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10 foods that support a healthy pregnancy

By Rhonda Mann, Tufts Medical Center Staff

Pregnancy brings on all sorts of new eating habits. Many women suddenly find themselves eating foods they could never stomach before – perhaps you have a new love for anchovies?  Or maybe the more common craving of pickles and ice cream is up your alley! 

Eating right when you’re pregnant is crucial to fetal development, which is why we asked an expert for the list of the Top 10 Foods packed with the nutrients you need now.

“Fortunately, there are many foods that are both delicious and nutritious for moms-to-be,” said
Jillian Reece, RD, LDN, CSOWM, a dietician in the Weight and Wellness Center at Tufts Medical Center. “The best diet will be one with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains.”

Here are ten common foods that you might not think of as beneficial: 

Orange1. Oranges

You hear orange and the health benefit that comes to mind most likely has to do with the common cold. Packed with vitamins A and C, oranges also aid in the absorption of iron. Adequate iron stores during pregnancy help to deliver oxygen to a growing baby. Other options that have similar impact include carrots and sweet potatoes.

2. Eggs

 Eggs are a great source of Vitamin D and choline. Choline helps with brain development.


Legumes and beans are lean proteins that are high in fiber. They also contain iron, folate and calcium.

4. Non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium, vitamin D and protein.

Avocado5. Avocado

Holy Guacamole! This popular fruit, rich in healthy fats, is a great source of fiber and has more potassium than a banana.

6. Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter)

Peanut Butter (and Almond Butter) is rich in B vitamins which can reduce a baby’s risk of developing birth defects, help with development of the nervous system, and assist with metabolizing carbohydrates. And yes, unless you yourself are allergic to peanut butter, it is safe to eat during pregnancy.

7. Spinach

Popeye knows the secret to getting extra potassium, vitamin K, calcium, iron and folate is eating spinach. Other veggies with similar benefits include kale, Brussel sprouts and broccoli. 

Salmon8. Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon support healthy skin and tissue development for the baby. Salmon is a great source of protein, vitamin D and provides Omega 3 fatty acids to help with the neural development of the baby.

9. Brown Rice

Whole grains such as farro, quinoa, barley and brown rice help to provide energy and can be a excellent source of fiber, B vitamins and magnesium.

10. Tofu

Lean proteins, like chicken, turkey, seafood and tofu help muscle health in a growing baby. Tofu has the added benefit of containing calcium.


Updated January 2020

The above content is provided for educational purposes by Tufts Medical Center. It is free for educational use. For information about your own health, contact your physician.