Editor’s note: This post is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or physician before treatment of any kind.
While many women lose their appetites and suffer from nausea in the early months of pregnancy, there are certain foods every pregnant should be certain to eat during the first trimester — assuming they can swallow anything more than water and saltines.
Proper nutrition is key to making sure both you and your baby get all the vital goodness you need. The foods listed here are among some of the most important foods you should be eating during your first trimester.
Of course, always remember to talk to your doctor before making major changes to your diet, and consult with him or her about what is best for you.
Check out which ones they are, why they’re so crucial, and some fun ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Why It’s Important: Spinach is high in folic acid, which is crucial in allowing your baby’s neural tube to properly fuse in the first month after conception.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet: I always keep a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer, and often toss a handful into my scrambled eggs in the morning. Berry smoothies with spinach added to them are a big hit in our house, and we often add fresh spinach to our regular salad mix. [Source]
Why They’re Important: Protein is important during each trimester, as it aids in the proper growth of your baby’s tissue and muscle.
Tips to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet: Lentil soup is the most obvious way to chow down on this legume, but you can also try making lentil burgers with spinach! [Source]
3. Citrus Fruit
Why It’s Important: Citrus fruit is also very high in folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet: Obviously, juices are the easiest way, but you can also use fresh lemon juice with olive oil for a clean and crisp salad dressing. Or try roasting a grapefruit — it’s delicious! And you can always slice up oranges for your salads, too. [Source]
Why They’re Important: Pregnant women need an extra 60 grams of protein a day beginning the first trimester of pregnancy.
Tips to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet: Tired of eating nuts by the handful? Try crushing some up in a plastic bag with a kitchen mallet (or hammer) and sprinkle them onto your yogurt or on top of your cereal. The crushed nuts are also yummy as an ice cream topping! [Source]
5. Cottage Cheese
Why It’s Important: Cottage cheese contains both calcium and protein, which are good for muscle and bone development.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet: Cottage cheese isn’t just for eating straight up. It can be used in lasagnas (instead of ricotta), quiche, and even pancakes. [Source]
Why It’s Important: Asparagus is high in Vitamin D, of which many women are deficient.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet: Asparagus isn’t just for dinner. Like spinach, I also often toss asparagus into my scrambled eggs in the morning, as well as cut it up into my salads. [Source]
Why They’re Important: Aside from being an excellent source of protein, eggs are high in calcium and Vitamin D as well, both of which are needed for your baby to properly form bones.
Tips to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet: Add hard-boiled eggs to your tuna salad (obviously watching your intake of tuna during pregnancy), or bake a frittata on the weekend with your favorite veggies. [Source]
Why It’s Important: Broccoli is surprisingly high in iron, which is needed in the first trimester to form red blood cells in your baby.
Tips to Incorporating It Into Your Diet: I love me some broccoli slaw. Follow your favorite coleslaw recipe and simply sub broccoli, or get creative and make your own with cranberries and nuts. [Source]
Why They’re Important: Beans are a great source of protein, which is needed for muscle growth and energy.
Tips to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet: Try taco night with beans instead of meat. Or toss some into your salad. Black bean burgers are also yummy! [Source]
Why It’s Important: Yogurt is high in calcium and Vitamin D, and eating it ensures your body is getting enough, which prevents your baby from having to “steal” it from your bones.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet: Top a cup of yogurt with your favorite granola and some berries. Or make a smoothie. And you could always freeze vanilla yogurt mixed with chocolate chips for an alternative to ice cream. [Source]
Why It’s Important: Chicken is high in iron, which creates red blood cells and helps your body get enough oxygen.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet:Chicken is far too versatile for me to suggest any rarely heard ideas for consuming it! But do note that it’s best for pregnant women to eat organic, hormone-free meats during pregnancy. [Source]
12. Collard Greens
Why They’re Important: Collard greens are high in iron, and many pregnant women lack enough iron.
Tips to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet: Few things compare to some down-home collard greens, but you can also add them to your favorite fall soup recipe. [Source]
Why It’s Important: Salmon is high in calcium and Vitamin D, and is one of the safer fish to eat while pregnant.
Tips to Incorporate It Into Your Diet: Add some cooked salmon to your pasta primavera, or toss some in your morning eggs! [Source]
14. Lean Beef
Why It’s Important: Beef is a great source of iron, and as long as you don’t eat it under cooked, beef is great for you and your unborn baby. Remember: grass-fed, organic, and hormone-free is the best choice for expecting moms! [Source]