When you're pregnant, eating healthy is more important than ever. Your baby needs the right nutrients to grow, develop and gain weight. You need the nutrients to keep your energy levels up and boost your immune system. Eating a balanced diet also reduces complications like anemia, low birth weight and birth defects.
You probably already know that eating fruits and vegetables is important, but did you know that you need lots of protein, too? Protein plays a vital role in pregnancy because it positively affects the growth of the baby's tissues, organs and brain. You want to make sure that you get protein from the right sources, and chicken is one of them!
Let's discover the many benefits of eating chicken during pregnancy.
Chicken is an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. For instance, chicken contains niacin or vitamin B3, which stimulates brain development and keeps the brain healthy. Some reserach has also suggested that taking vitamin B3 can help prevent miscarriages and certain birth defects.
Other essential vitamins and nutrients found in chicken include vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, thiamine, iron and zinc. Some of these nutrients have antioxidant properties that promote good metabolism and energy levels. Others help with the development of new cells.
Even though pregnant women need more calories, it's not as much as you might think. In the first trimester, most women only need 1,800 calories. In the second trimester, it bumps up to 2,200, and in the third trimester, it's 2,400 calories.
Eating a couple of cookies can be enough to put you over, so choose what you eat wisely. Fortunately, chicken is low in fat and calories, and it will keep you feeling fuller longer. Eat it at dinner or add it to soups, salads and wraps at lunch.
The USDA recommends limiting your portion of chicken to between two and six-and-a-half ounces a day. Chicken breast is the best part of the chicken to eat since it's low in fat and calories, and it has the most protein. A skinless, cooked chicken breast contains 54 grams of protein, which can account for most of the protein you need in a single day!
Some people also like to eat chicken liver. While it might not sound as appealing as a chicken breast, it's still a rich source of protein that can help you manage your weight. It's also a good source of choline, which helps brain and memory function in babies, as well as folate, which can help prevent neural tube defects.
No time is more important to take care of yourself than while you're pregnant. You and your baby need essential vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. Eating dinners with grilled chicken and fresh vegetables is an excellent way to achieve optimal health during pregnancy. And if you need something healthy while you're out, La Rosa Chicken and Grill has a full menu of wholesome options!