This post was written by Juna Advisor & Registered Dietician and Nutritionist – Lauren Manaker, RDN and Rachelle Mallick.
Being pregnant during a global pandemic is likely not what you pictured when you imagined your journey to motherhood. While navigating life while social distancing is difficult for everyone, managing pregnancy during this time brings on some unique challenges. Not only do you have to follow whichever orders your state has implemented to prevent the spread of the virus, but you also have to make certain that you are eating the right food to support your baby’s growth and development. Not so easy when you are trying to avoid frequent grocery store runs, right?
Don’t worry, mama. We got you. If you are pre-ordering your groceries or only going to the supermarket once a week (or even less frequently), we made a list of 8 foods that have a long shelf-life, are chock-full of pregnancy-fueling nutrients, and, most importantly, are yummy!
1. Frozen shrimp
Following the recommendation to eat low mercury fish or shellfish 1-2 times a week during pregnancy can be challenging if you can’t make it to the fresh fish market on the regular. One simple solution is to invest in some frozen shrimp. Frozen shrimp is just as nutritious as fresh and will supply your little peanut with brain-boosting DHA, iodine, and selenium.
Shrimp is a great option to have on-hand because it defrosts in minutes and is super-versatile. Toss it in a pan with some frozen veggies and sauce for a quick stir-fry or sprinkle some in a broth for a protein-packed soup.
Plant-based proteins, fiber, and healthy fats are the shining stars of walnuts, and for good reason! Data suggests that eating walnuts during the first trimester of pregnancy results in better outcomes after birth in cognitive function, attention capacity and long-term working memory.
Walnuts are an excellent food to eat as a snacks, sprinkled on top of a salad, or chopped and mixed into a chicken or tuna salad.
The unpleasant side effect of constipation that occurs during pregnancy affects between 11 and 38 percent of women. Constipation is annoying and is sometimes painful. Exercise can help alleviate some constipation symptoms but getting in your regular workout can be easier said than done during these times (unless you are using an app like Juna!).
Prunes are known to help “move things along” in the bathroom department. Rich in insoluble fiber and the natural laxative sorbitol, these dried fruits are a simple addition to your grocery order that can potentially save you some grief (and strain!) in the long run.
Prunes can be enjoyed on their own, dipped in chocolate, or mixed into your breakfast oatmeal.
4. Canned chickpeas
Canned beans and chickpeas seem to be a staple when people are looking for shelf-stable foods. Chickpeas are loaded with fiber to help ward off that pesky constipation, are packed with plant-based proteins, and are bursting with pregnancy-supporting vitamins and minerals. Often sold at less than $1 a can, chickpeas are one of the best things you can eat while you are expecting, social distancing or otherwise.
To eat chickpeas, make yourself some fresh hummus, sprinkle them on salads, or make your own home-made roasted chickpea snacks by arranging the chickpeas on baking sheet and baking for 40 minutes in a 375 degree preheated oven. Simple, inexpensive, and healthy!
5. Freeze Dried Berries
Did you know that freeze dried fruit are often just as healthy as fresh? While in some cases some of the nutrients may be lost during the drying process, overall they are an excellent alternative to fresh fruit. To make freeze dried fruit, essentially water is removed in a way that the structure of the fruit is not affected (unlike traditionally dried fruit that results in a smaller and gummier fruit). Freeze dried fruit options are popping up on grocery store shelves more frequently. From berries to mangos, they are a great food to add to your cereal, trail mix, or simply eaten on their own!
Eggs are a must when it comes to choosing a high-quality protein source that lasts. Raw whole eggs will keep without quality loss for a maximum of 5 weeks beyond the pack date if stored safely in the refrigerator in their shell according to the Egg Nutrition Center. Although technically a “non-perishable”, it is a protein source that can be kept for a longer period of time than fresh meats.
Eggs are known as a superfood when it comes to pregnancy. They are one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient that approximately 90% of people are deficient in. This nutrient plays a role in baby’s brain development while mom is pregnant, so making sure you are still eating your egg yolks is of the upmost importance.
Eggs can be used instead of meat in dishes, hard-boiled and dipped in EBTB seasoning for a quick snack, or enjoyed as a classic breakfast dish.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Fresh sweet potatoes can last for a very long time if they are stored properly. Keeping them in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated spot can make them last for a while until you are ready to cook them. Sweet potatoes are an amazing source of essential vitamins like vitamin A to help support your baby’s health as well as your own! Eating the skin will load you up on some important fiber, too.
Sweet potatoes aren’t just a dinner side-dish. Enjoy a pre-baked one topped with peanut butter and granola for breakfast, sliced and baked for a lunchtime healthy fry, or pureed and added to a soup for a nutrition boost!
8. Dark Chocolate
Every expecting mama deserves a treat right now and dark chocolate is a perfect choice. Eating chocolate is one of life’s simple pleasures, and the fact that it provides vitamins and minerals like magnesium and antioxidants is simply icing on the cake. As long as you hide it well from your partner, dark chocolate has a long shelf life and should be a welcomed addition to any pregnant woman’s pantry.
Navigating pregnancy right now can be challenging with so many restrictions taking place. While hitting a group yoga class or getting a prenatal massage is out of the question right now, eating well is something you have 100% control over and can help keep your pregnancy a healthy and happy one. Sticking with this list of shelf-stable and pregnancy-friendly foods can help take one worry off of your plate right now. Hang in there, mama!
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