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.
- Sweet potatoes
- 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.
- Honeydew melon
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Beans and peas (such as pinto beans, soybeans, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas)
- 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.