5 Essential Foods During Pregnancy

salmon and lentils for pregnancy woodlands obgyn

Pregnancy cravings can certainly change the way you eat; maybe you’ve had that burning desire for pickles and ice cream at eleven o’clock at night. However, it’s important to note that your diet plays a huge part in your health – and the health of your baby – during your pregnancy. Eating right is essential. Don’t miss the recipe for a meal packed with folic acid at the end of this article. But before that, take a look at these five foods that you just can’t miss.


Not only does it taste great and offer you a healthy alternative to red meat, but salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids. These can help your child’s eyes and brain through this crucial stage in development. Salmon is terrific when grilled; just put it on for five minutes, flip it, wait another five, and it’s ready to eat. There is always the concern of mercury in fish, so be sure to use wild-caught Pacific salmon which has been shown to contain the least amounts of it.

Whole Grains

You may already have heard the argument for whole grains over white bread, but it is never as important as when you are pregnant. After all, whole grains can give you iron, fiber and folic acid. The last is terrifically important because it has been shown to drastically reduce the risk of birth defects to the spinal cord and the brain. As a B vitamin, it both helps the child develop and also plays a role in your body’s ability to produce red blood cells. Not only should you eat whole grains to get folic acid, but you could consider taking supplements as well.

Many Types of Beans

Like whole grains, beans can provide you with folic acid and iron. However, they also take it a step beyond and give you zinc and calcium. The beauty of adding more beans to your daily diet is the sheer amount of options you have. From pinto beans to black beans to garbanzo beans, they can easily be incorporated into a vast array of meals. They can also be used as sides.


The key here is to look for low-fat yogurt so that you’re just getting the key nutrients that you need, not all of the additional fat – and sugar – that are frequently added in. Milk is often talked up as the best way to get calcium, but yogurt is actually going to give you more. The right yogurt can also help to give you needed protein for muscle development.


Berries can enter your diet both as a terrific snack when you have a craving for something sweet and as a great third source of folic acid. They also bring vitamin C, fiber and potassium. The natural sugar in berries is much better for you than artificial sweeteners or the overabundance of sugar in many other snack foods. These can also be paired with your daily yogurt – try raspberries, blueberries or blackberries – to make a snack that is both delicious and nutritious.

Whether you have visited your Woodlands OBGYN for advice already or not, any time is a great time to improve your diet during pregnancy. Incorporate some of the pregnancy superfoods listed above, or try the recipe below, and you can drastically and positively impact both your health and the health of your child. If you have more questions about diet during pregnancy, contact The Woodlands OBGYN Associates today.

Salmon With Lentils Recipe

  • ½ pound French lentils
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 4 (6-oz.) salmon filets, skin removed

Rinse the lentils under running water and place in a bowl. Cover them with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for another couple minutes. Then, add the lentils, celery, carrots, tomato paste and chicken stock. Cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for about 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Once the lentils are tender, add the vinegar and check for seasoning.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat an oven-proof sauté pan (we like a cast iron skillet for this) over high heat. Rub the salmon with a little olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Place the salmon in the pan, seasoned side down and lower the heat to medium. Cook the salmon for 2 minutes and then turn over and place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked to your liking. These will come out rare at this time. Feel free to adjust to your liking.

Serve the salmon on a bed of lentils with a salad on the side.

This is a modification of a Barefoot Contessa recipe.

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