What To Include In A Clean Eating Pregnancy Meal Plan

January 8, 2024

You’re pregnant and want to make sure your baby gets the best start possible! Well, that starts in the womb. The food you eat has a huge impact on your health during pregnancy as well as your baby’s development. For optimal pregnancy health, should you be eating “clean”?

What Is A Clean Eating Diet?

Clean eating refers to a meal plan that focuses on foods in their natural states. This means minimally processed, whole foods that don’t contain added salt or sugar. 

“Most Americans eat a diet rich in heavily processed foods which have been made from synthetic ingredients, and packed with fat, sugar, sodium, chemicals, preservatives, food dyes and other additives your body doesn’t quite know what to do with,” explains Mayo Clinic

These added ingredients can be extra detrimental during pregnancy. Eating a diet high in processed foods or junk foods can increase your risk of complications, including gestational diabetes.

So, does this mean you should be eating clean during your pregnancy?

Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan, Diet, and Recipes

What to Eat When You Have Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

Get the Guide

If you’re experiencing elevated blood sugar during your pregnancy, we’ve got you covered. From what gestational diabetes is to recommendations for foods to eat and avoid, this in-depth guide covers everything you need to know for handling gestational diabetes and keeping you and your baby as healthy as can be.

A peek inside:

  • The most common questions about gestational diabetes—asked and answered
  • Why gestational diabetes occurs
  • How many meals a day you should be eating
  • The best ways to balance starches and a list of non-starchy vegetables
  • The best fats and proteins that we recommend for a gestational diabetes diet
  • Ways to limit your carb intake (and why you should!)
  • Examples of low carb-friendly snacks

Can I Eat Clean While Pregnant?

It’s important to get a variety of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy, and following a clean eating meal plan is a great way to do this. 

When you focus on whole foods in place of highly processed food, you’re going to create meals that are incredibly nutrient dense. 

Clean eating for pregnancy includes:


Think of protein as the building blocks of your body. It’s an essential component of healing as well as creating new tissues. Many protein sources are high in iron, too! Your body’s blood volume increases by 45% during pregnancy, and iron is vital to support this process. Healthy sources of protein to include in your pregnancy diet include chicken, beef, eggs, legumes and beans, as well as fish

Low mercury fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are high in omega-3 fatty acids which helps to build your baby’s brain and eyes. 

Fruits and vegetables

It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables as they’re high in essential pregnancy vitamins, such as vitamin A and C, fiber, folate, and potassium. “Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. Fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced can be part of your daily allowance – try to avoid anything with added salt or sugar,” advises the NHS

Whole grains 

Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice are not only sources of fiber, but they’re also rich in carbohydrates. Healthy carbs are healthy sources of fuel for your changing body which is necessary because we all know how pregnancy can zap your energy!

The Best Energy-Boosting Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

A List of Nutrient-Rich Foods for Expecting Moms

Get the Guide

It’s not uncommon to feel exhausted or sleep-deprived during your pregnancy and postpartum period (also known as the fourth trimester). So, if you’re ready to add some energy-boosting ingredients to your daily meals, you’ll find this guide has exactly what you’ve been craving.

A peek inside:

  • Energy-boosting fruits
  • Vivacious vegetables
  • Packed proteins: meat, seafood, dairy
  • Supercharged seeds and nuts
  • Life-giving leafy greens, legumes, and grains
  • A few tips for other ways to naturally boost your energy that don’t include caffeine

Dairy products 

“Dairy products contain two types of high-quality protein: casein and whey. Dairy is the best dietary source of calcium. It also provides phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc,” explains Healthline. Healthy sources of dairy that are high in calcium include mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, yogurt, milk, and kefir.

This doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach, though. Cravings are part of pregnancy! You can still have sugar in moderation. Focus on desserts that also have fruit, nuts, and seeds to increase its nutrition profile.  

How Can I Make My Baby Healthy In The Womb?

Following a healthy lifestyle from early pregnancy and into the fourth trimester when you’re breastfeeding is the best way to ensure a healthy baby. 

Stay Hydrated

This can be challenging during the first trimester when many women experience morning sickness. Make it a habit to drink water and caffeine-free herbal teas, and eat nourishing soups that are simple to digest. 

How to Stay Hydrated During Pregnancy

Hydration Tips While Pregnant

Get the Guide

Staying hydrated isn’t just about drinking water, it’s about eating the right foods, too! This guide gives you a full list of all the hydrating foods and liquids you can add to your diet to fight constipation, increase maternal blood volume, and keep you hydrated!

A peek inside:

  • The most hydrating fruits: citrus, melons, berries
  • The best veggies and leafy greens for pregnancy hydration
  • Pregnancy-safe herbal teas
  • Plus a list of liquids to sip on all day long

Avoid Junk Food

Junk food doesn’t just negatively impact your health, but also the health of your growing baby. 

