4 Healthy Salads Packed With Prenatal Nutrients

Full of healthy fruits and vegetables, these salads contain vital nutrients your pregnant body needs, including calcium, folate, iron, and protein.

Healthy Salad

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No matter how you toss it, a salad makes an awesome lunch or dinner, particularly in the warmer months. That's because these easy-to-make meals truly satisfy—and aren't too heavy in the summer heat. Full of wholesome, summer-fresh fruits and vegetables, entrée salads can contain vital nutrients your pregnant body needs, including calcium, folate, iron, and protein. Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is good for your baby, too.

The salad recipes below are filling, too, thanks to the fiber-rich produce and added protein from ingredients like lean meat, cheese, and legumes. Full-meal salads also can satisfy cravings (or accommodate new aversions) because you can toss almost anything into a salad bowl with spectacular results. Feel free to experiment and use anything you've got on hand in your fridge to make your own salad creations.

Want Italian? Think ripe tomatoes, white beans, and peppery arugula. In the mood for meat? Try grilled pork over spinach with red grapes and goat cheese. These vibrant salads combine terrific flavor, filling fiber, and important vitamins and minerals. Bon appétit!

Protein-Packed Chicken Arugula Salad

This salad's hearty combination of beans, chicken, tomatoes, and arugula will keep you satisfied all afternoon. Plus, chicken boosts the protein quotient—and provides other important nutrients during pregnancy like zinc, copper, iron, thiamin, and vitamin B6.


  • 12 cups arugula leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons grainy mustard
  • 2 ounces Asiago cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)


  1. Combine arugula, cherry tomatoes, and white beans in a large bowl.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, chicken tenders, and several pinches of salt and pepper; sauté until juicy and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add to salad.
  3. Whisk the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil with vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to coat.
  4. Divide salad among four dinner plates and sprinkle with Asiago cheese.

Serves 4; Nutritional information per serving (2 1/2 cups with 1/4 pound chicken tenders): 445 calories, 32% fat (16 g), 31% carbohydrate (34 g), 37% protein (41 g), 7 g fiber, 5 mg iron, 343 mg calcium, 146 mcg folate.

Folate-Filled Flank Steak & Asparagus Salad

Juicy steak and tender-crisp asparagus make a delicious combination, particularly when the green vegetable is at its peak in the spring. One serving of this salad also provides more than half of your daily requirement for folate (600 mcg), which is a key nutrient in pregnancy that promotes healthy fetal brain and spinal development.


  • 3 tablespoons garlic oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cups mixed spring greens
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 pound raw flank steak
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 4 slices whole-grain sandwich bread, toasted and cut into small squares
  • 8 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat a grill or broiler to medium. Whisk together garlic oil and lemon juice until combined to make the salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Place mixed spring greens in a large salad bowl. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 6 minutes, or until tender yet still crisp. Remove spears with a slotted spoon; set aside to cool.
  3. Bring the same skillet of water back to a boil. Poach eggs by breaking open each egg and gently slipping them into the water. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 to 6 minutes, occasionally spooning water over the yolks to help cook them (yolks should be soft-cooked when you're done).
  4. Rub flank steak on both sides with garlic, soy sauce, and several pinches of salt and pepper. Place steak on the grill or broiler pan. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn over and cook an additional 4 minutes, or until steak is rosy in the center when cut. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest.
  5. Cut cooled asparagus into 1-inch pieces; add to the salad bowl, along with toast squares. Toss the salad mixture with half of the dressing.
  6. Divide salad among four shallow salad bowls. Place a poached egg over greens. Cut flank steak on the diagonal into thin slices, then arrange steak slices around each egg. Drizzle salads with steak juices and the remaining dressing, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.

Serves 4; Nutritional information per serving (3 cups salad, 1 egg, 1 slice whole-grain toast, 3 ounces flank steak, and 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese): 473 calories, 49% fat (26 g), 20% carbohydrate (24 g), 31% protein (37 g), 6 g fiber, 6 mg iron, 183 mg calcium, 304 mcg folate.

Calcium-Rich Veggie Ricotta Bowl

Veggies like zucchini and peppers and dairy in the form of ricotta cheese, buttermilk, and sour cream create a fabulous, nutrient-rich bowl. One serving provides almost half your daily requirement for calcium (1,000 mg). And the sliced almonds and petite peas provide a delightful crunch.


  • 12 cups mâche (also called lamb's lettuce; or use spinach or mixed spring greens)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons garlic oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups petite peas
  • 1 cup skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted


  1. Place mâche in a large bowl.
  2. Combine basil, buttermilk, sour cream, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of garlic oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour half of the dressing over mâche; gently toss to mix.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add zucchini and yellow pepper slices. Sauté for 6 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper. Heat peas.
  4. Arrange a portion of mâche in four shallow bowls. Spoon a portion of warm zucchini-pepper mixture on one side of greens and a portion of peas on the other side. Place 1/4 cup ricotta in the center. Drizzle salads with remaining dressing; top with toasted almonds.

Serves 4; Nutritional information per serving (3 cups salad and 1/4 cup ricotta): 279 calories, 36% fat (11 g), 36% carbohydrate (25 g), 28% protein (20 g), 9 g fiber, 3 mg iron, 483 mg calcium, 182 mcg folate.

Iron-Packed Pork and Spinach Salad

The pork and spinach in this delectable salad are more than just delicious: One serving provides about 1/5 of your daily requirement of iron (27 mg). Add in the grapes, couscous, and feta and you've got a star-studded meal.


  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, fat trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 6 whole dried figs, chopped
  • 1 cup red grapes, cut in half
  • 2 ounces aged pasteurized goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 12 cups spinach leaves, washed


  1. Heat grill to medium or oven to 375° F.
  2. Brush tenderloin with olive oil, then rub with cumin, coriander, and several pinches of salt and pepper.
  3. Grill or roast tenderloin on a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven for 8 minutes on one side. Turn and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until rosy but cooked through.
  4. Remove tenderloin from grill or oven and let stand for 1 minute, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  5. While pork cooks, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, stir, and turn off the heat. Cover the saucepan; let couscous rest for 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork; transfer to a medium bowl. When cool, add figs, grapes, and goat cheese.
  6. Whisk together honey and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl until the honey dissolves. Pour half the dressing over the couscous; gently toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide spinach among four large plates. Top with a portion of couscous mixture, followed by pork slices. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Serves 4; Nutritional information per serving (3 cups spinach, 1 cup couscous mixture, and 1/4 pound pork): 517 calories, 21% fat (12 g), 54% carbohydrate (70 g), 25% protein (32 g), 9 g fiber, 6 mg iron, 283 mg calcium, 196 mcg folate.

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