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Choline Up Your Diet: 7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Intake for a Healthy Pregnancy

Choline is an essential nutrient that is needed for fetal development during pregnancy. It helps in brain development and helps prevent neural tube defects, which are serious birth defects of the brain and spine. It is recommended that pregnant women consume at least 450 mg of choline per day between food and supplements. Despite its importance, choline is not included in most prenatal vitamins and those that do contain it provide only a fraction of the recommended daily intake. So let's explore some easy ways to add more choline to your diet.

1. Eat more eggs

Egg yolks are one of the best sources of choline, with one large egg yolk containing around 147 mg of choline. Eating eggs for breakfast or adding them to salads, sandwiches, or other meals is an easy way to increase your choline intake. Not fan of eggs? Try out eggy oats!

2. Incorporate liver into your diet

Liver is a nutrient-dense food that is high in choline. A 3-ounce serving of beef liver contains around 355 mg of choline and a 3-ounce serving of chicken liver contains around 245 mg of choline. While liver may not be a favorite food for some, it can be included in dishes such as pate or incorporated into meatloaf or burgers for added flavor and nutrition.

3. Add beans and legumes to your meals

Beans and legumes are a good source of choline and can be added to soups, stews, salads, or as a side dish. One cup of navy beans contains around 115 mg of choline, while one cup of lentils contains around 72 mg.

4. Eat more cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are not only packed with nutrients such as fiber and vitamin K, but also contain choline. One cup of cooked broccoli or Brussels sprouts contain around 60 mg of choline.

5. Incorporate seafood into your diet

Seafood is a good source of choline, with salmon, cod, and shrimp being among the highest sources. A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains up to 187 mg of choline, while a 3-ounce serving of cod contains around 71 mg.

6. Snack on nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are not only a good source of healthy fats and protein but also contain choline. One ounce of peanuts contains around 15 mg of choline, while one ounce of sunflower seeds contains around 21 mg.

7. Choose choline-fortified foods

Some foods such as cereals, milk, and energy bars may be fortified with choline. Check the nutrition labels to see if these products contain choline and choose them as a convenient way to add more choline to your diet.


Choline is essential for fetal brain development and helps prevent neural tube defects during pregnancy. Because there is often little to no choline in prenatal vitamins, it is important to incorporate choline-rich foods into your diet. Try adding some of these foods to your meals to increase your choline intake and support you and your growing baby. Still struggling to meet your nutrient needs? A registered dietitian can help create a nutrition plan tailored to ensure you meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy. Send an email to to schedule a free introductory appointment. 


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