What To Include In Your Vegan Diet For A Healthy Pregnancy

October 30, 2023

Following a specific way of eating can be challenging at the best of times, but it can take a new level of difficulty when you become pregnant. Many vegan mamas wonder how their food choices will impact their unborn child, with many asking whether they can even have a vegan pregnancy. We’re breaking down exactly what to look out for when creating a vegan pregnancy meal plan to ensure your baby thrives. 

Can A Vegan Have A Healthy Pregnancy?

You can have a super healthy pregnancy without consuming meat and animal products. However, it can be complicated as you’re limiting some essential nutrients that are readily available in meats and dairy. If you want to stay vegan while pregnant, it’s essential that you follow a solid meal plan to ensure you’re getting the vital vitamins and minerals you need. “If you’re pregnant and a vegetarian or vegan, you need to make sure you get enough iron and vitamin B12, which are mainly found in meat and fish, and vitamin D, calcium and iodine,” explains the NHS.  

What Should Be Avoided In A Vegan Pregnancy? 

In an attempt to get more protein in their diets, many vegans turn to mock meats. However, whether vegan or not, a pregnancy diet should always focus on whole foods. Healthline explains, “Mock meats, vegan cheeses, and plant-based pastries and desserts often pack sugar or other additives and lack nutrients. As such, you should eat them sparingly.”

All produce should be washed before consumption, too. Bacteria can linger on fruits and vegetables which can be extremely unhealthy for pregnant women. Simply soak your produce in vinegar and water for 10 minutes before rinsing. 

What Needs To Be Included In A Vegan Pregnancy Meal Plan? 


You may be wondering, how can a vegan get enough protein during pregnancy? Protein is an essential building block for your changing body and developing baby as it helps build cells and make hormones. There are plenty of plant-based proteins to include in your meals, such as split and green peas, chickpeas, quinoa, beans (navy, pinto, black, kidney), oatmeal, nuts, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in your baby’s brain development. Unfortunately, it’s only found naturally in animal-based foods, so vegans struggle to get this vitamin in their normal diets. It’s therefore necessary to supplement – ask your doctor if your prenatal vitamin has adequate amounts of vitamin B12 or if you should be prescribed extra. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are also needed for optimal fetal brain development. “Research has confirmed that adding EPA and DHA to the diet of pregnant women has a positive effect on visual and cognitive development of the baby. Studies have also shown that higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the risk of allergies in infants,” says the American Pregnancy Association. In place of fatty fish like salmon, vegans can opt for chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and seaweed


Your blood volume increases dramatically when you’re pregnant to support the new life growing inside of youiron is a vital part of this process. Iron deficiency can lead to preterm labor and low birth weight. To avoid this, ensure that you add beans, edamame, spinach, dark chocolate, and pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) to your meals. 


Iodine is essential for brain development in both form and function; a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to cognitive and developmental delays in newborns. Almonds, cashews, corn, green beans, pinto and navy beans, as well as tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), are all good sources of iodine for pregnant vegans


Do not skimp on your calcium needs, Mama! “In fact, it’s so essential to [baby’s] development that what he doesn’t get from what you eat, your body will take from your bones, potentially putting you at risk of osteoporosis later in life,” says What To Expect

Vegan sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, tofu, soy milk, fortified orange juice, and lentils

Vitamin D

Getting healthy levels of vitamin D while pregnant is associated with a lower prevalence of preeclampsia and a decreased risk of asthma for newborns in later life. Depending on where you live, one of the best ways to get vitamin D is by simply spending time outdoors! Through foods, opt for mushrooms, fortified milk, and fortified cereals.

Healthy Vegan Pregnancy Dishes To Add To Your Meal Plan

Hot and Chili

One of the best ways to get a ton of beans into a meal is through chili! 

You’ll get a healthy dose of protein from this dish thanks to pinto, black, and kidney beans

Getting enough protein in your diet will also provide you with sustained energy, which is so important as pregnancy leaves many women feeling fatigued. 

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

The beans as well as the corn will also ensure you receive much-needed iodine

Get the full recipe here

About to Pop Moong Daal

The star of this dish is lentils! This nutrient-dense ingredient contains iron, protein, and zinc, to name a few vitamins. 

This recipe also calls for ginger. If morning sickness is keeping you down, try adding more ginger to your meals and drinks as it may help reduce nausea

Get the full recipe here

What to Eat to Alleviate Morning Sickness

Foods to Fight Nausea

Get the Guide

From how many meals to eat to which foods to skip, this guide’s got proven tips, helpful recommendations, and mama-approved suggestions to help ease your nausea when “morning sickness” strikes.

A peek inside:

  • The best way to start your day off to avoid nausea 
  • Recommendations for ways to split up your meals 
  • Tricks for staying hydrated
  • Foods to skip and ingredients to indulge in to fight off nausea 
  • Mama-approved suggestions that help with morning sickness and make life easier

Cacao, Orange Zest, and Cardamom Energy Truffles

Got a sweet tooth? These are the chocolate truffles for you!

These bite-sized delights include chia seeds for your omega-3s, calcium, and iron. The orange in this recipe with its high content of vitamin C will help your body absorb more iron

Get the full recipe here

Garlicky Garbanzos and Righteous Rapini

Chickpeas are a fantastic pantry staple to include on your grocery list. 

This legume is rich in protein as well as iron and vitamin B6. Adding vitamin B6 into your diet is another natural way to treat morning sickness

Rapini is a nutritious accompaniment to the chickpeas, as it’s high in folate, “Your body needs folic acid since it’s a critical part of the process of making healthy new cells, and it’s even more important for pregnant women. Lower levels of folic acid are linked to birth defects in children,” explains WebMed

Get the full recipe here

While being intentional with your diet goes a long way, every pregnancy is unique. Let your doctor know that you’re following a vegan diet so that they can monitor you for certain health concerns and prescribe essential vitamins and minerals that you may be lacking through your diet. 

If you want more healthy pregnancy recipes, subscribe to Pregnant and Hungry! Get access to unlimited pregnancy-safe recipes, save favorites to your personal dashboard, create custom weekly meal plans, and get complete grocery lists for just $9 a month. 

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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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