Surely, most people have heard that you shouldn’t eat after 6 p.m. But does this recommendation apply to the expecting mother, and what dinner is the best for a pregnant woman?
A pregnant woman should be responsible about choosing food for dinner. Since, on the one hand, the body is restored at night and you should provide it with everything necessary for the synthesis of biologically active substances, and on the other hand, it is resting and it’s important not to overload the digestion. Let’s consider the most appropriate food products for dinner.
1. Products for dinner during pregnancy: white turkey meat
Give preference to white meat of turkey, which has an incredible content of protein trace elements and vitamins, and at the same time is quickly digested. Due to the low content of fat and cholesterol in white poultry meat (provided that the breast is cooked without the skin that has fatty tissue underneath), this meat is classified as dietary. Turkey contains a large amount of tryptophan – a substance that is a natural sleeping aid and helps to normalize sleep, relieves stress and nervous tension before bedtime.Recommendations:
- Choose a turkey with a fleshy breast and a slightly protruded crest of the sternum. The skin should be clean, solid, white with small streaks of capillaries (the older the turkey, the more yellow the skin color).
- When pressing a finger against the flesh, the hole from the finger should level off quickly (within 3 seconds) – this is an indicator of the freshness of the meat.
- Chilled turkey breast is the most wholesome, with a higher nutritional value compared to frozen. And if you choose a frozen bird, check it by tapping: it should make a distinct sound, which indicates the absence of softening due to defrosting. In addition, make sure that there are no white spots on the skin of frozen birds (“freeze burns”), which indicate freezing and drying of the product with the destruction of proteins.
2. Low-fat fish for light dinner
Fish is also quite suitable for dinner. It is easily digested and absorbed compared to red meat (fish is digested within 30–90 minutes, but beef and pork take up to 5 hours). Moreover, sea fish (if a pregnant woman is not allergic to it) is not just a light product, but also a mother lode of vitamins and substances important for the unborn child (iodine, fluorine, zinc, copper).Recommendations:
- Choose a lean fish for a dinner: pollock, flounder, cod, pike, perch, which is best steamed or boiled (in large pieces, without defrosting).
- Fresh or chilled fish is preferable; the gills of fresh fish should be pink (in any case not black). The scales on the fish should be intact, preferably tight against the body (its absence indicates a long and painful way of the fish to your table).
- It is better to buy frozen fish as a whole carcass (gutted, headless), but not in the form of fillet or minced meat. The fact is that fish fillets are soaked in solutions of phosphate mixtures before freezing to increase the weight of finished products and stabilize the color and consistency.
3. Diet of a pregnant woman: eggs for dinner
The egg white contains proteins that are easily absorbed by the human body and all the essential amino acids in a balanced ratio. Up to 98% of protein is digested (by the way, according to the amino acid balance, egg protein is considered the protein standard). Eggs are rich in minerals: sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, chlorine, sulfur, magnesium, iodine, zinc, bromine and manganese. Due to the optimal ratio of iron, manganese, copper, and cobalt, egg dishes are recommended to prevent anemia in a pregnant woman. The yolk has a high concentration of vitamins: A, D, B1, B2, B3 and PP. The egg also contains such fat-like substances as lecithin and cholesterol. Considering that the amount of lecithin (anti-sclerotic factor) is 6 times greater than the amount of harmful cholesterol, the risk of atherosclerosis when eating eggs is quite low. By the way, the yellow color of the yolk is due to the pigments of carotenoids (precursors of vitamin A) – the more of them in the egg, the brighter the yolk (such as in eggs from domestic chickens).
- The soft-boiled eggs are the best for dietary nutrition of a pregnant woman (boiled for about 3 minutes). It is easier to digest than hard-boiled eggs.
- If you like eggs very much, go for a harmless trick: make an omelette or scrambled eggs from one full egg and two whites (the remaining yolks can be frozen and used for baking). Thus you protect the body from excess cholesterol (it is contained in the yolks) and ensure the supply of a sufficient amount of essential amino acids that are concentrated in egg white.
