The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.
During pregnancy, good nutrition is as important as ever, but with the accompanying symptoms (hello fatigue and nausea!), it can be a challenge to prepare and consume nutritious meals throughout the day. Fortunately, eggs are a naturally nutrient-rich food that are convenient and easy to prepare for any meal or snack.
Why Eat Eggs During Pregnancy
Eggs provide eight essential nutrients, including those that are critical during pregnancy like high-quality protein, Vitamin B12, iodine and choline.1 Choline plays a vital role in brain health throughout our lives but it is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women.2,3 During pregnancy, choline helps the baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly and helps to prevent birth defects.4 New research shows that consuming adequate choline during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can improve measures of brain function in babies and may have lasting benefits on brain development and health.5,6,7 Unfortunately, about 90% of Americans and 92% of pregnant women fail to meet the daily Adequate Intake level for choline.8,9 The daily recommended intake for choline is 450 mg/day for pregnant women and 550 mg/day for breastfeeding women.10 Eggs are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline in the American diet, with two large eggs providing more than half of a pregnant woman’s daily needs.11 In fact, it’s quite difficult to reach the Adequate Intake levels for choline without consuming eggs or taking a supplement.
Egg Food Safety During Pregnancy
Food safety is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for expectant moms. Cooking eggs until the yolks and whites are firm and cooking egg dishes, like quiche, until the internal temperature reaches 160˚F will kill any possible Salmonella bacteria. Consider enjoying your eggs hard-boiled instead of soft boiled and over hard instead of over-easy during pregnancy. In addition to safe preparation, be sure to wash your hands after handling raw eggs. To enjoy a favorite recipe that calls for raw eggs, like homemade Caesar dressing or raw cookie dough, purchase pasteurized eggs.12
Easy Ways to Enjoy Eggs
Eggs can quickly and easily be prepared in a variety of ways for any snack or meal. Here are some recipe ideas:
- Egg Sandwich: Eggs are the perfect anchor for a sandwich. Try this Pesto and Egg Grilled Cheese for a balanced meal and feel free to add any veggies you prefer (tomato and spinach leaves are great additions).
- Microwave Scrambles: Wash one less dish by preparing scrambled eggs in the microwave. This easy Microwave Coffee Cup Scramble is ready in just minutes and pairs well with whole-grain toast and fruit. Add a whole wheat tortilla and sausage for this Microwave Egg, Sausage & Cheddar Breakfast Tortilla. With a variation on this technique, you can even make a Microwave Mexican Omelet without heating up your stove.
One of my favorite ways to make mealtimes easier is to prep in advance. Set aside some time to make one of these recipes to enjoy later:
- Make-Ahead and Freeze: Frittatas and egg muffins are perfect for making in advance and freezing in individual portions for future meals. These Veggie Frittata Fingers and Veggie and Cheddar Crustless Quiche provide a boost of protein along with colorful vegetables.
- Begin with Boiled Eggs: Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs are great to have on hand and can be refrigerated in the shell for up to one week. Use them in this Classic Egg Salad, Fresh Arugula and Couscous Salad, or on Easy Egg and Avocado Toast. To make the toast, mash half an avocado with a splash of lemon or lime juice, spread over one slice of whole-grain toast, and top with a sliced hard-boiled egg and a sprinkle of your favorite seasoning – like everything bagel seasoning or crushed red pepper flakes.
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast! Make eggs the star of any meal for a quick and easy protein source.
- Tacos: Egg tacos are a go-to when you’d prefer not to spend a long time standing over the stove. Serve Scrambled Egg Tacos with Cilantro Lime Drizzle or Breakfast Tacos with Avocado Spread and Scrambled Eggs for a crowd-pleasing Taco Tuesday dinner.
- Flatbread or Pizza: As impressive as it is easy, Pear Spinach and Egg Flatbread is ideal for a quick lunch, while Hawaiian Scrambled Egg Pizzas are a family-friendly option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
No matter how you enjoy them, eggs are a nutritious option during pregnancy and beyond. They provide essential nutrients for mom and baby and are affordable and easy to prepare. What more could one want?