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Filipino Food for Pregnancy: 3 Healthy Recipes for Mommy and Baby

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Angela Luz Tarriela · Updated Nov 23, 2023

Filipino Food for Pregnancy: 3 Healthy Recipes for Mommy and Baby

During pregnancy, eating for two does not just mean just eating a lot. Proper nutrition must be observed in order to make sure that you and the baby are well-nourished during the 9 months of pregnancy. If you’re craving some home-cooked meals, try these recipes of Filipino food for pregnancy.

What Should Mommy be Eating?

Eating the right amount and kind of food is a must. According to the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intake (RENI, 2002), a pregnant woman must consume an additional 300 kilocalories per day (compared to a non-pregnant woman who must consume around 2,000 calories) to keep herself healthy.

Fortunately, Filipino food for pregnancy is highly nutritious and flavorful, making eating for two an enjoyable experience. 

As a guide, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-FNRI) also released a Daily Nutritional Guide Pyramid for Filipino Pregnant Women. 

With this guide, it is easier to prepare Filipino food for pregnancy at home. This will help ensure that all the nutritional needs of both the mother and child are met. Here is a selection of Filipino food for pregnancy recipes that you may have a craving for.  

Filipino Food for Pregnancy: Chicken Tinola 

This classic dish is one of the favorite types of Filipino food for pregnancy as it is rich in folic acid and protein. Folic acid is a B vitamin that is important in DNA production and reduces the risk of birth defects. 

While protein plays a big role in the baby’s physical and brain development, it is also essential in breast and uterine tissue growth for the mother. Likewise, it helps increase blood supply for both the mother and the baby. 

Adding malunggay leaves to this recipe also helps increase the milk supply of the mother. 


3 Tbsp cooking oil

¼ Cup ginger, crushed

3 Tbsp onion, Bombay, chopped

3 Cups chicken, breast, fillet, sliced

2 Tsps salt, iodized

3 Tbsp garlic, crushed, chopped

3 ¼ Cups papaya green, unripe, sliced

5 Cups water

3 Cups malunggay leaves

  1. In a pan, sauté ginger, onion, garlic, and chicken in oils. Cover and cook until chicken is tender.
  2. Season with salt.
  3. Add papaya. Cover and cook.
  4. Add water, boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add malunggay. Simmer for another minute. 

Filipino Food for Pregnancy: Monggo Guisado 

Monggo Guisado, a dish made from mung beans, is rich in calcium, which helps in the building of healthy bones. It also has potassium, zinc, and magnesium, which are essential in keeping the heart healthy and boosting the body’s immune system.


1 Tbsp corn oil

2 Cloves fresh garlic, crushed (or 1 Tbsp minced)

1 Cup white onions, chopped

1 Cup (4 ounces) lean pork, thinly sliced

4 Cups water

1 Cup ripe tomatoes, chopped

3½ Cups pre-cooked mung beans

(from 1¾ cups dry beans)*

1 Tsp salt

1 Tsp ground pepper

1 Cup (4 ounces) shrimp, peeled

and deveined

1 Cup (about ⅔ of a 10-ounce

package) leaf spinach, frozen

  1. In a skillet, sauté crushed garlic until lightly brown. 
  2. Add onion and tomatoes. Sauté until the skin begins to curl. 
  3. Add pork, and sauté until lightly brown. 
  4. Simmer pork in water for about 15 minutes. 
  5. Simmer the pork, onion, tomatoes, and garlic with the monggo for 15 minutes. 
  6. Season with salt and ground pepper. 
  7. Add peeled shrimp. 
  8. Add frozen leaf spinach, and cook for 4 minutes until done. 

Filipino Food for Pregnancy: Laing 

Another healthy Filipino food for pregnancy is laing, a dish that uses coconut milk and gabi. This recipe is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, which is one of the essentials for pregnant women. 

Iron helps the body produce more blood, so that it can supply oxygen to the baby. This also prevents iron deficiency anemia, which causes premature birth, low birth weight for the baby, and postpartum depression in mothers. Hence, during pregnancy, 30 mg of elemental iron is recommended to be consumed daily. 


100g dried taro (gabi) leaves 

2 Slices pork, cut into ¼ inch-thick strips

1 to 2 Tbsp shrimp paste, to taste

2 Cloves garlic, chopped

3 Cups coconut milk 

2 Cups coconut cream

1 small piece ginger, cut into strips

4 pieces of green finger chili, chopped

Optional: 3 Pieces red chili pepper, sliced thinly

  1. Place pork belly strips, submerged in water, in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook until water evaporates.
  3. Mix shrimp paste, garlic, coconut milk and ginger in the pan. Stir for around 2 minutes.
  4. Add the taro (gabi) leaves to the coconut milk. And avoid stirring the leaves. Let this boil until the leaves have absorbed all the liquid. 
  5. After about 10 minutes, add in the coconut cream and the chilies. Again, leave to boil, until the gabi has soaked up all the liquid and the flavor.
  6. Add more chillies, if desired. Serve warm with rice.

Key Takeaways

A pregnant woman must be mindful of what she eats, consuming adequate calories and nutritious dishes that can aid in her pregnancy.

The right amount of nutrients should always be considered in every meal. Filipino cuisine presents a variety of healthy dishes, allowing one to enjoy good, flavorful food even when on a stricter diet and eating for two. Explore and experiment with different Filipino food for pregnancy. 

Learn more about Prenatal Care here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Angela Luz Tarriela · Updated Nov 23, 2023

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