Pregnancy Nutrients

Baked Chicken Parmesan Over Zucchini Noodles

Baked Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is perfect for a cozy evening inside as the weather gets cooler. What I love about this dish is that it is hearty and protein rich and the zucchini noodles get some veggies in! Feel free to substitute whole wheat pasta if you aren't a fan of zucchini. 


•    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
•    1 tablespoon chopped
•    Fresh thyme
•    6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced and divided
•    1 shallot, thinly sliced
•    1 pound heirloom tomatoes, chopped
•    ½ cup dry white wine
•    ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
•    ½ teaspoon black pepper
•    2 eggs, lightly beaten
•    4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
•    1 teaspoon garlic powder
•    Cooking spray
•    4 medium zucchini
•    2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced ½ cup torn basil leaves, divided


  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add thyme, 4 garlic cloves, and shallot; cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.
  • Sprinkle chicken cutlets with the garlic powder and place cutlets on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until done.
  • Using a julienne peeler, or a spiralizer, peel zucchini lengthwise into noodles or thin strips.
  • Preheat broiler to high. Top each cutlet evenly with mozzarella. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 2 garlic cloves; cook 1 minute. Add zucchini; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Toss with sauce, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and half of basil.
  • Arrange ¾ cup zucchini noodles on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 chicken portion; sprinkle servings evenly with remaining half of basil.

Recipe transcribed from: Betsy Life

Blueberry Pancake Smoothie Full of Pregnancy Essentials

Blueberry Pancake Smoothie

Breakfast or dessert-take your pick! This delectable smoothie is not only tasty but full of pregnancy essentials like protein and calcium. Not a fan of blueberries? Swap the blueberries out for strawberries or raspberries for an equally delicious treat.


  • 1 cup of reduced-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup of reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ¼ cups of frozen blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup


  1. Place ingredients in blender.
  2. Cover and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from:

Garlic Chicken Fried Brown Rice

Fried Brown Rice and Chicken

Pregnant and craving some Asian fusion for dinner? Cooking this dish at home is a great way to ensure that all the ingredients are nutritious and delicious for you and your baby-to-be! A great source of fiber, protein, potassium and vitamins A and C, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for the whole family.


  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup of green onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of cooked, brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add chicken, bell pepper, green onion and garlic.
  3. Cook and stir until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken and set aside. Keep warm.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat and add rice. Cook and stir to heat thoroughly. 
  6. Stir in soy sauce, rice vinegar, peas and continue cooking for 1 minute.
  7. Add chicken back to the skillet and stir to blend with rice. Heat thoroughly. 
  8. Serve and enjoy! 

Recipe transcribed from:

Pregnancy Nachos Loaded with Fiber, Calcium, Protein and Folate

Pregnancy Nachos

You probably didn’t think it was possible that someone would recommend nachos as a healthy food while you are pregnant. It sounds just about as likely as your midwife recommending you visit the McDonald’s drive-thru. But, believe it or not, these nachos are actually healthy. Loaded with fiber, calcium, protein and folate, here’s how to feel like you’re cheating without actually cheating.


  • 1 ounce of corn chips
  • 1/3 cup of kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped olives
  • 1/4 cup of shredded reduced-fat cheese
  • 1/2 cup of shredded lettuce of your choice
  • 3/4 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of fresh salsa
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt


  1. Layer corn chips with kidney beans, olives and shredded cheese on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake in oven or toaster oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  3. Top with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and Greek yogurt.
  4. Enjoy

Recipe transcribed from:


Nutrient-Rich Avocado Chocolate Mousse Desert

Avocado Chocolate Mousse Desert

Avocados have been called the pregnancy superfood and now you can even have them for dessert! This delectable Avocado Chocolate Mousse is rich in potassium and folate, both which are essential in pregnancy. This recipe feels like an indulgent treat but has the added bonus of being packed with pregnancy approved nutrients!

