Convenience foods that taste good are one of the luxuries of modern living – it’s just unfortunate that so many of them are full of preservatives and other ingredients you should steer clear of during pregnancy.
Here are ten tasty foods to try.
Healthy “fast foods”
Grab an apple, banana, pear, orange, or another favorite fruit. Or if you prefer, try those handy little 4-ounce fruit cups, which count as one serving toward your daily recommendation for fruits and vegetablesduring pregnancy. Choose varieties packed in their own juice rather than in sugary syrup.
A small (1 1/2-ounce) box provides a little boost of fiber, iron, andpotassium while satisfying a sweet tooth.
One 6-ounce container of this classic nutritious-and-convenient food can provide 25 percent of your daily calcium requirement, as well as protein and several necessary vitamins and minerals. If the label says “live and active cultures,” you’ll also get the benefit of probiotics – helpful bacteria that aid digestion and protect your digestive tract.
4. Make-it-yourself trail mix
Add a cup of whole grain cereal to a handful of your favorite dried fruits and nuts (try dried cherries and almonds, or dried cranberries and walnuts). Keep it in a resealable bag in your desk or car for a handy, crunchy snack.
5. Salad bar
Some fast-food restaurants and many grocery stores have salad bars where you can serve yourself practically a whole day’s worth of fruits and vegetables. Load up on spinach, carrots, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, and zucchini. Add nuts, chickpeas, and kidney beans for aprotein boost, and top with raisins for iron, fiber, and potassium.
6. Baby carrots
Carrots are full of vitamin A and fiber, and you can find them in single-serving bags. Dip them in hummus or yogurt for an extra dose of nutrition or add a dab of salad dressing for flavor. Look for other prewashed veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach to make a quick dinnertime stir-fry.
7. String cheese
If you don’t know about string cheese now, just wait until your baby is a toddler – this food is likely to become a favorite snack. Low-fat mozzarella sticks are full of calcium, and one stick provides the same amount of protein as an 8-ounce glass of milk.
8. Orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D
Just half a cup provides half the daily requirement of vitamin C and about 15 percent of your calcium needs. Grab a juice box (check the labels for maximum fortification) when you’re on the go.
9. Whole grain cereal or instant oatmeal
Stash a few single-serving packages in your desk at work for a quick, filling snack. Almost all breakfast cereal is now fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, including folic acid.
10. Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and a fair source of calcium. Look for single-serving containers in the dairy section of most grocery stores. Top with fruit or throw in a handful of nuts and dried fruit to make things more interesting.