15 power foods to eat while pregnant

Give these a try for a pregnancy health boost.

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  • Do you wish the old wives' tale of eating for two while pregnant was actually true? Why is it that you feel famished so often while pregnant? It's because you have a growing baby who is demanding more nourishment from you.

  • Once you've passed your first trimester, and hopefully are out of the morning sickness window, what are foods that will keep you feeling full and are healthy at the same time?

  • Here are 15 power foods that you should include in your diet while pregnant:

  • 1. Broccoli

  • Broccoli is rich in calcium and folate, but is also dense in fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants. Pair it with whole-wheat pasta or brown rice, and you will get a meal full of vitamin C and iron.

  • 2. Bananas

  • Some mornings you are in a hurry, or nothing sounds good for breakfast. Grab a banana! This fruit is rich in potassium and can keep you from feeling fatigued, which can be a common side effect of pregnancy. If you do have extra time to make something, try adding bananas to a smoothie, or cut some up to add to your favorite Greek yogurt.

  • 3. Soy foods

  • If you are a vegetarian, or are unable to consume meat while pregnant, try tofu. It contains over 10 grams of protein per half cup! That will definitely keep you on track to get all of the right nutrients — including protein — you're supposed to get while pregnant.

  • 4. Leafy greens

  • Like salads? Be sure that you are taking advantage of the greens that have high levels of iron and folate, like kale, turnip greens and spinach. Or, if you just can't do salads right now, try adding a handful of dark, leafy lettuces to your pasta dishes or soups.

  • 5. Lean meat

  • Some pregnant women have an extra craving for meat (protein anyone?!). Your body needs double the iron during pregnancy, so it is important to include iron-rich foods in your diet. And meat is one form of iron that is easily digested by your body.

  • 6. Cheese

  • Certain cheeses, including soft cheeses, are off-limits during pregnancy; but there are two options that can help you meet your calcium requirements during pregnancy: cheddar and mozzarella. Grab some string cheese to snack on. Or, add slices of cheddar to go alongside an apple for a quick and yummy snack.

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  • 7. Nuts and nut butters

  • Love to snack? Trade in almonds or cashews for pretzels and chips. Not only is this a healthier option, but it will keep you fuller longer.

  • 8. Oatmeal

  • Oatmeal is a yummy breakfast alternative to toast or a bagel during the week. Not only is it filling, but it can also help to lower your cholesterol. To sweeten it, forego any pre-made oatmeal and cook up the plain version and stir in maple syrup or jelly.

  • 9. Whole-grain bread

  • Hopefully you can steer away from white bread now that you no longer have morning sickness and grab whole-grain bread instead. Not only does whole-grain bread have plenty of iron and zinc, but it also contains plenty of fiber to get you to your recommended amount for the day.

  • 10. Eggs

  • If you, like me, couldn't stomach the idea of eating meat while pregnant, eggs are a great alternative for getting the amino acids you need during pregnancy. You have great egg options for breakfast, obviously, but you can also make an omelet with chopped veggies and cheese for a quick dinner too.

  • 11. Oranges

  • Oranges are packed with fiber, folate and vitamin C. Plus, they have a ton of water if you are having a hard time consuming enough; this will help with your dehydration. Keep oranges in your car or on your desk to consume easily throughout your day.

  • 12. Dried fruit

  • Do you find that you are craving something sweet while pregnant? Try eating dried fruit to help with that sweet tooth. Dried fruits like cherries, cranberries and apricots are a much healthier alternative to something full of sugar.

  • 13. Beans

  • Beans are rich in nutrients. Try adding them to soups, pasta or salad to get an extra dose of iron, folate, calcium and zinc. Some good options include black beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, and kidney, garbanzo or soy beans.

  • 14. Berries

  • Berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are another way to fight off a sweet tooth; but they also are packed with vitamin C, potassium, folate and fiber. Top your pancakes with them, add them to your morning yogurt or snack on a handful of berries with nuts for a great afternoon snack.

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  • 15. Salmon

  • Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that are also good for your baby's brain and eyes. It also contains protein and B vitamins. Try it grilled or broiled on a salad. Also, you can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish, like salmon, per week.

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Mother of 2 silly boys and a new baby girl. Happily married. Love to laugh, inspire others, take pretty photos, and curl up with a good book.

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