Pregnancy

8 Healthy Pregnancy Meals

Team Peanut4 months ago6 min read

When you’re pregnant, you may have a lot on your plate in more ways than one. There’s ticking off everything on your pregnancy checklist of course, but to do that while you’re super hungry all the time? If you’re peckish but want to keep things nutritious, it’s no surprise that you’re searching for some ideas around healthy pregnancy meals.

Pregnancy Meals

While you may have been told at length about the foods to avoid when pregnant, you do have to eat something after all. And while you absolutely can indulge in treats now and then, it’s beneficial to stay on the healthy side. Actually, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

So, here are some healthy pregnancy recipes to give you all the goodness you need.

Pregnancy diet: What you need

Your body is doing all sorts when you’re pregnant. Your immune system goes haywire, your hormones change, and – as if we forgot – there’s another little body growing who needs feeding, too. So it’s more important than ever to ensure you get all the good stuff.

Firstly, then, here’s what you need in your pregnancy diet:

  • Complex carbohydrates. They may be the enemy of lots of diet plans, but not this time. To get all the energy you need, for both you and the peanut, keep up the carbs. “Complex” carbs (the healthy ones) are found in legumes, whole grains, and veg.

  • Proteins. These help with growth and repair. Find them in lean meats, dairy products, and legumes – as well as nuts and seeds.

  • Fiber. Hormones slow down your digestive system and your baby’s growing in that region. This means it’s real common for mamas-to-be to get a little constipated. Fiber’s the way to tackle this, through whole grains, fruits, and pulses.
    Vitamins and minerals. There’s a whole alphabet of vits out there that you might want in a pregnancy meal plan. Some of them include:

    • Folic acid or folate. Vitamin B9 keeps things ship-shape when you’re pregnant – and may also reduce the risk of premature birth. Get it from leafy greens and citrus fruits.

    • Calcium. Think dairy products, broccoli, and kale. Calcium gives you (and your little one) strong bones and teeth.

    • Iron. Pregnant women are at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia, where your body doesn’t have enough iron to move oxygen around in your blood. Up your iron levels with lean meat and fortified breakfast cereals.

What are some healthy meals for a pregnant woman?

When you’re pregnant, there’s much less time (and often much less energy in reserve) to plan your meals meticulously. So, here are some healthy meal ideas for pregnant women that are delish – plus, easy to rustle up.

Healthy pregnancy meals

  • The stir fry. It’s quick (usually less than 10 minutes). It’s pretty healthy. And it’s infinitely adaptable (you can use literally anything left in your fridge). Try it with fresh veg and a lean protein like chicken breast or tofu. You can serve it up with (wholegrain!) rice or wrap it in a tortilla for some extra energy.

  • The one-pot. Do you have a slow cooker or pressure cooker? With a slow cooker, you can throw in all sorts of ingredients in the morning and, by evening, you have a curry or stew ready. A pressure cooker speeds everything up – and makes cooking pulses and meats super-easy. Examples:

    • A lentil curry. High in folates, proteins, and fiber, lentils are top of the list of what to eat when pregnant. A slow-cooked curry is easy in a single pot.

    • A beef stew. With lots of protein and iron, fresh, good-quality meat can be at the heart of any recipe for pregnant women. Again, your slow cooker is your best friend when it comes to keeping things easy.

  • Salads. Hearty salads are easy to prepare, adaptable, and full of goodness. Lean meats like chicken, or other proteins such as tofu and cheeses (think pasteurized(!) mozzarella, feta, or a crumbly goat’s cheese) can make them a little tastier.

    • Bean salad. Black, cannellini, or borlotti beans can be at the base of an easy bean salad that’s high in fiber, proteins, and complex carbs.

    • Greens with nuts and seeds. A simple green salad can be made a bit more substantial by nuts and seeds.

    • Quinoa, bulgur wheat, barley. The products at the fancy end of the grocery store are known as superfoods for a reason – and they’re delicious as the base of a salad.

  • Frittata, or Spanish omelet. A winner for using up leftovers in a tasty and easy way. Cook up prepped veg in beaten egg, either on the hob or in the oven. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through. While egg is a great source of protein, it can carry bacteria if it’s not properly cooked.

  • Wraps. Anything is good in a wrap – from sauteed vegetables to chicken to beans and lentils. Season it all to make a very tasty, laid-back meal.

These are just suggestions, and you can adapt them as you like.

What is the best fast food to eat while pregnant?

Cravings can take you on quite the journey, and you might be looking for healthy alternatives to your favorite fast foods. Here are some things to ry out:

  • Keep it grilled. Grilled is always healthier than fried. And chicken tends to be less fatty than red meats.

  • Remember fiber and whole foods. Bean burritos and veggie burgers are good for keeping fats to a minimum, while upping the nutrients.

  • Go decaf. Many fast-food drinks are high in fats, sugars, and caffeine.

It can be tough to stay healthy, but research suggests it’s worth trying to get away from the junk food cravings before late pregnancy if possible.

What should a pregnant woman eat for breakfast?

We won’t tell you what you should eat for breakfast, because that’s totally up to you. But we can give you some options for a few tasty and nutritious morning snacks:

  • Juice. Depending on the fruit, juice can be great for vitamins C, D, E, and A. If you pick a citrus fruit (orange is a fave), you get a dose of folic acid – and it can be fortified with calcium, too.

  • Cereals. Often fortified and naturally high in fiber, complex carbs, and proteins. Plus, the milk is a protein high in calcium. Win-win.

  • Peanut butter. Nuts are an easy thing to get into your breakfast cereals, or you can just grab a handful. Or try some nice peanut butter on fresh wholemeal bread.

Bon appétit!

🍔 More food ideas:
Pregnancy Meal Plan: 7-Day Meal Chart & 81 Meal Ideas