Nutrition is always an important consideration for women, but there's no time more critical to consider what you eat than when you are pregnant. You want to support your changing body and satisfy your cravings, but you also want to eat to help your growing baby thrive.
"Nutrients serve double duty during pregnancy because they support both mom and baby," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, registered dietitian nutritionist. "It's no secret pregnant women need additional nutrition, but we continue to learn more and more about nutrients that are important during this time. We already know things like Omega-3s and folic acid are significant for fetal development, but one nutrient we’re now realizing is vital is choline. Choline is essential for a child's early brain development during pregnancy and even supports early brain health during infancy."
A recent Cornell University study found that choline intake was particularly beneficial in the third trimester. Researchers found infants exposed to higher levels of maternal choline during this period had improved brain information processing speed.
However, most people don't get enough choline in their diets. Prenatal supplements often have little or no choline, so it's an imperative nutrition consideration when choosing foods to eat while pregnant.
"The problem is choline is not found in high quantities in most American foods," Blatner says. "Fortunately, there is one readily available option packed with choline: eggs. This is good news for moms-to-be seeking optimum nutrition during pregnancy and moms of infants transitioning to table foods as eggs can be a wonderful soft food for babies. Bonus: eggs also include significant levels of lutein, another powerful brain-building nutrient."
Blatner cautions that when buying eggs, not all options are created equal. "Eggland’s Best eggs have 25 percent less saturated fat, more than double the Omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E, and more than double the amount of vitamin B12," says Blatner. "EB’s superior nutrition is due to its proprietary all-vegetarian hen feed that contains healthy grains, canola oil and a wholesome supplement of rice bran, alfalfa, sea kelp and vitamin E."
If you're pregnant or a mom of a young child, eating eggs regularly can help provide your family the essential nutrition to build brain health. More than just hard boiled, there are so many ways to prepare this versatile food. Get inspired by this Choline Breakfast Skillet, a delicious and healthy recipe guaranteed to please the entire family.
6 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
2 tablespoons milk
2-3 tablespoons butter
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups chopped cauliflower florets
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup low-fat shredded cheese
Whisk eggs in a small bowl. Add milk and set aside.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in large skillet. Add ground beef, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for about 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat, or until cooked through. Move cooked ground beef to a plate.
Add remaining tbsp butter to skillet if needed. Add onion, pepper, cauliflower and spices. Cook for 5 minutes, or until veggies are cooked through.
Pour egg mixture over veggies and cook on medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, until eggs are cooked through and scrambled.
Add ground beef back into skillet and top with cheese.
Optional toppings/add-ins: greens, mushrooms, avocado, oregano, parsley, cilantro, sour cream, Greek yogurt