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A healthy diet is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. By getting the proper nutrients, you're supporting two lives -- both mother and baby. However, getting adequate nutrition can be challenging, especially if you're on a budget. If your local grocery store doesn't have your favorite foods in stock, what can you do? Luckily, you can get the nutrients you need in some surprising ways, many of which are both inexpensive and accessible, even if you're not a master chef.
Through combining simple ingredients -- including fresh, frozen, canned or dry foods -- you can create wholesome, nutritious meals on a budget. Best of all, you probably have a few of these ingredients in your pantry right now.
Getting Enough Iron During Pregnancy.
Pregnancy increased your blood supply by 50 percent, and since iron is the main ingredient in making more blood cells, it's an essential part of your diet. You can be sure you're getting the proper amount of iron each day on a tight budget with healthy, low cost food like:
Getting Enough Folate During Pregnancy.
This B vitamin is shown to help prevent serious and life-threatening birth defects like spina bifida. Most commonly found in vegetables, many prepared foods are now enriched to contain folate or folic acid. Stock up on cheap pantry items rich in folic acid like:
- Frozen spinach, kale or other leafy greens
- Kidney beans
- Canned chicken or tuna
- Lean ground beef
- Baked potato
Getting Enough Calcium During Pregnancy.
In order for your baby to build strong bones, a pregnant mother needs about 1,000mg of calcium a day. Even after pregnancy, women need to consume this much calcium daily, especially if they want to maintain good bone health as they age. Milk, yogurt and cheese are common sources of calcium, but you can also get calcium from foods like:
Getting Enough Vitamin D During Pregnancy.
The baby is entirely dependent on the mother for vitamin D, which is an important nutrient in the final months of pregnancy. Vitamin D helps your baby's bones and teeth grow, and it also helps keep your immune system strong. In the final semester it's important to stay healthy, fighting off illness and diseases that could impact the birthing process. Keep this essential vitamin a part of your diet with:
Getting Enough Iodine During Pregnancy.
This mineral helps your baby's cognitive and neurological development, and it also helps your thyroid make the hormones that burn or store food. Not often thought of as an important nutrient to consume, pregnant mothers actually need 220 micrograms of iodine a day. You can be sure you're getting the right amounts with:
- Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
- Fortified rice and pasta
- Canned spinach
Getting Enough DHA During Pregnancy.
Docosahexaenoic acid, more commonly known as omega-3 fatty acids, helps your baby's brain and eyes develop. You can get your daily required intake through foods, like 8 to 12 ounces of fish, or through supplements. Pregnant women can also find sources of DHA from:
- Iodized salt
- Frozen or fresh cod
- Prunes or prune juice
- Frozen or fresh shrimp
- Frozen or fresh lima beans
Pregnancy can be an expensive time, from car seats to strollers to decorating the nursery. The food you need to keep your growing baby healthy shouldn't feel out of reach. You can get the nutrition you need by combining frozen, canned and fresh foods, along with your prenatal vitamins. The most important way you can protect your baby is to provide the right kind of nutrition while he or she is growing and developing.
- Chia seeds
- Frozen brussel sprouts
- Kidney beans
- Soybean oil