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Best Foods to Eat When Pregnant

Category: St. Luke’s Proud
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Focusing on what to include instead of what to exclude

If you’ve ever been pregnant (or are currently pregnant), you’ve probably had your fair share of warnings about everything you shouldn’t be eating. And that’s a good thing. Foods like raw fish, deli meats and unpasteurized cheeses can all be harmful to you and your little one, and those warnings should be taken seriously. But, let’s be honest: It can be a bit of a bummer to focus on how you can’t have sushi or an Italian club for the next nine months.


So, to focus on the positive side of things, here’s a list of all the healthy, nutrient-rich foods that you can eat and actually should be eating more of to help support your pregnancy and offer your baby the best start possible.

Sweet Potatoes

Not only are sweet potatoes a delicious addition to a variety of meals, but they are also an excellent source of beta carotene. Once eaten, this plant-derived compound is turned into vitamin A, which is essential for fetal development. Sweet potatoes are also a great way to add fiber to your diet. Fiber supports your digestive health, and helps to regulate your blood sugar.


So, cube a few of these tubers to add to your favorite hot dish (or casserole if you’re from Wisconsin), mash them up for a side dish, or bake whole and add your favorite toppings for a simple meal to start reaping all the benefits.

Dark Leafy Greens

Packed with nutrients, dark leafy greens are an excellent addition to any diet. Eating these vegetables can ward off constipation, supply mom and baby with essential vitamins, and even prevent low birth weight by providing the following:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Dietary fiber

Some dark leafy greens to add to your shopping list throughout your pregnancy include:

  • Kale
  • Red cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Bok choy
  • Arugula
  • Broccoli

Experiment with different cooking methods to find out which of these you enjoy most. Stir frying, steaming and roasting are all great places to start. You can also just wash well and chop up to enjoy raw, or toss with dressing for a simple salad.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are processed less, so they still have all the essential parts and nutrients of the entire grain seed. Eating whole grains helps to support fetal development and placenta growth during pregnancy by providing the following vitamins and nutrients:

  • B vitamins like B1, B2 and folic acid
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Dietary fiber

Some whole grains that you can try adding to your prenatal diet include:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Black, brown and wild rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Rice cakes
  • Popcorn

Whole grains are incredibly versatile food. If things like oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice are already reoccurring items on your menu, don’t be scared to experiment a few new ones. Grains like quinoa, barley and wild rice all offer different textures and flavors worth trying.

Labor and Delivery in Duluth, Minnesota

At St. Luke’s, we are committed to providing you with the customized birth experience you’ve always dreamed about. To do this, we make it a priority to exceed the highest standards of care and seek the training we need to best serve our patients.

To learn more about St. Luke’s Birthing Center or establish care with a provider visit our website.