  • 2 large avocados, flesh scooped out
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup of coconut milk
  • ¼ cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or chocolate extract
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder or cayenne powder (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Serve immediately or place mousse in an airtight container to save for up to 2 days. 
  3. Serve in bowls garnished with your choice of berries.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: fit PREGNANCY

Super Food Spinach Salad with Pomegranate-Glazed Walnuts

Spinach Salad & Walnuts

Looking for the perfect salad for pregnancy? Try this super food salad filled with folate and more than 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are vital for baby’s visual, cognitive and nervous system development and are great for mom’s health too.


  • ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons of pomegranate juice
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup of coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup of thinly sliced red onion
  • One 5-ounce container of baby spinach
  • 4 ounces of white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil


  1. Combine ¼ cup of pomegranate juice with sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small nonstick skillet.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add walnuts and continue to cook, stirring until nuts are coated and dark and the liquid evaporates. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool.
  4. Once cool, break nuts apart using your hands.
  5. Meanwhile, soak the red onion in ice water for 10 minutes, drain, and pat dry.
  6. Place spinach in a bowl and top with onions, mushrooms, tomato and walnuts.
  7. In a bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of juice with the vinegar, ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and then whisk in the oil.
  8. Drizzle dressing over salad, toss and serve.
  9. Enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: Food network

Sourdough Kale Strata

Sourdough Kale Strata.jpg

Eggs are an amazing source of protein during pregnancy and also contain vital nutrients for baby’s development such as choline, zinc and B-12. This delicious Sourdough Kale Strata can be easily made for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is not only full of the pregnancy super food--eggs, but also contains a hearty helping of kale which is rich in folate and iron.


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large finely diced shallot
  • 6 cups of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 10 eggs
  • 2 cups of 2% milk
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • 4 cups of sourdough bread (best if stale) torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded gruyere cheese, divided


  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add shallots and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add kale and salt and cook for another 2 minutes, set aside.
  4. Coat a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Add kale mixture, torn bread and 1 cup of cheese. Toss evenly and spread over pan.
  6. Pour egg mixture into the dish and top with remaining cheese.
  7. Cover strata with aluminum foil and let stand for 20 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden brown around edges.
  9. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from:

Pregnancy Pea Soup

Pregnancy Pea Soup

Not only is pea soup packed with fiber and protein, it's chalk full of essential vitamins B, A and K making it one of the healthiest prenatal meals you can eat! Try this simple recipe for a healthy meal that can be shared with the whole family.


  • 1 pound of fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • Dash of sunflower oil or a knob of butter
  • 2 cups of lamb stock (fresh or from a cube)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sprig of fresh mint
  • Mint leaves to garnish


  1. In a pot, warm the finely chopped onion until translucent in sunflower oil or butter.
  2. Add peas and lamb stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add a sprig of mint and use a handheld blender to blend soup. 
  4. Stir in yogurt and milk.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with mint leaves.
  6. Serve with fresh bread and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: Fitta Mamma

Cravings During Pregnancy

pregnancy cravings.png

We’ve all heard anecdotes about pregnant women indulging in peculiar snacks like pickles and ice cream because they had an insatiable craving. But where do these strange pregnancy cravings come from? And what should we do about them? 

Many women experience pregnancy cravings typically starting during the first trimester and ending in the second. Most cravings fall under the categories of sweet, spicy, salty or sour and may even be for a combination of two—like pickles and ice cream. Despite our best efforts to eat a nutritious diet while pregnant, unfortunately only about 10 percent of pregnancy cravings are for fruits and vegetables. The most commonly reported cravings during pregnancy include:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Potato chips
  • Ice
  • Spicy foods
  • Lemon
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit
  • Candy
  • Red meat
  • Veggies
  • Juice
  • Salt
  • Dairy
  • Soda
Photo via

Photo via

What Causes Cravings?

