List of Best Nigeria Food recommended for Pregnant Women

Last updated on May 14th, 2023 at 12:13 pm

5 minutes read. 


The time of nurturing a new life in your womb is a beautiful and delicate moment that comes with a lot of changes in your body system. As a result, taking proper care in intentionally selecting what you eat should be your top priority.

In Nigeria, there are a large variety of foods and vegetables that you can blend creatively to provide healthy meals for you and your unborn child.

There are traditional ways of cooking many Nigerian dishes and modern ways as well but the goal during pregnancy is to promote the health of the mother and her unborn child.

My mother gave birth to eight children and had never lacked blood or had any pregnancy dietary problems.

She doesn’t take any supplements during pregnancy rather she makes sure to eat enough locally sourced nutritious food, vegetables, and fruits. And she always gives birth to a succulent beautiful attractive baby. I am going to give you she secrete in this post.

Eating a nutritious diet during pregnancy is an expresses way to help your unborn child have a well-developed brain and a healthy weight at birth, and can reduce the risk of many birth defects.

A balanced diet will also reduce the risks of anemia (lack of blood), as well as other unpleasant pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and morning sickness.

In this article, I will show you a list of the best Nigerian food recommended to pregnant women and some of which is what my mother used during her prenatal time.

Feel free to skip ahead.

Dark Green Vegetables, Legumes, Tuber crops, Eggs and poultry meat, Biscuit bone, Bone marrow, Bone broth and Liver, Lean Protein-rich foods, Fish and other Seafood, Milk, Whole grain, Nuts and Seed plants, Fruits, Recipe Tips, Conclusion

Let’s jump in

1. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

The dark green vegetable is a rich source of folate a natural vitamin B9.

 If you can lay your hands on dark green vegetables at least 3 to 4 times a week when you’re a pregnant couple with other nutritious food I mention here Believe me you don’t need any other artificial folic acid supplement. My mom doesn’t play with dark green vegetables and eggs when she is pregnant. (1)

Folate is a B vitamin that’s used in the formation of our red blood cells, but it has particular importance before and during pregnancy.

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in food. Taking in enough B9 will help prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine specifically, a neural tube defect called spina bifida.

This vitamin also supports the healthy growth and development of the baby and the placenta (which is why you need more during early pregnancy).

Eating foods high in folate before and during pregnancy can help you ensure you’re getting enough of this super-important nutrient.

To retain folate in dark green vegetables, don’t overcook them just a few minutes of heat is ok. Make sure it still retains its fleshy texture and taste after cooking.  Understand that heat can easily destroy folate in dark green vegetables.

Examples: okuru, pumpkin leaves (ugu, ayu), spinach, lettuce, cabbage, garden egg leaves (ayara and awa), green, waterleaf, and bitter leaf.

These vegetables provide you with a lot of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins

There are many of these vegetables in a typical Nigerian market either in local or urban areas.

You can use some of these vegetables to cook your soups, sauces, porridge yam, porridge beans, jollof rice, or stew rice.

Other Foods rich in Folate include:

Okuru or okra

Black beans (especially the flesh once-akidi)

Oil bean (ukpaka or ugba)



Kidney beans


Here are the folate contents of dark green vegetables:

2. Legumes

Legumes include foods like beans, Fiofio/agbugbu (sorghum), Bambara nuts (okpa), green beans, black beans (akidi both fresh and dry), kidney beans, soybeans, and peas. (2, 3)

All these food are rich in protein, fiber, folate, and iron which helps build the muscles and red blood cells of you and your unborn baby. As an Igbo woman, my mom doesn’t play with fresh black beans (akidi) with abacha (African salads).

Try mixing these foods with vegetables like ugu leaf, green, waterleaf, cabbage, or fresh tomatoes to increase digestion and absorption and take enough water.

Here are some legumes Nigeria recipes you can enjoy:

Akara (bean cake) with akamu/ogi

Moi-moi (another type of bean cake) with akamu or soaked garri.

