Foods which are high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals are a must for a healthy pregnancy. Some of the best food for a pregnant woman include fortified ready-to-eat cereals, green and red peppers, low-fat milk, yoghurt and orange juice.
Choosing healthy foods for pregnancy will help to keep both you and your baby in peak condition. Below is a list of the best food for a pregnant woman. Each of these foods contains vital nutrients including fibre, iron, calcium, and folate.
Your weight gain during pregnancy doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Our guide provides the top 20 foods that provide your baby with all the nutrients they need to grow while you too get all the nourishment you need.
What Should I Eat For Dinner When Pregnant?
Lean proteins. Tofu, fish that’s low in mercury and lean meats like pork, chicken and turkey are all healthy options, even if they’re just layered on some seven-grain toast at the end of a long day.
Pregnant? Hangry? Looking for a snack that will make your tummy and your baby happy? You’re probably hearing it a lot: Eating nutritious foods while pregnant is essential.
We’re here to make your pantry into a one-stop shop of healthy and delicious foods that will give your baby the best start to life.
Here are 13 super nutritious foods to eat when you’re pregnant to help make sure you’re hitting those nutrient goals.
These foods are high in nutrients you need during pregnancy. Keep them on hand so you can eat them for snacks as well as meals.
(The foods are listed alphabetically.)
|Baked potato and sweet potato||Vitamin C (sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C)||Eat the skin and top with yogurt instead of sour cream and butter.|
|Bran cereals||Fiber||Bran is one of the best sources of fiber.|
|Bran muffin||Fiber, B vitamins and folic acid||Bran is a better choice than a blueberry or other fruit muffin.|
|Broccoli||Vitamins A, C, and folic acid||Dip raw broccoli in a yogurt based dip as a snack.|
|Cantaloupe||Vitamins A and C||Cut half a small melon into cubes and eat it as a snack.|
|Chicken and turkey||Low-fat protein and iron||Remove the skin. Dark meat has more iron than light meat.|
|Fish||Low-fat protein||Have it broiled rather than fried. Learn how to choose fish wisely in food safety.|
|Fortified cooked cereals||Iron||Fortified cooked cereals have more iron than oatmeal.|
|Fortified ready-to-eat cereals||Fiber, iron, calcium and folate||Look for a whole grain cereal. Some can be eaten dry as a snack.|
|Green and red peppers||Vitamins A, C, and folic acid||Add to pizza or eat raw as a snack.|
|Low-fat milk and yogurt||Calcium and protein||Make your own smoothie by blending fruit, milk and yogurt.|
|Orange juice||Vitamin C||Just six ounces gives you a day’s requirement of Vitamin C.|
|Pizza||Calcium, protein and vitamins||Add a lot of veggies, skip the pepperoni and sausage, and get a whole-wheat crust.|
|Popcorn||Fiber||Go easy on the butter and salt.|
|Spinach and romaine lettuce||Vitamins A, C, and folic acid||These have more vitamins and minerals than iceberg lettuce.|
|Tomatoes||Vitamins A and C||Eat raw or as tomato sauce on pizza or pasta.|
|Tomato-vegetable juice||Vitamins A and C||The juice is high in sodium, so limit this to one serving a day.|
|Whole wheat bread||Fiber, B vitamins, and folic acid||Any whole-grain bread with at least two grams of fiber is a good choice.|
13 Healthy Foods For Pregnancy
Here are 13 super nutritious foods to eat when you’re pregnant to help make sure you’re hitting those nutrient goals.
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During pregnancy, you need to consume extra protein and calcium to meet the needs of your growing little one. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt should be on the docket.
Dairy products contain two types of high-quality protein: casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium, and provides high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, contains more calcium than most other dairy products and is especially beneficial. Some varieties also contain probiotic bacteria, which support digestive health.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may also be able to tolerate yogurtTrusted Source, especially probiotic yogurt. Check with your doctor to see if you can test it out. A whole world of yogurt smoothies, parfaits, and lassi could be waiting.
This group of food includes lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts (aka all kinds of fabulous recipe ingredients!).
Legumes are great plant-based sources of fiber, protein, iron, folate, and calcium — all of which your body needs more of during pregnancy.
Folate is one of the most essential B vitamins (B9). It’s very important for you and baby, especially during the first trimester, and even before.
You’ll need at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folateTrusted Source every day, which can be a challenge to achieve with foods alone. But adding in legumes can help get you there along with supplementation based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Legumes are generally very high in fiber, too. Some varieties are also high in iron, magnesium, and potassium. Consider adding legumes to your diet with meals like hummus on whole grain toast, black beans in a taco salad, or a lentil curry.
Sweet potatoes are not only delicious cooked about a thousand ways, they’re also rich in beta carotene, a plant compound that is converted into vitamin A in your body.
Vitamin A is essential for baby’s development. Just watch out for excessive amounts of animal-based sources of vitamin A, such as organ meats, which can cause toxicityTrusted Source in high amounts.
Thankfully, sweet potatoes are an ample plant-based source of beta carotene and fiber. Fiber keeps you full longer, reduces blood sugar spikes, and improves digestive health (which can really help if that pregnancy constipation hits).