Although there are several theories about why pregnant women experience food cravings, the most compelling explanation is hormone fluctuations. High levels of pregnancy hormones can heighten and sensitize a woman’s senses like taste and smell causing her to be more interested in certain foods and in some cases repulsed by others. It is also believed that cravings may represent a need or a deficiency in your body. For instance, if you are frequently craving fruit juice it may be your body signaling a need for more Vitamin C. In other words, it is not necessarily that your body needs the specific food that you are craving but some component or ingredient in that food like protein, calcium, sodium or potassium. Hormone changes during pregnancy are also likely responsible for the fluctuations in appetite throughout the nine months.

When to Contact Your Doctor

While most cravings during pregnancy are harmless, they become a cause for concern if you are craving a non-food item. This condition, called pica, is characterized by cravings for non-edible items like crayons, dirt, chalk and laundry detergent that may cause serious health repercussions for you and your developing baby. Particularly, cravings for non-food items like dirt or clay that may contain lead content can cause serious developmental, cognitive and motor skill impairments in your baby. If you are experiencing non-food food cravings, contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible for help. You may have a nutritional deficiency in iron or zinc that will require further treatment. 

What about Food Aversions?

Equally as common as food cravings during pregnancy are food aversions. The same hormones that cause us to have a hankering for certain foods may cause you to be nauseated by others. This is also thought to be the result of heightened taste and smell senses during pregnancy. Food aversions may coincide with morning sickness during the first trimester when you are most likely to be offended by unpleasant scents or tastes. Like cravings, food aversions will likely disappear by the second trimester as the hormones in your body begin to stabilize. If your food aversions are interfering with your ability to eat a nutritious diet, talk to your doctor or midwife for ways to keep you and your baby healthy.

Managing Your Cravings

Photo via  Visualhunt

Photo via Visualhunt

Here are some basic tips for dealing with cravings during pregnancy:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet to avoid vitamin deficiencies in mom or baby.
  • Watch weight gain: Excess weight gain during pregnancy can lead to dangerous conditions like preeclampsia, high blood pressure and other complications during labor and delivery.
  • Find healthy alternatives that will satisfy your cravings: For example, substituting yogurt for ice cream.
  • Indulge every once in a while and eat a healthy diet the rest of the time.
  • Decipher your craving: What does your body really need? Vitamin C? Protein? Calcium?
  • Satisfy cravings for unhealthy or fattening foods only occasionally.
  • Don’t fill up on an unhealthy craving so that you have no room left for nutritive foods.
  • Limit sweets intake and consider substituting fruit when possible.

Cravings during pregnancy are a perfectly normal and common occurrence to be indulged in with moderation and balanced with a nutritious and vitamin rich diet. For questions about nutrition during pregnancy or any and all things related to natural birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our Birth Center.

Essential Vitamins and Nutrients During Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman w/ Prenatal Vitamins

Although it is always important to eat a nutritious diet and take your vitamins, it becomes even more necessary when you are eating for two. Your unborn baby receives all his nutrients from you through the placenta and is relying on you to send food his way that is rich with vitamins and nutrients. While many vitamins are readily available in the healthy foods you eat each day, some are harder to come by without supplementation.  A great way to fill the gap of nutrients and ensure that you are getting exactly what you need for your baby is to take a daily prenatal vitamin and any other supplements your care provider recommends.  Here’s a list of the most important vitamins and nutrients you need during pregnancy and how you can be sure you are getting them all.

What: Iron

How Much: 27 milligrams per day

Why: Iron is a mineral that is necessary to make the protein hemoglobin that is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is important for your baby because your body needs it to provide him oxygen and he needs it to make his own blood. When you are pregnant, you need two times the amount of iron that someone who is not pregnant does. Without sufficient iron, you may be more likely to get infections, feel tired and develop anemia during pregnancy. Your baby may also have a higher risk of low birth weight and prematurity.  

Where: Foods that are great sources of iron include leafy greens, lean meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, raisins, beans, dried fruit and some fortified cereals, breads and pastas.  Make sure your daily prenatal vitamin contains at least 17 milligrams of iron to account for what you are not able to get through your diet.

