What to eat when you're pregnant — top foods for your first trimester

Congratulations! You’re starting your journey of motherhood in your first trimester. You may not have a bump yet and morning sickness can get you down, but eating nourishing foods is essential during this period of growth for baby’s wellbeing.

During the first trimester, your baby is rapidly growing and developing. Their skeletal system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system are growing and evolving constantly throughout these 3 months. Proper nutrition is crucial, and without it, damage to these systems is increased. There are also tips and tricks you can use nutrition for to prevent or alleviate morning sickness!

Morning sickness can feel intimidating and concerning. There are a few tips and tricks you can use to prevent or even stop morning sickness all together. Ensuring you’re able to eat nourishing foods, without wanting to vomit them all up, can give you peace of mind that your baby is nourished. Start by eating smaller portions of meals and snacks in a single sitting. This can prevent the feeling of a full stomach which can trigger nausea. Second, try adding ginger tea to your routine. Ginger has been proven to alleviate nausea and stomach upset and is safe for pregnancy. If you are using fresh ginger, remember to peel the skin (it's easiest using a spoon!) and start off with a small amount (about an inch long). 

After getting through the grueling morning sickness, your baby will be wondering what’s for breakfast? Some of the most important nutrients during the first trimester come from vegetables, fish, and legumes. A varied diet is the best diet, full of color and flavor variation. The following list will show what foods are full of nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy!


Lentils are a legume that can be used as a great meat substitute in sauces and even tacos! They are full of fiber to promote healthy digestion, protein-rich, and easy to prepare in a hurry. Lentils also contain essential nutrients for your first trimester, including iron and folate. Folate is an essential nutrient to include in your early pregnancy diet particularly because of the stages of your baby’s development. Folate prevents the malformation of the neural tube, therefore helping to prevent neural tube defects. 


Beets are a bright and beautiful vegetable to add to your meals during your first trimester. They are packed with folate, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Like lentils, beets make a large impact on your daily recommended intake of folate, an essential nutrient during the first months of pregnancy. A great way to remember to add beets for your blood health is their color!

Wild Salmon

If you do not normally eat fish, this study may get you to start. Researchers found that women who consumed cooked salmon 2x per week were able to provide more DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to their baby in utero. Salmon is rich in polyunsaturated fats, zinc, niacin, and vitamin B12. Wild salmon in particular has been found to contain more and better-quality omega fatty acids than farm raised fish. DHA and omega fatty acids are essential for your baby’s brain development. These nutrients aid in nervous system function in that they help the body send signals to the brain through the myelin sheath. Myelin is mostly made of fatty substance; therefore, fatty fish are a no-brainer.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious and can be prepared in a variety of ways, but they have a big nutritional punch. Containing potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, and K, these root vegetables are easily digested and can aid in any nutrient deficiency catch-ups. Sweet potatoes are also high in carbohydrates and can give you and baby a boost of energy. Aim for baking or air frying while preparing potatoes, rather than frying in oil.


Last but not least, quinoa. Quinoa is an ancient grain that has far more nutritional value than others of its kind. Although full of slow digesting carbohydrates to satiate hunger, quinoa also contains a hefty amount of protein and all 10 essential amino acids, making it a suitable animal-based protein substitute if you cannot stomach meat. Quinoa contains iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium, which are all essential during the first 3 months of pregnancy. What makes quinoa the most special is its unique balance of antioxidants, fat, and protein.

Overall, balance is key while curating a diet during the first trimester, but there are some crucial nutrients to keep in mind. Folate and iron are especially important in placenta and neural tube formation. Alongside a quality prenatal vitamin, these foods should give your baby all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for proper development and growth. 


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