10 Nutrient-Dense Foods You Should Eat During Pregnancy

Nurtured 9’s Prenatal Nutrition Guest Expert Adds These Must-Have Foods to Our Grocery List

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We can probably all picture that scene in the movies where the pregnant character is reaching for pickles, ice cream, and a burger – all at the same time. Yes, pregnancy cravings are real! But, we also know that whatever we put into our body goes directly to our growing baby, so we want to make sure we’re getting plenty of nutrient-dense foods to give him or her the best start possible.

To better understand what we should be adding to our carts at the grocery store, we went straight to an expert. According to Ryann Kipping, a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in pregnancy, the best foods women should eat during pregnancy include: asparagus, eggs, kale, strawberries, walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, lentils, broccoli, and Greek yogurt. Here are some more tips from Ryann, and a few of our favorite recipes that incorporate these must-have foods!

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Meet Our Guest Expert:

Ryann Kipping, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Lactation Educator

Nurtured 9: Are there any specific foods that moms-to-be should definitely include in their diets? Does it vary by trimester?

Ryann: The emphasis should be on real, whole foods. Green vegetables like kale and broccoli, fatty fish such as salmon, nuts, and seeds like chia seeds and walnuts, berries for fiber, and Greek yogurt which provides protein, probiotics, calcium, and many other essential nutrients are all excellent choices during pregnancy. The foods mentioned above are great choices in each trimester of pregnancy!  

Nurtured 9: Since we’re taking a prenatal vitamin every day, do we still need to make eating these foods a top priority?

Ryann: Absolutely! I focus on a food first approach to nutrition, meaning we should strive to get all our nutrients from food and use a supplement as more of an insurance policy. Scientists are still trying to figure out all the vitamins and minerals that are contained in food that contribute to our health, so it is likely that some compounds haven't even been discovered; this is why it is so important to eat a variety of foods that come from the earth. Foods have a synergistic effect that supplements don't have.   

Nurtured 9: Do you have any snack or meal suggestions that help us easily incorporate these foods?

Ryann: One of my go-to snacks is a Greek yogurt parfait. I recommend using plain yogurt and adding in frozen berries to sweeten it. Top it with chia seeds, walnuts, and some unsweetened coconut - viola!

Nurtured 9: We hear a lot about pregnancy cravings – and they’re usually not for kale and broccoli. Is it okay to indulge in some of those less nutritious foods every once in a while?

Ryann: Every now and then indulgences are always okay in my book! Often in pregnancy, if we are craving a particular food, it is because our bodies need a nutrient in that food. For example, you may have heard of pregnant women frequently craving pickles; this is likely due to the 50% increase in our need for iodine during pregnancy. 

Nurtured 9: Thank you, Ryann! For more information about prenatal nutrition, you can find Ryann at www.ThePrenatalNutritionist.com and on Instagram and Facebook @prenatalnutritionist.

Now that we know what’s going in our grocery cart, it’s time to talk recipes! Here’s what we’re making to fill our plates with these nutrient-packed foods. Click on the links for the full recipes.

Greek Yogurt Parfait Bowl

(Nutrient-dense foods for pregnancy: Greek yogurt, strawberries, walnuts, chia seeds)

best ever breakfast sandwich

(Nutrient-dense food for pregnancy: eggs)

Honey Garlic Salmon with Lentils, Asparagus & Avocado Bowls

(Nutrient-dense food for pregnancy: salmon, walnuts, lentils, asparagus, and kale)