One study found that pregnant women who ate a diet high in foods with added sugars saw a 38% increase in their child’s allergy risks between the ages of seven and nine. They also saw a 101% increase in the risk for allergic asthma in their children.

Not only that, but a pregnancy diet high in junk food could cause the child to have a predisposition to junk food addiction. This was found from a study done on rats, and The Bump adds, “It appears those tasty treats desensitized the normal brain reward system in offspring, leaving them less sensitive to ‘feel good’ hormones, which, in turn, could have sparked overeating.”

Reduce Stress 

Chronic stress can increase the chances of going into labor early and having a low-birthweight baby. To better handle stress, you can exercise, get enough sleep, take parenting courses to prepare yourself for your newborn, and speak to a counsellor. 

Tip: Make our Snooze-Inducing Sleepy Tea to help you relax! The main ingredient in this herbal blend, lemon balm, is used to reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep.

Here are four clean eating pregnancy recipes that will help keep you and your baby healthy:

A Well-Rounded Korean BBQ Bowl

The star of this bowl is beef – a great source of protein as well as choline. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, choline helps prevent common birth defects and supports your growing baby’s brain development.

This recipe also calls for mushrooms, an unsung hero of pregnancy nutrition. Mushrooms are high in fiber, folate, and vitamin D

Get the full recipe here

​​Mmmm Maple Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Brussels

Got a sweet craving? This is a healthy way to satisfy it as the super-simple dressing has maple syrup. 

This dish includes sweet potatoes, an amazing pregnancy superfood because of its vitamin B6 content. Not only is vitamin B6 essential for proper immune system functioning, but it can also help reduce nausea

You’ll also get extra fiber and folate from the Brussels sprouts

Get the full recipe here

Fancy Pants Roasted Ratatouille with Olives and Basil

This is perfect for a highly nutritious vegetarian dinner.

The recipe calls for bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini, all high fiber ingredients for healthy digestion. Tomatoes and bell peppers are also high in vitamin C, a nutrient that can help lower the risk of hypertension

Gestational Hypertension 101

Diet to Reduce High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Get the Guide

If you’re a mama who is experiencing high blood pressure during your pregnancy, we’ve created a guide just for you. Inside it, you’ll learn what gestational hypertension is, ways to control it, and which ingredients help reduce high blood pressure.

A peek inside:

  • The difference between gestational hypertension and chronic hypertension 
  • Who’s most at risk 
  • Contributing factors that help control high blood pressure
  • Lists of foods that are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, protein, and potassium

Get the full recipe here

Salade Niçoise avec Slow Roasted Salmon

Salmon isn’t just high in omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s also a fantastic source of calcium and vitamin B12. According to the American Pregnancy Association, vitamin B12, “Helps improve your energy, mood and stress levels by aiding the metabolization of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.”

You’ll also get iron and magnesium from the potatoes, and fiber, iodine, and vitamin C from the green beans

Get the full recipe here

For a healthy pregnancy, it’s important to prioritize whole, clean pregnancy foods for your meal plan. But, you’ve got to strike a balance – focus on nutrient-rich options while allowing room for indulgences and the foods that bring you joy. Embracing a well-rounded approach to nutrition during pregnancy ensures not only the well-being of both you and your baby but also cultivates a positive relationship with food.

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Kendra Aronson

Hi Mama, I’m Kendra!

Founder of Pregnant and Hungry, and a mama on a mission to provide other mamas with delicious, nutritious, and easy recipes for pregnancy and motherhood. If that’s what you’re craving, make sure to dig into the blog or learn more about the Pregnant and Hungry subscription.
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Our recipes are developed under the caring guidance of an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) in addition to a Licensed Midwife in good standing with the California Medical Board who’s also a Certified Professional Midwife as granted by the North American Registry of Midwives and a professional Lactation Consultant as certified by the IBCLC (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners). While we refer to trusted sources from peer-reviewed medical journals to information from highly regarded worldwide health institutions, this website is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult your personal midwife, doctor, or nutritionist with health questions related to your pregnancy and postpartum journey.

I'm so happy you're here, Mama!


Before getting pregnant with my daughter, I spent a ton of time scouring the internet for easy, pregnancy-safe recipes and nutrition advice tailored to my taste preferences, unique dietary needs, and anticipated ailments—only to realize that no such resource existed. I knew I wasn’t the only one who could benefit from this information, so I set out to create this site from scratch for all of us mamas-to-be!

Today, Pregnant and Hungry is not only the sole searchable collection of pregnancy-friendly recipes on the internet, but our website is packed full of helpful resources and free information for any mama who finds herself asking the same questions I was: what do I need to know about nutrition and pregnancy, and where can I find the answers and recipes?

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