'll take in 447 international units of the vitamin and be well on your way to the daily recommended intake of 600 IUs.
In a column for the Times-Picayune, dietician Molly Kimball noted that salmon also has docosahexaenoic acid, a vital nutrient that aids the development of babies' brains and central nervous systems.
Know what foods to avoid
Not all fish are safe for pregnant women to eat, however - including some forms of salmon. Kimball recommended that moms-to-be should avoid cold smoked salmon and other similarly prepared fish. She also suggested cutting out high-mercury seafood like swordfish altogether, though it's okay to eat up to 12 ounces of shellfish per week.
Meanwhile, chicken salad and cold cuts may be unsafe for pregnant women, Kimball wrote, and they should ensure that all meat, eggs, seafood and poultry are fully cooked.
How are you making sure you get the necessary nutrition during pregnancy? Leave your feedback in the comments section!