Pregnancy Nutrition: 5 Essential Foods


Fertility Specialist and nutritionist, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, suggests the top 5 foods to eat during pregnancy.

Understanding what you can and should eat during pregnancy can be overwhelming. There is an abundance of information available, often offering contradictory advice. While certain foods are deemed safe and recommended for one pregnancy, others are cautioned against them due to potential risks. Expectant mothers must navigate through a labyrinth of guidelines, considering factors such as nutritional requirements, potential allergens, foodborne illnesses, and cultural beliefs.

Sorting through this sea of information can leave one feeling uncertain and anxious about making the right choices. Nonetheless, seeking guidance from healthcare providers and reputable sources can help expectant mothers make informed decisions about their diet, promoting the well-being of both themselves and their unborn child.

Below are the top 5 foods fertility specialist and nutritionist, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, suggests to support a healthy pregnancy, backed by scientific research.

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1. Farro: Boost Energy & Promote Bowel Regularity

Farro, a nutrient-rich superfood high in iron and fiber, can provide the necessary nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Enhance bowel regularity by incorporating fiber-rich foods like buckwheat, quinoa, and sorghum.

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2. Hard Cheeses: Build Strong Bones & Provide Vitamin D

Discover the benefits of hard cheeses like parmesan, gruyere, gouda, and jarlsberg. Packed with vitamin D and calcium, these cheeses support fetal skeleton development. Note that not all dairy products are suitable for pregnancy.

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3. Egg Yolks: Essential Nutrients for Central Nervous System Development

Choline, an often overlooked but vital nutrient for central nervous system development, can be obtained from egg yolks. A single yolk provides around 20% of the recommended daily value of choline, along with other essential vitamins and minerals.

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4. Legumes: Boost Iron Intake & Enhance Absorption

Iron plays a crucial role in fetal and placental development, as well as maintaining mom’s red blood cell count. Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils, offer non-heme iron. Pairing them with vitamin C-rich foods improves iron absorption.

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5. Hazelnuts: Rich in Folate & Magnesium

Hazelnuts provide dietary fiber, protein, magnesium, and folate. With high folate content, they contribute to reducing the risk of neural tube defects during pregnancy. Additionally, hazelnuts are a great source of copper, aiding in iron absorption.

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Other Healthy Foods for a Nourishing Pregnancy Diet

If you’re not a fan of the recommended foods, consider incorporating walnuts, sardines, avocado, chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, olive oil, leafy vegetables, and more into your diet. These choices help maintain blood sugar levels and support a healthy pregnancy.

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Remember, it’s crucial to prioritize food safety during pregnancy. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked eggs, meats, seafood, shellfish, or poultry. Choose pasteurized cheese and avoid high-mercury fish. For personalized dietary guidance, consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist.

About the Author

Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, CDN

Registered Dietitian