1. Pregnancy
  2. Pregnancy lifestyle
  3. Diet

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Pregnancy Grocery List: What to Eat and What to Avoid

It’s always important to eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet, but especially during pregnancy. If you’re expecting, you may be wondering how to make the most of your shopping for the health of you and your baby. Keep reading to learn how to create a healthy pregnancy grocery list.

One of the most important things a pregnant person can do to help the growth and development of their baby is to eat a healthy and balanced diet. A proper diet during pregnancy may help prevent the following:

During pregnancy, you need more nutrients and calories to support a developing fetus. It takes around 300 extra calories per day to support a pregnancy. The source of those calories matters a lot.

When preparing your pregnancy grocery shopping list look for foods that have:

  • High protein
  • Low sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • High omega-3 polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) and low saturated fats and trans fats

A pregnancy grocery list should include foods that contain the nutrients that are essential for fetal development:

  • Calcium is necessary for healthy development and growth, especially of bones and teeth.
  • Folic acid is a nutrient that helps decrease the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.
  • Iron is necessary for normal blood supply. Iron also helps in preventing the occurrence of anemia due to pregnancy in the mother.

Many people take iron and folic acid supplements during pregnancy. Discuss the need for folate and iron supplements with your healthcare professional. 

It’s also important to drink lots of fluids during pregnancy and avoid sugary and caffeinated beverages.

These are the caloric recommendations for pregnant people with a healthy BMI:

  • Approximately 1,800 calories daily during the first trimester
  • Approximately 2,200 calories daily during the second trimester
  • Approximately 2,400 calories daily during the third trimester

The following are great foods to include on your pregnancy grocery list:

Fruits and vegetables: Fruits are a rich source of vitamins C and A, fiber, and potassium. Vegetables are rich in vitamins C and A, folic acid, magnesium, and iron. Fresh, dried, canned, and frozen fruits and 100-percent fruit juice (without added sugar) are all great ways to get these nutrients. Similarly, vegetables may be cooked or raw, canned, dried, or frozen. 

Eating at least four to five servings of vegetables and three to four servings of fruits per day should be enough to get the nutrition you need. A minimum of two servings of leafy green veggies per day is optimal. Melons, berries, and citrus fruits are all great sources of vitamin C.

Some of the fruits that you may want to include on your pregnancy diet grocery list are:

  • Avocados
  • Cantaloupe
  •  Apricots
  • Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Cherries
  • Guava
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Kiwi
  • Tangerines
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Watermelon

These are some vegetables that are great to include on a pregnancy grocery list:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Beets
  • Green peas
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Endives
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash

Dairy products: Dairy products are rich in protein, phosphorus, and calcium. If you need to lower your cholesterol, choose nonfat dairy for your pregnancy diet grocery list. Aim for three servings of dairy per day. Good dairy options for a pregnancy grocery list are milk, yogurt, kefir, and hard cheeses.

Whole grains: Foods like cereal, brown rice, bread, and pasta are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide the energy needed to support the growth and development of your baby. Fortified and whole-grain products also provide iron and folic acid. Nine to 11 servings of carbohydrate-rich foods per day is an optimal amount. 

These are some of the whole grain foods to add to your healthy pregnancy grocery list:

  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat bread and pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Barley
  • Whole wheat tortillas

Proteins: Sources of protein include meat, seafood, poultry, peas and beans, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame. Eat at least three servings of protein per day. These foods provide B complex vitamins, zinc, and iron. Good sources of protein for your pregnancy grocery shopping list include:

  • Turkey (fresh, not deli)
  • Organic chicken
  • Pork
  • Lean beef
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Veal
  • Wild salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Shrimp
  • Cod
  • Soy milk
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish

Vegetarian protein options include:

  • Walnuts
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Flaxseed
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds

Oils and fats: Fats help with fetal brain development and provide energy for development and growth in the long-term. The oils and fats on your pregnancy grocery list should be from plant sources. Intake of solid fats should be limited. Solid fats come from animal food sources and are usually present in processed foods.

These are good things to leave off your pregnancy grocery list:

  • Fish that have high levels of mercury (shark, king mackerel, swordfish, orange roughy, tilefish, or marin) 
  • Juices that contain added sweeteners or sugar
  • Unpasteurized milk along with food products made using unpasteurized milk
  • Refrigerated meat spreads and pate
  • Hot dogs, cold cuts, and luncheon meats
  • Meat, seafood, and eggs that are raw or undercooked 
  • Smoked seafood

It’s crucial to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet during pregnancy. Include dairy products, proteins, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits, oils, and fats on your pregnancy grocery list. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor about prenatal supplements to make sure you get enough iron, folic acid, and other important nutrients.

1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm

2. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Nutrition-During-Pregnancy?IsMobileSet=false

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