Nutritional staples to include in your pregnancy diet

Pregnancy doesn’t just change your body – it can change your pantry, too! Before getting pregnant, you might have prioritized the delicious over the nutritious, but after getting pregnant, your nutritional needs change – and, often, so does your taste. Because of this, it’s a good idea to stock up on a different set of foods that will nourish, and maybe satisfy a craving or two.

It will probably take some time to figure out which foods you want to keep on hand at all times, so consider starting with the following and then making adjustments as time goes on.

Nut butter

Nut butter can last for months in your pantry (or fridge, if it’s a natural nut butter), so it’s a smart staple based on longevity alone. And taste too – almond butter, cashew butter, and peanut butter are all delicious and can come in different flavors. They provide varying levels of protein, calcium, folate, and healthy fats. When shopping for nut butter, make sure to avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils, too.


This super seed can also be stored for very long periods of time, so it’s great to have around on nights you don’t feel like going to much trouble to cook anything. Quinoa goes well in all types of meals – as a side dish, in wraps and casserole, and even in pudding and macaroons. And it delivers important pregnancy nutrients like protein, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins.

Fresh fruit

Many a pregnant woman turns to fresh fruit for a quick and delicious snack. Your body needs vitamin C to absorb iron – which is so important in pregnancy – and you can get lots of vitamin C from fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and cantaloupe. Apples contain a great deal of fiber which helps your digestion. Bananas have both fiber and potassium, which helps to balance the fluid in your body.

Whole grain crackers

As you probably already know, crackers are incredibly versatile. If you don’t already eat whole grain crackers, you might want to make the switch in pregnancy, as whole grains deliver a healthy serving of folic acid, fiber, and iron. Pair the crackers with some healthy cheese, hummus, or another delicious dip, and BOOM! You’ve got yourself the perfect pregnancy staple.

Fortified breakfast cereal

Another great way to get iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 is from a fortified breakfast cereal that’s low in sugar. It can last for months in your pantry, and takes about one second of preparation – perfect for times where you’re feeling tired and just want a quick meal. A quick and easy way to find a healthy cereal is to check the nutrition facts. Look for a cereal with more than 3 grams of fiber, and under 8 grams of sugar per serving.

Frozen fruit

Fruit part two! That’s how important it is! Unlike regular fruit, this pretty much never goes bad – at least not for a long time, so you can store it for months and use it in smoothies that could help with morning sickness. Frozen fruit in smoothies provides you with vitamins and minerals, and protein if you add some protein powder or other vegetables to the mix. If you use a milk product for a base, you’ll get some of your daily calcium, too.

The more healthy food items you have on hand, the less likely it is that you’ll turn to a less-nutritional food for sustenance or comfort when a craving hits. Of course, it’s fine to indulge your cravings – in fact, it’s better to indulge a little than to ignore and end up splurging later – but it’s best to balance them out with foods that have the vitamins and minerals that you need. Having some staples on hand will ensure that you have easy access to some nutritious and delicious foods.

  • “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
  • “Guideline: Food Safety for Pregnant Women.” FDA. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, HHS, Food and Drug Administration, Jan 18 2017. Web. 
  • Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN. “Top Tips for Eating Right During Pregnancy.” EatRight. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. Web.
  • “Pregnancy and Nutrition.” MedlinePlus. Dept of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, NIH, HHS, Jan 2017. Web.
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