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Power Foods for Pregnant Moms

By Paige Schilt, March 24, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Paige Schilt

BerriesDuring pregnancy, you’re working overtime — planning, preparing and literally building a new life. To support all this amazing activity, you need food that works overtime too!

We’ve compiled a list of 10 nutrient-rich power foods for pregnant and lactating women. You might think of these foods as nature’s original multitaskers, because they deliver multiple essential nutrients for mama and baby in every bite.

The following foods belong at the top of any pregnant mom's priority list. Bonus: they can deliver a powerful nutritional punch to everyone at your dinner table, so now is the time to start incorporating them into your family's meals for life. Click on the linked ingredients for recipes and cooking tips.

Pregnancy Power Foods

Yogurt

Calcium and probiotics

Dark leafy greens

Calcium, fiber, folic acid and vitamin A

Eggs

Vitamin A, iron and protein

Fatty fish

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA

Lamb

Vitamin B12, iron and zinc

Berries

Antioxidants and fiber

Sweet potatoes

Vitamins A and E

Avocados

Potassium, folic acid, lutein and "good" fat

Legumes

Vegetarian protein, fiber, iron, folate, magnesium and zinc

Nuts

Fiber, vitamin E and magnesium

Want to maximize the multitasking? The possibilities are endless (and delicious) when you combine these pregnancy power foods. Whip up a frittata with eggs and leafy greens like kale (see Learn to Cook: Frittata for tips). Ladle legumes and sweet potatoes in Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup. Or layer yogurt, nuts and berries for a parfait that’s perfect any time of day (check out the upcoming May-June edition of The Whole Deal for a parfait tutorial.)

Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup Learn to Cook: Frittata

Did you know that by eating sweet potatoes with a little fat, you can increase the absorption of vitamin A? Or that it’s best to eat calcium-rich foods and zinc-rich foods at different times for optimal absorption of each? To learn more about the nutritional benefits of the foods listed above, check out our in-depth article on Nutrition for Pregnant and Nursing Moms. It’s loaded with tips about what to eat, how much and when. And if you’re looking for some stomach-soothing smoothies, we’ve got a blender-full of great ideas in our guide to Healthy Pregnancy.

dark leafy greensWhile you’re adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet, don’t forget to add a prenatal vitamin too. Consult your healthcare practitioner and choose a product that’s free of artificial flavors, sweeteners and preservatives, such as Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin.

When I was expecting, my go-to breakfast was scrambled eggs with spinach. In the first trimester, I was sure my co-workers would guess that I was pregnant, because I couldn’t make it through a single meeting without breaking out the berries and yogurt.

Do you have a favorite pregnancy power food from our top ten list? Or, better yet, a delicious multitasking combination? Please share in the comments below.

We've collected more of our favorite simple tips that cover the very basics of having a healthy pregnancy and preparing for a new baby!

Category: Kid Friendly

 

