Healthy Choices in Each Food Group when pregnant or breastfeeding

Healthy Choices in Each Food Group when pregnant or breastfeeding

The food listed below are the best sources of some nutrients you need when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Vegetable Group

(choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried)

  • 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
  • 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 Group

  • 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

  • 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.

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.

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