- It is not recommended to eat raw eggs, not only because of the risk of salmonellosis, but also because the raw egg protein contains an antitripase substance that disrupts protein digestion in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as antivitamin avidin, which binds the vitamin-like substance biotin. Therefore, regular use of raw eggs can lead to dermatosis (dry skin inflammation), depression, muscle pain, loss of appetite, and drowsiness in the pregnant women.
4. The perfect dinner product: squid
Another great meal option for pregnant women for dinner is squid. This seafood saturates the body with iodine, B vitamins, copper, selenium and zinc (it is recommended to consume up to 300 g per week, alternating with fish). It also contains a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3. In this regard, they improve brain function, strengthen the walls of blood vessels and reduce the level of harmful cholesterol.
- It is best to buy unskinned squid, as the skinned one has been defrosted and re-frozen at least once. This affects the taste of the product – the meat falls apart and becomes rubber-like, and its nutritional properties decrease.
- Buy squid of the first freeze. If the squid has been thawed and frozen several times, then there will be snow taints on it, the carcasses will be glued together, and there will be gaps on the skin.
5. If you are pregnant, dont forget about beets
Beets are rich in salts of magnesium, cobalt, manganese, calcium, iodine and iron, vitamins B1, B2, C, P, PP, U, carotene, pantothenic, folic, citric and malic acids. Beets also contain the biologically active element betaine, which is involved in the process of protein digestion and assimilation and in the formation of choline, which has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the liver (which is important for its recovery during sleep). In addition, the beet improves blood formation, helps to lower blood pressure, has a diuretic effect, stimulates the secretion of gastric juice and activates the metabolism.
- Don’t neglect the first leaves of the beet tops, which are no less useful than roots, and even exceed the beet roots in the content of vitamin C and carotene.
- Beets must be included in the menu of a pregnant woman suffering from chronic constipation, anemia, and liver disease.
- For slow digestion, it is recommended to eat 150 g of boiled beets, grated with a tablespoon of unrefined vegetable oil, on an empty stomach.
6. Dinner products: seaweed
If you add seaweed to the dinner, then the necessary nutrients will enter the body of the pregnant woman: alginates, high-grade protein, high-molecular polysaccharides, vitamins (A, C, D, E and group B), polyunsaturated fatty acids, macronutrients and trace elements.
Alginates are active natural enterosorbents, which are able to bind and excrete heavy metal ions, radionuclides, various toxins, bacteria, excess cholesterol, which may have accumulated in the body during the day.
Laminaria polysaccharides activate immune reactions, prevent the formation of blood clots, normalize metabolic processes, regulate the water-salt balance, as well as the level of cholesterol in the blood. Plant fibers containing in seaweed contribute to the normal functioning of the digestive tract.
Eating seaweed regularly will help the expecting mother to improve digestion and metabolic processes in the body, to get rid of toxins and radionuclides, to regulate blood clotting, to reduce blood cholesterol levels, to normalize vitamin-mineral status, to boosts immunity, to normalize the functioning of thyroid gland, central nervous and cardiovascular systems.
- Dried seaweed, which is sold in health food departments, is more useful than pickled seaweed. A teaspoon of dry seaweed almost completely covers the daily need for iodine and many minerals. It can be ground in a coffee grinder and used instead of salt (preferably at the end of cooking, since iodine is volatile and evaporates easily during prolonged cooking).
7. Dinner products: carrots
Carrots contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, PP, K, E, salts of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, iodine, magnesium, etc. The roots are especially rich in the precursor of vitamin A (beta-carotene). In this regard, the raw carrot is useful for visual impairment, increased fragility of nails and hair. In addition, carrot beta carotene increases the body’s defenses and protects it from infectious diseases. To provide a pregnant woman with beta carotene, it’s enough to eat one medium-sized carrot for dinner.
- When choosing carrots, go for reddish orange roots, rather than light yellow (the brighter the color, the higher the concentration of beta-carotene).
