Pregnancy Breakfasts: What Should They Include?

It's important to optimize pregnancy breakfasts to achieve a sufficient intake of good essential nutrients. Here's what they should include!
Pregnancy Breakfasts: What Should They Include?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Reviewed and approved by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 02 October, 2022

Optimizing breakfasts during pregnancy will be important in order to meet nutritional requirements and ensure the proper development of the fetus. Otherwise, the mother’s health and that of the baby growing inside her could be affected. As a general rule, priority should always be given to the consumption of fresh, nutrient-dense foods when it comes to pregnancy breakfasts.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that the diet of pregnant women has a number of restrictions. For example, be careful with sausages, lunch meats, and raw animal foods. It’s best to avoid them completely so as not to contract any type of infection that could have fatal consequences.

What should breakfast during pregnancy contain?

First of all, breakfast during pregnancy must contain sufficient protein. These nutrients are essential to promote tissue growth and ensure the development of the fetus. In fact, requirements are increased during this period, as evidenced by research published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism. In this regard, it’s best to provide more than 1 gram per kilogram of weight per day.

A pregnant woman making an omelette.
Including eggs or dairy at breakfast during pregnancy is important for because of their high biological value proteins.

Include dairy or eggs in pregnancy breakfasts

To meet this need, it’s best to include dairy or eggs in the first meal of the day. Both foods provide high biological value proteins with all the essential amino acids inside. Also, they score well in terms of digestibility, so their absorption rate will be positive. Therefore, the mother will be less likely to experience a deficit as the weeks go by.

Ensure fiber and carbohydrate intake

When choosing a carbohydrate source for pregnancy breakfasts, it’s best to ensure that these are complex. It’s important to ensure a high amount of fiber as well. In this way, glycemia is controlled and intestinal motility is stimulated in order to avoid constipation. Constipation is particularly common during pregnancy and can cause significant discomfort. A study published in the BMJ Clinical Evidence confirms this. Some foods that can be included are the following:

  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Orange juice
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Banana
  • Kiwi fruit

The importance of vegetables in pregnancy breakfasts

A woman setting fresh fruits and vegetabkles on the counter.
Vegetables provide a good amount of micronutrients and antioxidants, so it’s good to include them in your pregnancy breakfasts.

Don’t lose sight of the importance of also including vegetables in breakfasts during pregnancy. These foods are capable of providing a high amount of micronutrients and phytochemicals with antioxidant activity. They’re also able to neutralize the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the body’s tissues. Thanks to this, the mother will be less likely to suffer metabolic inefficiencies such as gestational diabetes.

This type of food also has a lot of fiber inside, so it will stimulate the transit and serve as an energy substrate for the bacteria that live in the intestine. Thus, dysbiosis situations that may affect the use of nutrients and the inflammatory state in the internal environment are avoided. Also, symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, or abdominal pain that can be really uncomfortable are avoided.

Therefore, a complete breakfast during pregnancy should consist of the following:

  • Dairy products or eggs
  • A grain, such as oatmeal
  • A piece of fruit

In addition, as a high-fat item, you can choose between extra virgin olive oil or avocado. Even nuts would be an excellent alternative. These are also capable of providing essential minerals such as selenium, iron, and zinc.

Plan good breakfasts during pregnancy

As you’ve seen in this article, it’s easy to design good breakfasts during pregnancy that manage to cover the requirements of essential nutrients to ensure the proper development of the fetus. What should be avoided at this time are sausages and lunch meats, certain types of cheese made from unpasteurized milk, and raw animal foods, such as smoked salmon. This prevents possible intoxications that could cause miscarriages.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s not a good idea to eat simple sugars or trans fats at any meal throughout the day. Otherwise, glycemia could be uncontrolled and inflammatory states could develop, leading to the genesis of diseases such as gestational diabetes. It’s best to prioritize good quality cis fats and complex carbohydrates. If you have any further doubts, remember to consult a specialist to receive a plan that’s personalized and adapted to your circumstances.

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  • Richter M, Baerlocher K, Bauer JM, et al. Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Ann Nutr Metab. 2019;74(3):242-250. doi:10.1159/000499374
  • Vazquez JC. Constipation, haemorrhoids, and heartburn in pregnancy. BMJ Clin Evid. 2010;2010:1411. Published 2010 Aug 3.