Q: Are there any fast foods that are safe and healthy to consume during pregnancy?
A: There are several nutritious and healthy fast foods that are safe to consume during pregnancy. Here are some of the best healthy fast food options for pregnancy:
- Single-serve fruit bowls: Handy little 4-ounce fruit cups that count as a serving of the daily recommendation for fruits and vegetables. Choose varieties packed in their own juice rather than in sugary syrup.
- Soy milk: Available in 8-ounce servings of plain, chocolate, and vanilla flavor. Stash one in your purse or briefcase (they don't need to be refrigerated). One bottle can supply one-third of your daily calcium and vitamin D needs during pregnancy.
- Raisins: A 1-ounce box provides 2 grams of fiber, 4 percent of the daily recommended amount of iron, and even 1 gram of protein.
- Yogurt: The classic nutritious-and-convenient food can provide you with 25 percent of your daily calcium requirement, protein, fiber, and several other necessary vitamins and minerals.
- Easy-to-make trail mix: Mix a handful of shredded wheat-type cereal with a handful of dried cherries and almonds. Keep a zip-lock bag full in your desk or car for a handy, crunchy snack.
- Salad bar: Some fast-food restaurants and many grocery stores have salad bars where you can serve yourself practically the whole day's worth of fruits and vegetables. Load up on spinach, carrots, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, raisins, and nuts. Add chickpeas and kidney beans for a protein boost.
- Baby carrots: Carrots are full of vitamin A and fiber and you can find them in single-serving bags. Dip them in nonfat yogurt mixed with a little bit of ranch dressing for an extra dose of nutrition. Look for other prewashed and prepacked veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach, and stir-fry them together for dinner.
- String cheese: If you don't know about string cheese now, just wait until your baby is a toddler — this food will become a snack staple. Low-fat mozzarella sticks are chock-full of calcium and have some protein.
- Boxed, calcium-fortified orange juice: A 4-ounce serving provides half the daily requirement of vitamin C and about 15 percent of your calcium needs. This item is now available in many grocery stores.
- Single-serve boxes of cereal or packages of instant oatmeal: Stash a few in your desk at work for a snack, but not the sugar-coated. Almost all breakfast cereal is now fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Single-serve cottage cheese bowls: Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and calcium. These are available in the dairy section of most grocery stores