20 Comments

Comments

Ryan Kinney says ...
Thought you might find this interesting!!! Love u lots
03/25/2013 12:28:00 PM CDT
Jane says ...
This list is not very helpful to pregnant women who want their babies and themselves to be healthy. It has been known in the scientific community for many years now that consuming animal protein is DETRIMENTAL to human health. It is related to almost every cancer and disease humans contract. Please stop promoting this false information to your customers. I shop and support whole foods but I do not support the message that animal protein is necessary or healthy when it is known, it is not. Please view the research in the documentaries Forks Over Knives and A Delicate Balance. Please do not unknowingly harm yourself or your child by false information given in the post.
03/25/2013 2:17:44 PM CDT
Cathy says ...
This list is great. To the other poster, vegetarians can not get enough vitamin B12 from their diet to support breast feeding. While suppliments and mulit-vitamins help, they are sometimes not absorbed by the body efficiently and can lead to a deficiency. The best sourse for B12 is red meat and liver.
03/25/2013 8:27:47 PM CDT
Camila says ...
I loved all the foods!!!
03/25/2013 10:57:53 PM CDT
carlos says ...
And olive oil? Its rich in vitamine e and others, omega 9, antioxidants, etc.....
03/29/2013 9:00:30 PM CDT
Jennifer sardam says ...
I could eat an avocado every day and NEVER get sick of them. I smear it on rye toast and top it with a fried egg, put them into smoothies, make fresh guacamole, and sometimes just sprinkle a little lime juice on one and eat with a spoon right out of the skin. No more perfect food in existence.
04/03/2013 12:22:07 PM CDT
stan says ...
Check it out
04/03/2013 6:19:27 PM CDT
Jean says ...
Love most of the list! I'm a vegan breastfeeding mom and 40 to boot and we are both extremely healthy! Even the American dietetic association approves a well planed vegan diet. Plant power y'all!
04/03/2013 6:35:38 PM CDT
Helen says ...
DISAGREE!! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WRONG!! "Jane says ... This list is not very helpful to pregnant women who want their babies and themselves to be healthy. It has been known in the scientific community for many years now that consuming animal protein is DETRIMENTAL to human health. It is related to almost every cancer and disease humans contract. Please stop promoting this false information to your customers. I shop and support whole foods but I do not support the message that animal protein is necessary or healthy when it is known, it is not. Please view the research in the documentaries Forks Over Knives and A Delicate Balance. Please do not unknowingly harm yourself or your child by false information given in the post. 03/25/2013 2:17:44 PM CDT"
04/03/2013 7:00:05 PM CDT
Shana says ...
One of the major nutrients that eggs provide is choline, and choline is super important in pregnancy,. Women have a hard time meeting their choline need, yet eggs are a super-food for this nutrient. I suggest eating eggs in pregnancy so a woman can meet her daily need for choline. Choline is important to brain development. Eat eggs future mamas!
04/03/2013 10:05:52 PM CDT
Leslie says ...
To Jane, please provide a substitute for the nutrients listed for the animal products.
04/04/2013 6:33:50 AM CDT
Michele says ...
I don't love kale, but know I need to incorporate it into my diet. Does anyone have a couple easy ways to prepare it? Thanks!
04/04/2013 8:02:49 AM CDT
Leslie says ...
Whoa Jane, your opinion is very one sided. The benefits of animal protein cannot be duplicated in any other source...sorry bean lovers. And as far as cancer goes, did you know that Steve Jobs was a vegetarian and lost his life to cancer? So before you blow your Forks to Knives Horn...you should also read the other research. Organic grass fed meats in healthy portions can be a healthy addition to heavy portions of vegetables with fruits nuts and seeds on the side. Of course, exercise cannot be substituted with anything else. We all need to move more!
04/05/2013 6:40:24 AM CDT
Kay says ...
Although this list is great, you have to wonder what we as parents are doing wrong. The upcoming generations of children have SO many allergies, that we and our parents do not.
04/05/2013 7:07:55 AM CDT
Alli says ...
B12 is in nutritional yeast, and fortified nondairy milks and cereals. You can also take supplements. Iron is plentiful in kale and other DLGs, tofu and beans. Dairy isn't a good source of calcium, as it puts the body into an acidic state and calcium is pulled from the bones to buffer and balance it. Most pregnant women can and should probably take iron supplements at 20 weeks and there are always prenatal vitamins for anything missing. Here is some info on vegan pregnancy from Dr. McDougall: http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl/jan/pregnancy.pdf
04/05/2013 3:23:40 PM CDT
Rene says ...
Michele says ... I don't love kale, but know I need to incorporate it into my diet. Does anyone have a couple easy ways to prepare it? Thanks! 04/04/2013 8:02:49 AM CDT I don't love kale either, but Kale Crispies are good and very easy to make. Ingredients: • 1 bunch fresh kale • 1 tablespoon olive oil • sea salt Directions: 1. Wash and dry Kale and rip into 2" pieces, discarding ribs. 2. Place kale pieces in a bowl and toss with the olive (or vegetable) oil. 3. Place a cookie cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet, and lay 1 layer of the oiled kale on the cooling rack. 4. Salt lightly with sea salt. 5. Place in 225 degree oven for 20-25 min or until crisp yet bright green. 6. Remove from oven , cool a minute or 2, and crunch away! Enjoy!
04/15/2013 11:57:07 AM CDT
WP Social Press Review says ...
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09/16/2013 6:53:18 AM CDT
Lan says ...
There's certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all of the points you have made.
02/24/2014 5:40:13 PM CST
Julie Christenson says ...
Looking for healthy snacks and meals for pregnant moms
03/16/2014 9:12:08 AM CDT
K says ...
Michele-I don't love Kale either but i put some in my smoothie with frozen mango's, frozen peaches, coconut water and a scoop of almond butter. It will make the smoothie green, but you cant really taste it, it just cuts down the sweetness a little bit. Hope that helps!
03/18/2014 12:14:05 PM CDT