Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Making Healthy Choices in Each Food Group

Follow your Daily Food Plan for Moms and eat the amount recommended for each food group. Include the foods listed below — they are the best sources of some nutrients you need when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Vegetable Group

(choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried)

sweet potatoes

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Cooked greens (such as kale, collards, turnip greens, and beet greens)
  • Winter squash
  • Tomatoes and tomato sauces
  • Red sweet peppers

These vegetables all have both vitamin A and potassium. When choosing canned vegetables, look for "low-sodium" or "no-salt-added" on the label.


Fruit Group

(choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried)

cantaloupe

  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon
  • Mangoes
  • Prunes
  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Oranges
  • Red or pink grapefruit
  • 100% prune juice or orange juice

These fruits all provide potassium, and many also provide vitamin A. When choosing canned fruit, look for those canned in 100% fruit juice or water instead of syrup.


Dairy Groupglass of milk

 

  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Fat-free milk (skim milk)
  • Low-fat milk (1% milk)
  • Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage)

These all provide the calcium and potassium you need.  Make sure that your choices are fortified with vitamins A and D.


Grains Group

bran cereal

  • Fortified ready-to-eat cereals
  • Fortified cooked cereals

When buying ready-to-eat and cooked cereals, choose those made from whole grains most often. Look for cereals that are fortified with iron and folic acid.


Protein Foods Group

  • Beans and peas (such as pinto beans, soybeans, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas)pot of beans
  • Nuts and seeds (such as sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, and peanut butter)
  • Lean beef, lamb, and pork
  • Oysters, mussels, and crab
  • Salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and pollock

NOTE:  Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. They contain high levels of mercury. Limit white (albacore) tuna to no more than 6 ounces per week. Learn more about the safety of eating seafood during pregnancy.

All of these foods provide protein. In addition, beans and peas provide iron , potassium, and fiber. Meats provide heme-iron, which is the most readily absorbed type of iron. Nut and seeds also contain vitamin E. Seafood provides omega-3 fatty acids.