protein foods in pregnancy

Protein Packed Lentil Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Lentil Stuffed Peppers

Getting enough protein during pregnancy can be tough if you’re a vegetarian. This savory vegetarian recipe is not only full of protein but much needed fiber too! Served as a main dish or a side, these Lentil Stuffed Peppers are sure to fill you up.


  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 4 red or green peppers, halved and deseeded
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 ¾ cup of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup of vegetable stock
  • ¼  teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • ½ cup of spinach, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Lemon Breadcrumb Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 of a cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon of thyme
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put lentils and 2 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside and drain lentils.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and grated carrot and sauté for five minutes.
  5. Add garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, vegetable stock and dried herbs and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat and add spinach and lentils. Season with pepper and pinch of salt.
  7. Place the pepper halves cut-side up on a lightly greased baking sheet and fill with lentil mixture, distributing evenly.
  8. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top of peppers, then cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
  9. To make the topping, heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and thyme and cook for several minutes until breadcrumbs are well coated. 
  10. Add lemon zest and parsley and remove from heat.
  11. After 20-30 minutes, uncover peppers and sprinkle with topping. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the peppers are soft.
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe transcribed from: Mother & Baby

Tofu and Spinach in Garlic Sauce

Tofu & Spinach in Garlic Sauce

Nothing says pregnancy nutrient quite like folate! And to meet your minimum daily need of 500-micrograms, folate rich vegetables and beans become an easy answer. Try this highly nutritious tofu and spinach recipe for not only folate but protein also.


  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • ½ cup of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 pound of firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced into coins
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch of spinach, chopped


  1. In a small bowl, whisk corn starch with 1 tablespoon of chicken stock and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine with remaining stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat and add vegetable oil.
  4. Add shallot and tofu and stir-fry until the shallot is translucent. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for an additional minute.
  5. Add spinach and toss until wilted then add soy sauce mixture. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir cornstarch mixture well and scrape into stir-fry. Simmer and stir until sauce thickens, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add soy sauce to taste and serve over brown rice.

Recipe transcribed from: fitPREGNANCY

Butternut Squash, Quinoa, Spinach, Walnut Fall Salad

kale-quinoa-016With fall beginning to show its splendor, we naturally begin to seek out warmth and comfort foods.  This vegetarian/vegan recipe is great for pregnant mamas due to its high protein and nutrient content.  This is a perfect meal or side dish for lunch or dinner (heck, or even breakfast!)

  • Walnuts are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to fetal brain development, and contain protein.
  • Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and folic acid.
  • Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and manganese (essential for the production of white and red blood cell).
  • Butternut squash contains protein, Vitamins A, C, E and B6, and folate, as well as potassium.

Each serving of this dish has 14 grams of protein, 7 mg of iron, 239 mg of calcium, and 9 grams of fiber.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin Italian olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced thin
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2 cups baby spinach or kale
  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5 minutes).
  2. Add the broth, squash, quinoa and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash and quinoa are tender (15 to 20 minutes).
  3. Gently stir in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt (2 to 3 minutes).
  4. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with walnuts.  Serve and enjoy!