Key foods to focus on during pregnancy

Seven power foods to give you the best bang for your buck

By Erin Pavlina

There's a lot you have to keep track of when you're pregnant. Who wants to sit and prepare a meal plan day in and day out just to make sure you're getting enough calcium or zinc or selenium? It's extremely important to plan your meals initially to see if you're getting all your vitamins during pregnancy, but after a while, you'll know instinctively if you're doing it right.

About two months into my pregnancy I finally figured out that certain vitamins were no brainers. I was eating a lot of fruit smoothies, veggie stir fries, and stews. I was getting plenty of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, fiber, and protein so I stopped worrying about those. Next I concentrated on "problem" areas like B12, iron, folic acid, calcium, and essential fatty acids. I needed to come up with a way to ensure I was getting enough without having to keep track all the time.

So I figured out what the power foods were. Power foods are the foods that cover you in multiple categories. Use them frequently, even daily, and you'll find those hard-to-get vitamins are more than covered and you don't have to eat tons of food to get all your vitamins.


High in iron, calcium, and Vitamin C. I made sure every stir fry I made was resplendent with broccoli.

Wheat germ

High in iron, B vitamins, zinc, and protein. Sprinkle this on soy yogurt, sprinkle some in baked goods, throw some into fruit smoothies, or sprinkle on top of stir fries.

Nutritional yeast

High in B12. Sprinkle it on your veggie stir fries and on popcorn.

Flaxseeds and flax oil

High in essential fatty acids. Drop a teaspoon or a tablespoon into fruit smoothies, mix with soy yogurt, mix into your baked goods.

Fruit juices

Look for fruit juices made of 100 percent juice and fortified with a lot of vitamins. One glass of these juices usually covers 50 - 100 percent of your calcium, B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and a host of other vitamins. These juices are usually found in health food stores. Be sure to read the label.

Soy milk

Look for the soy milk brands that are fortified. Many have 30 - 50 percent of your calcium, B12, Vitamin D, and other B vitamins. Use them on cereal or when baking in place of cow's milk. And for a real treat, try chocolate silk.


High in calcium and protein. I usually added some to stir fries, or rolled it in nutritional yeast and wheat germ and fried it up. Yum!

Erin Pavlina is the editor of VegFamily, the Magazine for Vegan Family Living. She is the author of Raising Vegan Children in a Non-Vegan World, and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines. She lives in Los Angeles with her vegan husband, Steve, and lifelong vegan daughter, Emily.

© Erin Pavlina. All rights reserved.

June 2003

Please note: Neither Veg World nor its contributors are qualified to give medical or nutritional advice. If in doubt, always consult a suitably-qualified professional.

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