As discussed in previous posts, eggs are a great food for pregnant women to include in the diet for many reasons—choline, iron, protein, etc.—and today we’re going to focus on one of them: folate. This B vitamin is vital for red blood cell formation and proper cell division, processes that are inherently important during fetal development. Getting adequate levels of folate in the early stages of pregnancy can help to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. For this reason, it is important that women of childbearing age consume adequate levels of folate each day (AI=400 mcg), and during pregnancy, folate needs actually increase to 600 mcg/day.
In addition to eggs, other natural sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, fruits and fruit juices, beans, peas and nuts, dairy products, meats and seafood. Many cereal and flour products in the US are also fortified with folate to boost intake. One large egg contains 24mcg folate, or 6% of the Daily Value, in addition to providing other important nutrients for women who are pregnant or could become pregnant. By pairing some of these foods in an easy breakfast recipe that can be made ahead of time, anyone can start their day with a folate-rich meal. The recipe below is a great example and is an excellent source of both folate and choline!
What recipes do you use or recommend that combine folate-rich ingredients?
- 2 cups torn fresh spinach (about 4 oz.)
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat bread cubes (1-inch) (about 2 slices)
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 4 EGGS
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 oz.)
Step 1 – HEAT oven to 350°F. PLACE 1/2 cup spinach in each of four greased 10-ounce custard cups. TOP with bread, dividing evenly. TOSS tomato with Italian seasoning; spoon evenly over bread.
Step 2 – BEAT eggs and milk in medium bowl until blended. SLOWLY POUR scant 1/2 cup egg mixture over tomato in each cup. SPRINKLE with cheese.
Step 3 – PLACE cups in baking pan. BAKE in center of 350°F oven until custards are puffed and begin to pull away from sides of cups and knife inserted near centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Calories: 170, Total Fat: 8g, Saturated fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 195mg, Sodium: 227mg, Carbohydrates: 12g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 13g, Vitamin A: 3343.5IU, Vitamin D: 72IU, Folate: 93.9mcg, Calcium: 199mg, Iron: 2.1mg, Choline: 147.8mg