What: Folic Acid

How Much: 600 micrograms per day

Why: Folic acid is a B vitamin that is extremely important for the growth and development of your baby. When folic acid is taken before and during pregnancy, it can help protect baby from birth defects of the brain and spine, also known as neural tube defects. It may also prevent defects of the heart and mouth like cleft lip and cleft palate. Since neural tube defects happen in the first weeks of pregnancy, it is important to start taking iron even before you plan to conceive.

Where: When you get folic acid naturally through the foods you eat, it is called folate. The best sources of folate include leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, orange juice, beans and lentils. You may also find some breads, cereals and pastas that are fortified with folic acid. In order to meet your daily needs during pregnancy, be sure you prenatal vitamin contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. 

What: Vitamin D

How Much: 600 IU per day

Why: Vitamin D does many good things for your body while you are pregnant. For mom, vitamin D helps your immune system, nerves and muscles and aids in the absorption of calcium in the body. Vitamin D also helps protect mom from infection as it strengthens the immune system. For baby, vitamin D is necessary for the development of his teeth and bones. 

Where: The best food sources for vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and milk that has it added. Sunlight is another source of vitamin D but should be limited due to the other harmful consequences of sun exposure. Choose a daily prenatal vitamin that contains 400 IU of vitamin D to supplement what you receive in your diet.  

What: DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)

How Much: 200 milligrams per day

Why: DHA is a nutrient and an omega-3 fatty acid that aids in the growth and development of your baby. Specifically, DHA is integral in the creation of baby’s brain and eyes. 

Where: Foods that are rich in DHA include low-mercury fish such as salmon, herring, anchovies, halibut and trout. Orange juice, eggs and milk can also be sold fortified with DHA. Because DHA is not included in all prenatal vitamins, you may have to take a separate DHA supplement. Pregnant and nursing women need approximately 100-200 milligrams more of DHA than the 250 milligram omega-3 intake recommended for all adults.

What: Calcium

How Much: 1000 milligrams per day

Why: Calcium plays an important role in the development of your baby’s bones, teeth, muscles, heart, and nerves. For mom, calcium is important to prevent bone density loss.

Where: Dietary sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, kale, broccoli and some orange juices. Choose a prenatal vitamin that contains 200-300 milligrams of calcium to ensure that you are getting your daily allotment. 

What: Iodine

How Much: 220 micrograms per day

Why: Iodine is a mineral that is necessary to make thyroid hormones. The thyroid is responsible for helping the body store energy from food intake. Your baby needs iodine for the development of his brain and central nervous system. A severe iodine deficiency can potentially lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, mental disability, deafness and physical abnormalities.

Where: Iodine can be found in fish, yogurt, milk, cheese, iodized salt and fortified bread and cereal. Prenatal vitamins don’t always contain iodine and it is important that you check yours to see if you need to take an additional supplement. 

Prenatal Vitamins:

It is important to remember that prenatal vitamins are meant to be a supplement, not a substitute, to a healthy diet during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins provide an efficient way to bridge the nutritional gap left between what you consume and what your baby needs. They also fortunately contain all of the daily recommended vitamins that you would find in any normal adult multivitamin. Prenatal vitamins can be beneficial not only during pregnancy but before and after as well. Particularly, if you are a breastfeeding mom you will want to continue taking your vitamins after baby is born as your body will need the extra nutrients. Prenatal vitamins can be bought over the counter or can be prescribed by your obstetrical caregiver. They even offer liquid and chewable options for moms who struggle with nausea or other difficulties from taking pills during pregnancy. 

We recommend Rainbow Light Prenatal Vitamins and Nordic Naturals Fish Oil which can be purchased at the Birth Center for your convenience.

Eating a healthy diet and taking a daily prenatal vitamin is one of the many ways you can begin to care for your baby before she is here. For questions about prenatal care and any and all other topics related to pregnancy and birth, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our Birth Center.