It's not a myth that eating multiple daily servings of fruits and vegetables is good for you. Fruits and vegetables provide necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, sugars, and carbohydrates -- all of which do things like provide energy, promote healthy digestion, boost immunity, fight disease, and maintain or improve bodily and brain functioning.
When you're pregnant, eating fruits and vegetables do all of the things listed above, plus provide the nutrients critical for your baby's growth, development, and prevention of birth defects. For some of us, eating regular portions of fruit and vegetables daily during pregnancy is simply a continuation of our pre-pregnancy diet. For others, it may mean upping the amount or regularity by a bit more than usual. For another group of us, it means a near complete overhaul of our eating.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that only 9% of Americans get the recommended amount of daily vegetables and only 12% eat the recommended daily amount of fruit. Considering that there are about 6.3 million pregnant people at any given time, we have some work to do for healthier eating!
Eating your daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables probably isn't as scary and overwhelming as you may think. That's why we're writing this post! We want to give you quick, easy, go-to ideas for getting in your daily amounts. First, let's take a look at the fruit and vegetable intake recommendation for pregnancy. During pregnancy, experts recommend you eat 2 cups of fruit and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables every day. But how can you get them into your daily eating? Let's take a look:
Daily Fruit Serving Ideas During Pregnancy (2 cups)
Smoothie for breakfast - Eating a fruit smoothie will take care of half or all of your fruit intake for the day. Throw in a cup of spinach to sneak in some veggies, too!
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of grapes
- 1 cup of applesauce
- 8 large strawberries (equal to 1 cup)
- 1 cup (8oz) 100% fruit juice - Eating full fruit provides more fiber, but fruit juice still provides some benefits
- 1 cup cut up cantaloupe, watermelon, or pineapple
Daily Vegetable Serving Ideas During Pregnancy (2.5-3 cups)
- 12 baby carrots (1 cup) - pair with your favorite dipping side, like hummus or ranch
- 1 cup raw, cut veggies like peppers, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, or broccoli
- 10 cherry tomatoes (1/2 cup)
- Salad - 2 cups of leafy greens = 1 cup of vegetable servings
- Steamed veggies with your favorite sauce (frozen vegetable are equally nutritious!)
- Tomato sauce paired with your favorite pasta
- Veggie-loaded pizza
- Veggie puree soup
- Green smoothie
- Vegetable spaghetti - Use zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, or carrots to make "noodles"; pair with your favorite tomato sauce for additional veggies
Eating more fruits and vegetables does require that you eat more intentionally, but it can be done, and it can be done relatively easily with just a few changes and forethought. Your body and your baby will thank you!