One of the most important nutrients for pregnant women is a B vitamin called folate (or folic acid when you take it in a supplement) — and lentils are packed with it. Folate is vital to forming your baby's brain and nervous system and has a powerful protective effect against neural-tube defects like spina bifida, a birth disorder in which part of the spine is exposed. Lentils also boast protein, vitamin B6 and iron. Plus, they're particularly intestine-friendly (and spouse-friendly) and can readily absorb a variety of flavors from other foods and seasonings. Eat as a side dish or toss into salads, soups and stews.
Don't like lentils? Spinach is also rich in folate, along with iron, vitamin A and calcium. Buy it in ready-to-eat, prewashed bags and eat it raw, in a salad, as a wilted bed for fish or chicken, or layered in lasagna.
Tip: Because the benefit of folate is so significant — and most effective very early in pregnancy (usually before you even know you've conceived) — most cereal, pasta, bread and rice products are now fortified with folic acid, and it's a major ingredient in prenatal supplements.