One of the things you and your baby can't do without is protein. It helps keep your energy up, and it gives your baby the amino acids she needs to grow.
How much protein do you need to keep things running smoothly during pregnancy? Many experts recommend getting a minimum of 60 grams of protein a day. To
put the idea of "grams" into perspective, a quart of milk has about 30 grams of protein.
The Right Kind of Protein
You should pay attention not only to the amount of protein you consume but to the type of protein as well. Pregnant women need to eat what's considered
"quality" protein — that is, protein containing large amounts of all the required amino acids. Most animal protein is quality protein, while most plant
protein is not. That's why many experts recommend that pregnant women consume animal protein every day. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you'll need to
balance certain foods, such as grains and legumes, for instance, to make sure you get all the recommended amino acids.
Foods Packed With Protein
Red meat is probably the best-known source of protein, but you don't need to eat a steak at every meal to meet your quota. Plenty of other foods, like fish
and poultry, are protein-rich. So are dairy products, nuts, and beans.
Each of the following contains about 15 grams of protein:
2 large eggs
One 2- to 3-ounce serving of meat, fish, or poultry
2 ounces of hard cheese
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup cooked beans, peas, or lentils
1/2 cup cottage or ricotta cheese
2/3 cup almonds
Eating a balanced diet, including the right amount of quality protein, is one of the best ways to keep your growing baby healthy and to feel your best,