Daphne Oz is a natural foods chef, New York Times Bestselling author, and co-host of ABC’s hit lifestyle series “The Chew.” And as a mother of 3 to be, she has advice for the soon-to-be moms out there on pregnancy diet and nutrition.
What superfoods do you most recommend for pregnant women?
Folate is one of the most vital nutrients for babies in utero, so I always make sure to have plenty of kale and spinach when I’m pregnant. I massage kale with a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt before I throw it into salads to make it even more tender and delicious. I also add a handful of fresh or frozen spinach to my morning smoothies - it changes the color but not the taste, and is an easy way to make sure you get the good stuff in first thing. I make a super creamy “Mint Chocolate Chip" smoothie with a handful of spinach, frozen bananas, fresh mint (or extract), a few chocolate chips, coconut water and a quarter of an avocado - another great nutrition boost for expectant moms with plenty of healthy fats to keep you full and help baby’s brain develop. And the mint is so soothing for any nausea. Vitamin C and D are both amazing for keeping your immune system strong throughout pregnancy and are crucial for baby’s brain, connective tissue and bone development, so I make sure to get plenty of salmon, eggs, oatmeal, beans and lentils, red bell peppers, fresh fruits like mango, and roasted sweet potatoes throughout the week. I also have at least a serving or two daily of fortified whole-fat dairy like kefir and yogurt that come with the added benefit of plenty of probiotics to keep your digestion working great!
“The mint is so soothing for any nausea.”
What are your favorite grab-and-go pregnancy snacks?
The snack I always reach for when I need something quick is a piece of sprouted or whole grain toast (I love Ezekiel 4:9 Organic brand - you can use a brown rice cake or fiber cracker, too) with a piece of Monterrey jack cheese (a little spicy! Cheddar is great if you don’t want the heat) or a spread of Nutzo nut and seed butter if I want something a little sweeter. The combination of fiber and a little fat keeps me full and baby happy. I also love carrots and radishes dipped in hummus, and full-fat cottage cheese or yogurt topped with a little honey or maple syrup or just some fresh sliced fruit. And of course pretzels and air-popped popcorn are on standby, especially when I’m battling morning sickness in the first trimester!
“I’ll often squeeze half a lemon, lime or a bit of grapefruit in for flavor and some additional vitamin C.”
What nutrition tips do you have for pregnant women?
Expecting moms need tons of liquids - preferably water - to keep hydrated. Try to get at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Herbal teas count towards this number, so load up on those hot and cold. I also have found cold sparkling water really helpful throughout my pregnancies when I tend to get hot and feel sick a lot of the time - I’ll often squeeze half a lemon, lime or a bit of grapefruit in for flavor and some additional vitamin C. I love to make morning smoothies, and then I'll freeze leftovers in little Dixie cups with popsicle sticks as mini popsicles for later in the day. The most important thing you can do is don't stress. Trust your body and your cravings - often they will be telling you something about what you need. Reach for the healthiest version of whatever it is you're craving - try an apple with almond butter before you head straight for the cookie bag if you have a hankering for something sweet - but ultimately, this is a time to enjoy and honor your body, and to get excited for all that is to come!