How can I get enough protein when I’m pregnant and breastfeeding?

Plated Salmon Dinner with potatoes and salad

You probably know you need to eat protein, but what is it?

When you eat food that contains protein, the digestive juices in your stomach and intestine go to work.  They break down the protein in food into basic units, called amino acids.  The amino acids can then be reused to make the proteins your body needs to maintain muscles, bones, blood, and body organs.  So when you’re pregnant, it’s important to eat enough high protein foods; protein will help your baby grow, help you gain enough weight and feel good!

Many foods contain protein but the best sources are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.

During the first half of your pregnancy your protein needs are the same as when you were not pregnant.  As your baby grows, and as your body changes in the second half of the pregnancy, you’ll need more protein.  This need is even higher for women who are carrying twins.

After your 13th week of pregnancy and all throughout your breastfeeding period, you need to eat two or three extra Canada’s Food Guide servings each day.  You can start by adding one or two high protein and energy snacks to your diet every day.

Mix and match your choices in your everyday meals and snacks for variety!

High protein foods to try:

  1. Meats: such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, fish
  2. Eggs
  3. Milk Products such as milk, buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy beverage, kefir and paneer
  4. Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and soy
  5. Nuts or Nut Butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, etc…
  6. Grain Products whole wheat flours, oat bran and wheat germ
  7. Edamame and lima beans

Please comment below and let us know how you enjoy your high protein meals and snacks!

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