Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant—and Foods You Should Avoid

There is a definite dividing line between the best foods to eat while pregnant and the foods you should phase out of your eating plan as soon as possible. As you make your daily choices about what to eat and what to exclude from your diet, you should consider more than just the caloric content of the foods you choose. You should also keep in mind the chemicals, additives, and other harmful substances that the food you choose may contain.

Almost everything you consume will cross the placenta and affect your developing baby as well. That’s why it’s crucial to choose foods high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients and avoid anything with harmful chemicals or other substances. So for your pregnancy and diet, here are the best foods you can choose—and the ones you should phase out as soon as possible.

Organic Foods vs. Non-Organic Foods

You may think that going organic is simply too expensive to contemplate, but it’s definitely worth the health benefits to both you and your baby. Some varieties of non-organic produce have copious amounts of pesticide residue, and that residue can have harmful long-term effects on your health as well as your baby’s.

If you cannot afford to go all organic from the beginning, then try to focus on the dirty dozen of organic produce: peaches, apples, nectarines, bell peppers, strawberries, celery, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach (or kale), lettuce, and potatoes. These produce varieties have consistently tested higher in pesticide residue than other varieties, and you should opt for the organic varieties if at all possible.

Water vs. Coffee, Sodas, and Tea

Let’s face it—it’s hard to drink enough water. If you are a caffeine addict, you may find that you just need your morning coffee or tea to get going. Sodas are flavorful and addictive. So it can be difficult indeed to make the commitment to drink enough water with so many tempting options in the fridge. But drinking plenty of water can help you combat many of the common physical complaints you may experience during pregnancy.

If you suffer from headaches, body aches, water retention, or other symptoms, then drinking water can alleviate them. You should be drinking a minimum of half your body weight in water each day. So if you are 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces. If you work out or if you have morning sickness and experience vomiting, you should drink even more than that.

Whole Foods vs. Processed Foods

Most expectant moms are concerned about keeping their weight in check throughout pregnancy. The more cautious you are about adding extra pounds, the easier your road to fitness will be after you give birth. So it makes sense to only eat foods that are sensible and healthy and will help you keep excess weight gain at bay.

This is where whole foods come in. The more processed foods you eat, the more additives, preservatives, chemicals, and fillers you consume. These extras can contribute to weight gain and water retention. But whole foods contain nutrients, fiber, and the vitamins and minerals you need to have a healthy pregnancy.

Plus, since they contain none of the sneaky extras that processed foods contain, they are a great way to help manage your weight during pregnancy.

Healthy Fats vs. Unhealthy Fats

Eating fats is not only encouraged, it’s necessary for your baby’s proper neural and cognitive development. This is because healthy fats contain the amino acids your baby needs to grow a healthy nervous system.

But this doesn’t give you carte blanche to order a bucket of fried chicken. Healthy fats don’t include hydrogenated or trans fats. Instead, you should opt for olive oil, avocadoes, coconut oil, organic butter, raw nuts, and nut butters.