- Dress a carrot salad with sour cream or vegetable oil, since in the fatty medium carotene is easier to transform into the active form of vitamin A.
8. Pumpkin for dinner
The benefits of pumpkin is due to the fact that this vegetable is 90% water and also rich in potassium, therefore, like watermelon, it has a diuretic effect and helps prevent swelling during pregnancy.
Pumpkin is a light evening product and doesn’t load the future mother’s body with calories (100 g have only 22 kcal). In addition, the composition of the pumpkin includes salts of magnesium, calcium, iodine, zinc, iron, and vitamins beta-carotene, PP, group B, vitamin E, etc., which allows you to get the necessary balanced set of essential nutrients. The pumpkin fiber helps to get rid of constipation and improve the work of the digestive tract.
- For dinner, cook dishes not only from raw, but also from stewed pumpkin: useful properties are preserved even after its preparation. Therefore, in addition to raw pumpkin salad, the expectant mother should include pumpkin porridge, casserole and pancakes in the diet.
- When eating pumpkin, don’t throw away the seeds, because they contain the maximum zinc content that is necessary for the synthesis of a DNA molecule that carries genetic information.
- It’s better not to roast pumpkin seeds (otherwise oxidation of beneficial fatty acids occurs) and, when you eat them, keep thin parchment shells (this helps in the prevention of helminthic invasions, thanks to the cucurbitine in them).
9. Buckwheat porridge for dinner
Buckwheat is one of the main sources of B vitamins contained in the outer shell. Due to the significant content of iron and B vitamins, buckwheat porridge for dinner will help normalize blood formation and support the activity of the nervous, endocrine, excretory systems of the pregnant woman and the fetus. Also, buckwheat porridge is rich in minerals (potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron), fiber and amino acids.
- When cooking porridge, you can use the following technique of gentle cooking. Cover whole grits with water for a couple of hours. Then add some water, if necessary, bring buckwheat to a boil and wrap a saucepan with something warm for 20–30 minutes.
10. Diet of a pregnant woman: zucchini for dinner
The zucchini pulp contains protein, carbohydrates, carotene, vitamins C, B, pectins, mineral salts of calcium, magnesium and iron. Zucchini is considered a dietary vegetable due to the small content of coarse fiber and low calorie content (100 g is only 25 kcal). In this regard, it is recommended for exacerbations of diseases of the digestive tract and for the women with a tendency to overweight. The content of potassium in zucchini surpass white cabbage and therefore have a diuretic effect and help the body get rid of excess salt and fluid, preventing swelling in a pregnant woman. Due to the content of pectins, this vegetable helps to eliminate harmful cholesterol.
In addition, zucchini is rich in lutein, which, acting as an antioxidant, prevents the formation of blood clots, strengthens the immune system and neutralizes the action of free radicals, which are the cause of many serious diseases. This substance also improves vision.
- When picking zucchini, give preference to young ones. Between light, dark green and orange vegetables, we recommend to choose the latter, because, according to research data, they have 3 times more lutein than white and light green varieties.
Dinner choice criteria
Dinner foods must contain all essential nutrients (amino acids, vitamins, minerals, pectins, fiber, etc.) for the synthesis of substances necessary for the body of the mother and child, cell repair and normalization of sleep.
They shouldn’t have a lot of fat and simple carbohydrates: all these substances are not digested in full in the evening and quickly deposited in reserve.
It must be easily digestible foods, otherwise the body will not be able to fully relax.
Optimal dinner time
The question about the optimal dinner time for pregnant women arises often, and whether they should have dinner after 6 p.m. This question is solved simply: the last meal of the day should be 2–2.5 hours before bedtime, so feel free to have dinner after six in the evening if you plan to go to bed at 10 or 11 p.m. The main thing is to keep the time interval before bedtime. This is necessary so that the digestive system digests all the food as much as possible, and the body has time to get all the necessary nutrients to support the functioning of the organs and systems of the mother and child during sleep.