Healthy Lunch Ideas for Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, it is essential to eat healthy foods because they support your growing baby's development. Eating lunch will increase your nutrient intake and give you an energy boost to get through the afternoon. You need about 300 extra calories per day when pregnant and a midday meal helps you achieve this goal. Talk with your obstetrician about the right amount of weight to gain so that you can tailor your meal plan accordingly.
Sandwich with Fruit
A sandwich is a convenient lunch meal that travels well for work or a picnic. Use whole-grain bread to increase your fiber intake. Fiber is a nutrient that will fill you up and prevent hunger between meals. Avoid cold cuts in your sandwich because they could harbor listeria, a food-borne bacteria that could result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Use leftover shredded chicken or turkey instead. A slice of low-fat cheese increases your calcium intake, which is important for your baby's bones and teeth. Pile your sandwich with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, avocado and onion to add nutrients and flavor. Serve with a cup of chopped fruit.
When you are pregnant, you need to take in more nutrients than normally. You may not think pizza is a good way to do this, but using the right ingredients allows you to enjoy a favorite while also supporting your growing baby's growth and development. Start with a whole-grain crust for fiber and carbohydrates that will give you long-lasting energy. Top your pizza with tomato sauce and sliced vegetables. This will fill you up with minimal fat and calories. Top your pizza with part-skim mozzarella cheese for calcium and protein. Sprinkle on basil or oregano for a hit of intense flavor.
Getting adequate folic acid is especially important during pregnancy because it protects your baby from neural tube defects including spina bifida. A salad is a good way to increase your intake because spinach and other leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid. Include any vegetables you enjoy in your salad to increase your vitamin and mineral intake. Include some lean protein to help build your baby's muscles, hair and skin. Good choices include:
- chicken breast
- lean beef
- low-fat cheese
- hard-boiled eggs
Limit the amount of dressing you use to keep fat and calorie intake reasonable.
If you find that your appetite is lower than you expected, put together a tray of snacks that you can grab at lunchtime. This is a good option if you miss lunch often because you are busy at work or caring for other children. Place a selection of sliced fruits and vegetables on a plate. Add low-fat cheese cubes, hummus and low-fat yogurt for dipping with a few whole-grain crackers and you have a well-rounded midday meal that is easy and quick, while giving you the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy.