Breakfast for Pregnant Women: Recipe Ideas, Foods to Eat & Avoid

Healthy Breakfast for Pregnancy – Foods to Eat and Avoid

Medically Reviewed By
Gayatri Dawda (Nutritionist)
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Breakfast is of utmost importance as it gives the body nutrition after fasting overnight. During pregnancy, the diet followed by moms-to-be determines the growth and healthy development of the unborn baby. It is, therefore, very important for a pregnant woman to eat a nutritious breakfast so that her baby can get the nourishment needed for healthy growth. In this article, we shall talk about why a healthy breakfast is important during pregnancy and also look at some healthy breakfast recipe ideas. We will also shed some light on which foods are good for pregnancy and which ones to avoid.

What Foods Should Pregnant Women Include in Their Breakfast?

Although everyone should start their day with a healthy breakfast, it is more important for pregnant women to do so, and do it right. Their breakfast should include the nutrients required by them and the little life growing inside them. Here is a list of foods that pregnant women should include in their breakfast:

1. Protein-Rich Foods

Proteins are the building blocks of DNA, tissues and muscles. Your baby needs protein for cell differentiation, tissue and cell growth, and overall growth. Some of the protein-rich foods you can include in your breakfast include yoghurteggs, paneer, milk, sprouts, lentils (dals), nuts and cheese.

2. Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium is essential for the development of strong bones. The mother and the foetus both need this nutrient for healthy bones. A pregnant woman needs about 1000mg of calcium a day to meet the requirements of her own body and that of her baby’s. Some calcium-rich breakfast foods that you can eat during pregnancy are paneer, cheese, green vegetables, almonds, amaranth, figs, sesame seeds, cheese, milk, and yoghurt.

3. Fibre-Rich Foods

Constipation and indigestion can make pregnancy inconvenient. Although it cannot be avoided, pregnant women can get some relief by including fibre-rich foods in their diet. Some of the fibre-rich foods that you can include in your pregnancy diet are – whole grains like bran and oats, flax seeds, chia seeds, broccoli, sweet corn, figs, apples, bananas, and pears.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains are rich in vitamin B-complex, dietary fibre, carbohydrates, and minerals like magnesium, iron, and selenium. These nutrients are important for your baby’s healthy growth and development. Examples of whole grains are bulgur wheat, oats, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, and millets.

5. Iron and Folate-Rich Foods

During pregnancy, a mother’s body needs extra iron to make more blood for both, herself and the baby. Folate is important for proper development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. So, include folate-rich foods like spinach, kale, asparagus, broccoli, lentils, avocado, and Brussels sprouts. Most dark green leafy vegetables are rich in iron and folate. Other foods like whole grains, meat, fish, tofu, liver, soybeans, nuts, and seeds are also rich in iron. 

Breakfast Foods That Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy

Not all foods are healthy to eat during pregnancy. Some healthy breakfast foods that you could easily consume before pregnancy are a big no-no after you conceive. Here’s a list of breakfast foods that you should avoid during pregnancy.

1. Raw Eggs

Raw eggs could contain salmonella bacteria which cause food poisoning and is harmful to the unborn baby. So, eat only pasteurised eggs that are well cooked.

2. Unpasteurised Dairy Products

Unpasteurised dairy products like soft cheese or blue cheese could contain listeria, which causes food poisoning or more serious pregnancy complications such as foetal death. Hence, avoid unpasteurised dairy products.

3. Undercooked or Raw Meat and Seafood

Undercooked meat can also cause food poisoning. Ensure that the meat you consume is well-cooked. Also, seafood contains high levels of mercury which can cause birth defects in the baby. It is best to avoid seafood during pregnancy.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine can cross the placental barrier and increase the heart rate of the foetus. It has also been linked to miscarriages. It is better to limit or avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee or cola during pregnancy.


Breakfast Food Safety Tips for Pregnant Women

1. Eat Only Fresh Food

Fresh food is the most nutritious. By consuming freshly cooked dishes for breakfast, you will be providing all the necessary nutrition to your body and the foetus. Expired food or food that has been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days loses its nutrient content and can also cause food poisoning.

2. Wash Hands Before Meals

Good hygiene practices make sure that the mom-to-be does not get any infections that can harm her or the baby. You can use a sanitiser also if needed.

3. Wash Fruits and Vegetables Thoroughly

Fruits and vegetables always have dirt, germs and pesticides on them. Thus, they must be washed thoroughly before consuming. Vegetables are often cooked after they are cleaned thoroughly, so the chances of germs entering your body are lower. However, fruits are not cooked unless you are making a dish. To clean the fruits and vegetables thoroughly, soak them in salted water. Salted water will help warm off germs from them. You may also use fruit and a vegetable purifier to clean the veggies and fruits before consuming them.

Breakfast Tips to Follow During Pregnancy

1. Eat in Stages

If you suffer from morning sickness and cannot handle a big breakfast, start with liquids. Ginger or lemon may help with morning sickness. With regards to meals, eat in stages. Start with one piece of toast, a biscuit or one dosa. Take a short break and then resume eating until you feel satisfied.

2. Stay Hydrated

It is very important to stay hydrated throughout the day. You can drink plain water, juice, coconut water or clear soups. Ensure you have enough fluids to drink during your breakfast too.

4. Do Not Avoid Fats

Healthy fats are important for both you and your baby. Incorporate healthy fats from foods like avocado, olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, ghee, butter, nuts, etc. in your breakfast.

5. Include Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain a wide range of nutrients that your baby requires for healthy development. Make some breakfast dishes that have vegetables in them and also have a bowl of fruits to provide the much-required nutrition to yourself and your baby. However, do not eat raw papaya, pineapples, and grapes during pregnancy.

Now that you have an idea of what must be eaten and must be avoided during pregnancy, let’s take a look at some breakfast recipes that are not only healthy but also delicious.

Healthy Pregnancy Breakfast Recipes

Here are some delicious pregnancy breakfast ideas that are perfect for pregnant ladies to start their day with:

1. Moong Dal Dosa

If you are looking for a healthy Indian breakfast item during pregnancy, moong dal dosa is a great choice! It contains proteins and carbohydrates that will give you the energy and nutrition you need to get through the day.


What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup split green gram dal
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • Salt to taste
  • Some oil

How to Prepare:

  • Soak the dal and parboiled rice for 3 hours. Drain.
  • Grind the soaked rice and dal in a blender with a little bit of water to make a moderately thick but smooth batter.
  • Transfer the batter to a bowl and allow it to ferment overnight.
  • The next day, add salt and mix well.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan and sprinkle some water on it. Wipe the water off with a cloth.
  • Using a circular motion, spread the batter in the pan to make a dosa of 6-inches diameter.
  • Put a few drops of oil all around the edges of the dosa and cook on a medium flame until the dosa is golden brown and crisp.
  • Then, flip it over to cook the other side for a few seconds.
  • Fold it in half and transfer onto a plate.

Eat it with some coconut chutney or a warm bowl of sambar.

2. Zucchini and Carrot Dosa

This is a very healthy breakfast dish for pregnant women as it contains vegetables and lentils, that provide a decent amount of carbohydrates and healthy fats to the mother-to-be and the baby.


What You Will Need:

  • ¾ cup grated zucchini
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • ¼ cup Bengal gram flour (besan)
  • ½ cup of rice flour
  • A few sprigs of finely chopped coriander
  • 1 or 2 finely chopped green chillies
  • Salt and Oil
  • 1/2 cup of water

 How to Prepare:

  • Combine the gram flour and the rice flour.
  • Add water and make a smooth, runny paste.
  • Add the vegetables and spices and mix.
  • Heat and grease a non-stick pan with oil.
  • Pour a ladle of batter into the pan and spread the dosa mix to form a circle of 3-inches diameter.
  • Put some oil around the edges of the dosa and cook on a medium flame until it is golden brown.
  • Flip it over to cook the other side for a few seconds.
  • Serve it with mint chutney.

3. Dates and Banana Shake

This is a great idea for breakfast during the first trimester when you suffer from morning sickness. If you are unable to stomach a solid breakfast, you can try this healthy milkshake.

What You Will Need:

  • ¼ cup dates
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 to 5 ice cubes (optional)

 How to Prepare 

  • Soak the dates in warm milk for five minutes.
  • Blend the dates, milk, banana, and ice cubes together in a blender to make a smooth milkshake.
  • Drink.

4. Multigrain Idlis

This recipe contains whole grains and thus is a great one to provide enough fibre, carbohydrates, and protein to start the day with.


What You Will Need

  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • ½ cup finger millet flour (ragi)
  • ½ cup pearl millet flour (bajra)
  • ½ cup split black lentils (urad dal)
  • ½ cup sorghum flour (jowar)
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • Salt and oil

How to Prepare 

  • Soak the urad dal and fenugreek seeds in water for 2 hours.
  • Drain and blend until you get a smooth batter.
  • Combine this with the remaining whole grain flour and salt. You can add water if needed to make the batter to your preferred consistency.
  • Cover and allow it to ferment overnight.
  • In the morning, grease an idli mould and pour a spoonful of batter into each mould.
  • Steam it in an idli steamer or cooker for 10 minutes.
  • Eat the idlis with sambar.

5. Lentils Dosa

Lentils are a great source of protein, which is necessary for proper growth of the unborn baby. Lentil dosas are healthy, and they also taste delicious.


What You Will Need:

  • 2 cups idli rice
  • ¼ cup green gram (moong dal)
  • ¼ cup pigeon peas (toor dal)
  • ¼ cup black gram (urad dal)
  • ¼ cup Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 3 tbsp chickpea (channa)
  • 3 tbsp kidney beans (rajma)
  • 1 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • 3 red chillies
  • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • Salt and oil

 How to Prepare:

  • Wash and soak all the ingredients except asafoetida for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Drain and blend everything together.
  • Add the asafoetida and salt to make a smooth, thick batter.
  • You can allow it to ferment overnight or prepare it without fermentation.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan and grease it.
  • Pour a ladle full of batter on to the pan and spread it in a circular motion to make a 6 to 8-inch dosa.
  • Add a few drops of oil along its edges and cook on medium flame until the dosa is crisp and golden brown.
  • Turn it over and let it cook on the other side for a few seconds.
  • Eat it with coconut chutney or sambar.

6. Ragi Idlis

Ragi idlis are another protein-rich dish you must include in your breakfast. Like most idli preparations, you will need to make the batter in advance.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup semolina (rava), dry roasted and cooled
  • 1 cup finger millet (ragi)
  • 1 cup sour curd
  • Water
  • Salt and oil


How to Prepare:

  • Mix the ragisemolina, salt and curd in a bowl.
  • Add water to get a smooth, idli-batter-like consistency.
  • Set aside for ½ an hour.
  • If the batter has thickened, add more water.
  • Grease an idli mould and pour a spoonful of batter into each mould.
  • Steam the idlis in a cooker or idli steamer for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove the idlis from the mould after they cool down a bit.
  • Have them with chutney and sambar. 

7. Oats Upma

This recipe is very nutritious for pregnant women as it contains several vegetables and whole grain. This recipe is very nutritious for pregnant women as it contains several vegetables and whole grains.

What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of finely chopped vegetables like carrots, beans, cabbage, and peas
  • 1 cup dry roasted oats
  • 1 chopped green chilli
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric powder
  • ½ tablespoon grated ginger
  • 5-10 curry leaves
  • A few sprigs of chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ tablespoon mustard seeds


How to Prepare:

  • Heat a deep pan and add ghee and oil to it.
  • Once the oil mixture is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and onion. Fry until the onion turns golden brown.
  • Next, add all the chopped vegetables, mix and cover with a lid to cook them for five minutes.
  • Add salt and turmeric powder.
  • Add a cup of water so that you can mix everything. Let the water come to a boil.
  • Add roasted oats and mix. Let the water get absorbed and wait until the oats get cooked properly.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander.
  • Eat it warm with some chutney.

8. Spinach Dosa

Spinach is a great source of iron. Including this power food in your breakfast will ensure your iron requirements are met for the day.

 What You Will Need:

  • 1/4thcup of split black lentils (urad dal)
  • 1cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • Water

How to Prepare:

  • Soak the split black lentils for at least 3 hours.
  • Drain the water and blend them in a blender.
  • Wash the spinach and roughly chop the leaves.
  • Blend the spinach in a blender to a smooth paste.
  • Add the wheat flour to the ground urad dal, and mix.
  • Add the spinach puree and salt, and mix well.
  • Add some water to get a dosa-like consistency.
  • Heat a non-stick tawa.
  • Pour a ladle full of the dosa batter and spread it to form a think pancake.
  • Pour some oil on the sides so that it doesn’t stick and cooks.
  • Flip the dosa and cook it from the other side.
  • Eat it with coconut chutney and sambar.

Apart from these recipes, you can try other healthy breakfast foods like vegetable and egg omelettes, oatmeal with dry fruits, nuts and honey, boiled eggs, and whole-grain muffins. You can include some freshly squeezed orange juice with your breakfast or have a small bowl of fresh, chopped fruits. A nutritious breakfast will ensure that you have the energy to get through the day. It will also provide your baby with the nourishment required for healthy development.

Also Read:

Healthy Foods to Eat during Pregnancy
Healthy Snacks During Pregnancy
Pregnancy Diet Chart

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