Like any healthy diet, your prenatal diet works best when it consists of nutrient-dense foods that give you a good balance of macros (protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates) and plentiful sources of essential vitamins and minerals. But you should feel free to eat food you enjoy and that makes you feel good.
We’ve got loads of stage-specific guidance on what nutrients matter most when you’re expecting on the Baby2Body app, but here are 9 great dietary staples to get you started:
9 Dietary Staples during Pregnancy
Not only are eggs a high-quality, easy source of protein, they also provide choline, which is essential for baby’s development and cognitive function. Just make sure they’re fully-cooked–sunny side up and soft boiled are off-limits for now.
Spinach, broccoli, kale, collard greens…any leafy or cruciferous green will do the trick! You’ve probably been hearing all about how important folate is right now–consuming enough helps prevent spine and brain defects–and greens are one of the best sources out there. It also boasts a laundry list of other nutrients like iron and vitamin A: just remember, the darker green, the better.
Okay, so technically this is a food group, but we really couldn’t pick just one. Choose from your favorites: beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, and peanuts. They’re a stellar source of plant-based protein that also includes a healthy amount of fiber (which can aid in those all-too-common digestive troubles that can happen during pregnancy).
4. Dark Chocolate
We couldn’t skip the chance to include something fun, but trust us, dark chocolate totally earns its spot on this list. A 1-ounce serving contains almost 20% of your daily dose of iron–during pregnancy, your blood volume increases, so consuming adequate iron is even more important than usual. On top of providing antioxidants and probiotics, it also helps satisfy your sweet craving without loads of sugar (because sometimes, those pregnancy cravings just can’t be ignored).
Did you know that quinoa is the only plant-based complete protein? That means it contains all 9 essential amino acids, so if you’re a mostly plant-based eater, you should definitely add quinoa to your grocery list. It’s also high in magnesium, iron, fiber, and calcium!
A bit of a wild card, but stick with us here! Seaweed is a great source of iodine, which is essential for baby’s brain development. You can eat it in moderation in (veggie) sushi, sprinkled on top of your salads, or dried as delicious, crunchy seaweed snacks.
Avocados are a great source of polyunsaturated fats, but they provide plenty of other pregnancy-friendly nutrients like choline, potassium, and iron. And honestly, we don’t need any convincing to eat more avocado–it completely transforms any salad, sandwich, or chili!
Oranges are high in vitamin C, which helps your body absorb that ever-important iron (so try pairing these with legumes in salads and greens in smoothies!). They’re also a great source of folate: one orange has about 10% of your daily goal.
Fish is your friend during pregnancy, as long as it’s fully cooked, and salmon is one of your best options if you tuck in no more than 2x a week. It’s a good source of omega-3s, which are important for baby’s development, as well as choline, vitamin D, and B12.
Want more recipes and nutrition tips for your stage? Check out the Kitchen in the free Baby2Body iOS app!