For a fab brekky, try sweet potatoes as a base for your morning avocado toast.
These are found in high amounts in seafood, and help build the brain and eyes of your baby and can even help increase gestational length.
But wait: Have you been told to limit your seafood intake due to the mercury and other contaminants found in high mercury fish? You can still eat fatty fish like salmon.
Here are the high mercury fish to avoidTrusted Source:
- king mackerel
- bigeye tuna
- tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
Plus, salmon is one of the very few natural sources of vitamin D, which is lacking for most of us. It’s important for bone health and immune function.
Those incredible, edible eggs are the ultimate health food, as they contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need. A large egg contains about 80 calories, high-quality protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals.
Eggs are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient during pregnancy. It’s important in baby’s brain development and helps prevent developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine.
A single whole egg contains roughly 147 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source of choline, which will get you closer to the current recommended choline intake of 450 mg per dayTrusted Source while pregnant (though more studies are being done to determine if that is enough).
No surprise here: Broccoli and dark, green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, pack in so many of the nutrients you’ll need. Even if you don’t love eating them, they can often be squirreled into all kinds of dishes.
Benefits include fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. They’re a bonanza of green goodness.
Adding in servings of green veggies is an efficient way to pack in vitamins and fend off constipation due to all that fiber. Vegetables have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth weightTrusted Source.
Lean beef, pork, and chicken are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Beef and pork are also rich in iron, choline, and other B vitamins — all of which you’ll need in higher amounts during pregnancy.
Iron is an essential mineral that is used by red blood cells as a part of hemoglobin. You’ll need more iron since your blood volume is increasing. This is particularly important during your third trimester.
It can be hard to cover your iron needs with meals alone, especially if you develop an aversion to meat or are vegetarian or vegan. However, for those who can, eating lean red meat regularly may help increase the amount of iron you’re getting from food.
Berries hold a lot of goodness in their tiny packages like water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
Berries have a relatively low glycemic index value, so they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar.
Berries are also a great snack, as they contain both water and fiber. They provide a lot of flavor and nutrition, but with relatively few calories.
Unlike their refined counterparts, whole grains are packed with fiber, vitamins, and plant compounds. Think oats, quinoa, brown rice, wheat berries, and barley instead of white bread, pasta, and white rice.
There are so many ways to adds whole grains to any meal, but we’re especially liking this quinoa and roasted sweet potato bowl.
They’re also high in fiber, B vitamins (especially folate), vitamin K, potassium, copper, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Because of their high content of healthy fats, folate, and potassium, avocados are a great choice during pregnancy (and always).
The healthy fats help build the skin, brain, and tissues of your little one, and folate may help prevent neural tube defects, developmental abnormalities of the brain and spine such as spina bifida.
Try them as guacamole, in salads, in smoothies, and on whole wheat toast, but also as a substitute for mayo or sour cream.
Dried fruit is generally high in calories, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. One piece of dried fruit contains the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit, just without all the water and in a much smaller form.
One serving of dried fruit can provide a large percentage of the recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, and potassium.
However, dried fruit also contains high amounts of natural sugar. Make sure to avoid the candied varieties, which contain even more sugar.
Although dried fruit may help increase calorie and nutrient intake, it’s generally not recommended to consume more than one serving at a time.
Try adding a small portion to a trail mix with nuts and seeds for an on-the-go protein- and fiber-filled snack.
Fish liver oil is made from the oily liver of fish, most often cod. It’s rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are essential for fetal brain and eye development.
Supplementing with fish oil may help protect against preterm delivery and may benefit fetal eye development.
Fish liver oil is also very high in vitamin D, of which many people don’t get enough. It may be highly beneficial for those who don’t regularly eat seafood or supplement with omega-3 or vitamin D.
A single serving (1 tablespoon or 15 milliliters) of fish liver oil provides more than the recommended daily intake of omega-3, vitamin D, and vitamin A.
However, it’s not recommended to consume more than one serving per day, as too much preformed vitamin A can be dangerous for your baby. High levels of omega-3 may also have blood-thinning effects.
Low mercury fish like salmon, sardines, canned light tuna, or pollock can also help get you to your omega-3 goals.
Say it with me: We all have to stay hydrated. And pregnant folks especially. During pregnancy, blood volume increases by about 45 percentTrusted Source.
Your body will channel hydration to your baby, but if you don’t watch your water intake, you may become dehydrated yourself.
Symptoms of mild dehydration include headaches, anxiety, tiredness, bad mood, and reduced memory.
Increasing your water intake may also help relieve constipation and reduce your risk of urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy.
General guidelines recommend that pregnant women drink about 80 ounces (2.3 liters) of water daily. But the amount you really need varies. Check with your doctor for a recommendation based on your specific needs.
Keep in mind that you also get water from other foods and beverages, such as fruit, vegetables, coffee, and tea.
Pro tip: Try keeping a reusable water bottle on hand so that you can quench your thirst throughout the day.
Healthy Meals For Pregnancy Second Trimester
What to eat during the second trimester
- lean meat.
- cooked seafood.
- leafy green vegetables.
- beans and lentils.
- whole grains, including bread and oatmeal.
- fortified breakfast cereals.