Porridge beans with plantain or yam or potatoes

Beans with rice

Bambara nut pudding (Okpa).

My mom doesn’t play with moimoi.

Here are the folate contents of some legumes:

3. Tuber crops

For example; yams, potatoes, cassava (fufu/eba/garri/tapioca/abacha/alibo are all gotten from cassava), cocoyam (ede/edeachicha/ede ofe). This food provides you with enough dairy calories (energy) and fiber including vitamin A, from potatoes. (4,5)

4. Eggs

Eggs are powerful superfoods. They are rich in protein and contain all the essential amino acids needed in the body. When you eat one or two eggs you have eaten one full chicken. Believe me, the protein content in two eggs is far higher than the protein content in two raps of chicken. (6, 7)

They are a great source of choline, a vital nutrient that prevents malformations foetus and helps your unborn child baby have a well- developed brain.

Eggs are a rich source of Vitamin A that helps promote your vision and your unborn child.

Eggs are incredibly versatile. You can add scrambled, soft-boiled, or hard-boiled eggs to your breakfast. They are low in calories but give you long-lasting satiety.

My mom normally uses raw eggs to prepare dark green vegetables like pumpkin leaf or ayara leaf with crayfish and organ meat like liver. Her vegetable soup or sauce is always half done or mildly cooked meaning that the fleshy texture and taste must be retained after cooking. 

One of her secrete is that she prepare the fleshy soup in small quantity and make sure she finished it at ago. She eats little or no food when she prepares this kind of soup rather she mostly ricks the whole soup at a serving.

5. Biscuit bone, Bone marrow, Bone broth, and Liver

When you’re pregnant you don’t need beef meat what you need are biscuit bone (soft bone/chewable part of the bone), bone marrow (umi anu), bone broth (mmiri okpukpu anu) and the liver (mmejuru anu).(8)

My mom told me she rarely eats meat when she is pregnant but doesn’t joke about these parts of meat I mention above.

This part of beef gives you enough protein, calcium, folate (folate from the liver), collagen, and healthy fats (Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from bone marrow) you need to nurture your unborn baby perfectly.

In fact, any pregnant woman shouldn’t joke about eating soft bone (biscuit bone). At least you should take it twice or once a week.

Related: Is it Healthy to Eat Avocados during Pregnancy?

Related: Taking Folic Acid during Pregnancy: What really is the Function?


Here is how you can get bone broth, bone marrow, and soft bone:

When you go to any slaughter ask the butcher to give you biscuit bone (soft bone) and piece the strong bone for you.

When you go home wash the bone thoroughly with salt and warm water, add about 2 to 4 liters of water into it depending on the size of the bone you purchase, and add salt and other natural spices like ginger, garlic, nutmeg, onions, and chili pepper to your taste, mix it well and cook until the soft bone (biscuit bone) in it become chewable.

Allow cooling to your taste. Use a plate to fetch the water that comes from it and drink and chew all the parts of the bone that are soft. That’s the simple method to prepare the bone broth. This can give you up to three or four serving and eat not more than two pieces of biscuit bone in a serving.

You can also use the soft bone to cook soup or stew.

6. Lean Protein-rich foods

Lean proteins are excellent sources of protein, iron, B vitamins, and other minerals.

Iron is required in larger amounts during pregnancy because it is needed to form red blood cells for you and your unborn child.

And since your blood volume is increasing, you will need more iron, especially during your third trimester.

Ensure to cook your meat properly before eating, as undercooked meat may transfer a harmful bacteria called Listeria that may cause a miscarriage. (9)

Food rich in lean protein includes:

Goat meat





7. Fish and other Seafood

Fish and seafood are packed with protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty (especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) acids that are good for a baby’s brain development.

However, take note that most imported fishes eaten in Nigeria contain high levels of mercury an element that is toxic to both mother and foetus. Therefore buy seafood and fish locally sourced from Nigeria.

