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Foods to increase while you are pregnant


You are so excited to know that you are pregnant, but now you are looking for the best foods to support your unborn baby. At Mamas Maternal Health, we are all about the addition of nutritious foods as opposed to erasing foods under most circumstances.


We believe that the addition of foods within the maternal diet brings not only happiness, but sustainability within prenatal nutrition habits. So, let's jump right in!


While we do want to avoid certain foods during pregnancy, i.e. high mercury fish, raw eggs/meat/fish, deli meats, soft cheeses, caffeine, and alcohol-- all other foods have a place. We will preach this over and over until we are blue in the face!


We’re going to talk about some important nutrients you need during pregnancy and how we can EAT them, and not simply ingest them through a supplement.



Vitamin D: You need 600 IU during pregnancy. You can find Vitamin D in dairy products, mushrooms, eggs, salmon, sardines, etc.

Menu Item: Mushroom and potato hash with an egg on top.


Folate: You need 600mg during pregnancy. Folate is most common in leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) fortified grains, beans/peas/lentils, and some nuts/seeds such as pistachios.

Menu Item: Asian cabbage slaw with sunflower seeds.


Iron: You need a whopping 27mg during pregnancy! The most common foods to get iron from include meat (chicken, beef, pork), eggs, beans and peas (soybeans and lentils), pistachios, spinach, fortified cereals, and sardines. Make sure to eat these foods paired with a vitamin C containing food. This will help to increase its absorption!

Menu Item: Lentil soup with chopped tomatoes and spinach.


Magnesium - Women who are expecting need 350mg/day while pregnant! This is increased from 310mg/day before pregnancy. Some of the most common foods that contain this important nutrient are: Chia seeds, avocado, kale, bananas, legumes, dark leafy greens, almonds, tofu, seeds, whole grains, and salmon.

Menu Item: Oatmeal with banana and sliced almonds.


Choline - Women’s needs increase to 450mg/day while pregnant (425mg/day before pregnancy). This is a very important nutrient that is sometimes forgotten! You can get Choline from beef liver, eggs, fish, nuts (eg. peanuts), cauliflower, broccoli (plus other leafy greens), animal protein, dairy, and whole grains.

Menu Item: Chicken stir-fry with brown rice and broccoli.


Calcium - Calcium needs are 1,000mg/day during pregnancy. Some common foods containing calcium include milk, cheese, and yogurt. However, some less common foods that are PACKED with calcium include fortified orange juice, fortified milk alternatives (such as almond, soy, or cashew milk), and leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

Menu Item: Brussels sprouts with garlic and parmesan.


B12- Your B12 needs are 2.2 mcg/day while pregnant (increased from 2.0mcg/day before pregnancy). You can get B12 from essentially any animal product such as; meat, eggs, fish, and dairy. Plant-based options for B12 include fortified plant milk, fortified cereals, and nutritional yeast.

Menu Item: Vegetarian option- Vegan Mac and Cheese with whole wheat pasta and nutritional yeast.


Iodine paired with Selenium- You need 220mg (up from 150mg) of Iodine during pregnancy which is found in seafood, seaweed, and iodized salt. You also need 50mg of selenium which can be found in Brazil nuts (don't eat more than a few nuts per day due to their high amounts of selenium), fish, and grains. Paired together, these vitamins help with thyroid function -- which needs all the help it can get during this hormonal roller coaster of a time!

Menu Item: Shrimp tacos on corn tortillas topped with pineapple.


Omega-3s (DHA and EPA) - 200mg/day of DHA and 200mg/day of EPA is needed while pregnant. These are found in a variety of places such as olive oil and some vegetable oils, avocados, fish (specifically salmon), nuts/seeds (eg. chia seeds, flax seeds), some beans (edamame, kidney beans), and seaweed!

Menu Item: Salmon with a lemon olive oil dressing.


Although these are all very important vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, there are many more that play just as important of a role in both your health, as well as your baby’s development.


We want you to make sure that you are consuming a variety of nutrients and colors during your meals to create a balanced diet. As cliché as it sounds, having a balanced plate with at least 3 colors, whole grains, and proteins will ensure that you are nourishing yourself the best that you can.


All nutrients are important during this time and you want a little of everything-- besides the pregnancy nutritional no-no’s (from the beginning).


We want to tell you that it is okay to honor your cravings. If fact, there is probably a reason for each and every one of them. While cravings during pregnancy are common and at times come off as strange, they aren't all bad. More often than not, cravings come from a place of mild to moderate deficiency. Essentially, cravings are your body's way of telling you it needs something such as carbs, protein, iron, etc.


That being said, if you listen to your body and give it what it wants, it will most likely be satisfied and the cravings will subside. This will decrease binge eating/cases of overeating. Every food fits. Go for that sweet treat or salty snack you’re currently thinking about as a special treat! You can truly have all foods in moderation, and we want you to enjoy your ‘delicious’ experience while continuing to increase your overall happiness, health, and success during your pregnancy!

Thanks for reading and as always...


Follow up questions:

  1. What is your first step to increasing nutrient intake after reading this article?

  2. Which vitamin did you learn the most about in this article?

Email us your responses at mamasmaternalhealth@gmail.com and we'll send you a fun freebie!



Your health today is a LIFETIME of health for you AND your baby.


Until next time!


Coaches Cassie and Mikayla


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Photo by Mustafa Omar on Unsplash


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