Nutritional Shakes for Pregnant Women

A growing baby places increased nutritional demands on the mother, and consuming quality nutrition is vital. Though nutritional shakes can supply many essential nutrients during pregnancy, shakes should be a complement to a balanced meal plan during pregnancy, not a replacement for a healthy diet.

Smoothies (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Key Pregnancy Nutrients

During the second and third trimesters, an extra 300 calories per day are needed to support maternal and baby growth. During pregnancy, certain nutrients are required in greater quantities to support fetal growth, including calcium, vitamin D, fiber, folic acid and protein.

Protein Shakes

You need extra protein needs during pregnancy to support muscle and tissue growth. According to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, pregnant women should consume 1.1 grams per kilogram of body weight of protein per day. Ready-to-drink protein shakes are convenient, but some are designed to be meal replacements and may contain more calories and sugar than desired. When making a shake at home, try using protein powders, yogurt, milk or almond milk as protein sources.

Fruit and Vegetable Shakes

Shakes and smoothies are convenient means to enjoy many fruits and vegetables in a small serving. Fruits and vegetables offer an array of vitamins and minerals that are a part of healthy pregnancy. In particular, leafy greens are good sources of folate, a key nutrient that helps prevent neural tube defects. Making shakes with fruits and vegetables can also help you reach your dietary fiber intake goals during pregnancy.

Staple Ingredients for Shakes

A nutritional shake is only as good as the ingredients that you put in it. In addition to fruits and vegetables, there are a few staple pantry ingredients that can add a nutritional boost to your shake. Fresh ginger can help to reduce nausea symptoms. Healthy fat sources, such as nut butters, flaxseed and chia seeds can be incorporated into shakes. Flaxseeds are a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that help with brain development. Chia seeds are a good source of fiber and contain calcium and iron.

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