Examples of safe fish to eat during pregnancy include:



Shrimp (crayfish)



Mangara (dry fish)

Tilapia (arahuru/okpo)

Crabs (nshiko) (10,11, 12)

8. Milk

Products like milk, unsweetened yogurt, cheese, nunu (locally prepared milk), and skim milk, provide you with protein and calcium to meet the needs of you and your unborn child. (13,14)

Milk especially yogurt is the best source of dietary calcium. They also provide you with high amounts of phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.

8. Whole grain

Whole grains like brown rice, local white rice (kunushinkapa, masara, tuwo masara are gotten from rice), corn (oka, tuwo masara), and popcorn, oats, quinoa, millet, and fonio are great in pregnancy. (15)

They are rich sources of complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium.

You should eat more vegetables and whole grains in your third trimester, as it helps prevent digestive issues that may arise due to the pressure the baby places on your digestive system

Here are the folate contents of some whole grain/cereal.

9. Nuts and Seed plants: like cashew nuts, groundnut (groundnut butter -ose oji from groundnut), oil bean (ukpaka/ugba abacha), breadfruit seed (mkpuru ukwa or its juice-mmiri ukwa), egwusi (melon seed), achi, akparata and ofo seed, ogbono/ujuru seed, and Tigger nuts, all are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals perfect for you and your unborn baby quality health. (16)

10. Spices and herbs: fresh ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, yellow curry powder and green curry leaf, garlic onion, onions (including spring onions) ogiri, okpenye, mkpuru uziza, chili pepper, alligator pepper, cent leaf (ncheawu/ahuuju/aligbe) are among natural spices and herbs you should eat when you’re pregnant. (17)

11. Fruits: like mangoes, cashew fruit/apple, apple, pineapples avocado, African butter pear (ube oka), udara/agbarimo (African cherry), banana and plantain, cucumber, carrots, and date (debino) are all great source of vitamins you need when you’re pregnant. (18)


Stay away from refined sugar (white sugar) instead get the simple sugar you need by eating date fruit (debino), sugarcane, and original honey.

These coupled with the simple sugar you get from sweet fruits (glucose, fructose, and sucrose), will give you more than enough sugar you need to prevent hypoglycemia while pregnant.

All these kind of diet was my mothers secrete to always deliver strong beautiful succulent attractive baby during the prenatal time she told me.

They are many other ideal foods you can eat when you are pregnant, it all depends on the kind of food available in your area. So don’t forget to talk with your doctor about your diet plan while pregnant in case you’re confused at any point.

Recipe Tip

Nigeria’s list of soup recipes you can enjoy while pregnant includes:

Ogbono soup

Okuru/okra soup

Egwusi soup

Ede soup

Ofe nsala- White soup

Banga soup

Sawa soup

Groundnut soup

Jogole soup

Groundnut soup

Afan soup

Ukwa (bread fruits)

Abacha agworoagwo (Abacha that has been mixed with all the African nutritious ingredients)

Ewedu soup

Vegetable soup


The time of nurturing a new life in your womb is a beautiful and delicate moment that comes with a lot of changes in your body system. As a result, taking proper care in intentionally selecting what you eat should be your top priority.

In Nigeria, there is a large variety of foods and vegetables that you can blend creatively to provide healthy meals for you and your unborn child.

Here is a list of nutritious food you can creatively combine to make a healthy pregnancy diet:

  • Dark Green Vegetables.
  • Legumes
  • Tuber crops.
  • Eggs and poultry meat
  • Biscuit bone, Bone marrow, Bone broth, and Liver
  • Lean Protein-rich foods
  • Fish and other Seafood
  • Milk
  • Whole grain
  • Nuts and Seed plants:
  • Fruits:

I hope you get the value worth your time. I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment if you like this post. Do you have any questions as regards what to eat during pregnancy? Feel free to share with me in the comment below. 


The content provided in living Good Blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal doctor. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Living Good Blog takes no responsibility for possible health consequences of any person(s) reading or following the information in this educational content. Viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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