Planning what to eat during pregnancy is important. The foods you eat are the main source of nutrition your baby is getting. Making educated food choices will help your baby grow and develop more healthily.
You are eating for two, but that doesn’t mean you should indulge in every pregnancy craving you get. Eating pickles and ice cream should not be a part of your daily diet during pregnancy. You will want to have a well balanced diet with the proper portions for your stage of pregnancy. It is important to make healthy choices when it comes to what to eat during pregnancy.
Tips on a what to eat during pregnancy
- Choose foods from each food group for every meal
- Four to six smaller meals in a day instead of three larger meals could aid in relieving common discomforts during your pregnancy
- Make sure your whole meal fits on one plate, this helps with portion size
- Fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables
- Stay well hydrated, drink plenty of water
How many calories should you eat during pregnancy
Generally during your pregnancy you will need to consume 300 more calories per day during your second and third trimesters. The exact amount depends on your weight before pregnancy. If you were under weight, you may need more and if you were overweight before pregnancy you may need less. You should talk to your health care provider to determine the right amount of calories to be eating during your pregnancy.
You do need to be eating more during your pregnancy, but it should be by making healthy choices to get more of the good calories you and your baby need. You should include protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamin and mineral rich foods in your meals. To healthily consume the calories you need meals should not be skipped.
How much from each food group should I eat during pregnancy
The following suggested amounts of food are suggested for a woman in her mid twenties, who has a normal weight and exercises daily for 30 – 60 minutes a day. If you are older, overweight or follow a different exercise routine, you should consult with your health care provider and only use the following as a guideline.
This food group includes carbohydrates, or your energy source. Whole grain options are also good sources of fiber, iron, B vitamins, minerals and a bit of protein. Trade in your sugary cereal and white bread and pastas for whole grain or brown rice. Look at the ingredients and choose products that list whole grain first.
You should eat 6 ounces of grains per day in the first trimester, 7 ounces in the second trimester and 8 ounces in the third trimester.
1 ounce of grain is equal to 1 slice of bread or ½ cup cooked grain or pasta.
This food group includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans. Protein is crucial for your baby’s health especially during your second and third trimesters. The foods in this group are full of protein but also B vitamins and iron. Fish has omega-3 fatty acid which promotes healthy brain development.
You should eat 6 oz of meat per day in the first trimester and 6 ½ oz per day in the second and third trimesters. If you measure protein in grams you would want to eat between 60g and 70 g per day.
1 ounce of protein is equal to about 1 ounce of meat, 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, ¼ cup beans, or 12 almonds.
Fruits are full of vitamins and are most beneficial raw. You could add fruit to your breakfast or have fresh berries or an apple for snack. Walk through your produce department or local farmers market for fresh fruits that are in season.
You should have 1 ½ to 2 cups a day in the first trimester and 2 cups per day in the second and third trimesters.
½ cup fruit is equal to ½ cup berries or ½ of a fruit like an apple, orange, mango or banana, or about ½ cup 100 percent fruit juice but too much fruit juice could lead to undesired weight gain.
Vegetables have plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Dark green leafy vegetables are important to have daily because they contain vitamin A, iron and folate which are all important nutrients during your pregnancy.
You should have 5 cups of vegetables a day in your first trimester and 6 cups of vegetables in your second and third trimester.
1 cup of vegetables is equal to 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables, 2 cups of leafy vegetables or 1 medium sweet potato.
You should have 3 cups of dairy a day throughout your pregnancy regardless of your height, weight, or exercise level.
If you have trouble digesting dairy products you should talk to your health care provider for other ways to get those vitamins into your diet.
What to eat while pregnant: Sample Menu
- Breakfast: Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie
- Lunch: Tomato Soup with Tuna on a Salad
- Snack: Whole Grain Tortillas with Salsa & Guacamole
- Dinner: Cole Slaw with Roasted Vegetables & 1/4-cup Hemp Seeds
- Breakfast: Eggs Florentine
- Lunch: Stuffed Portobello
- Snack: Crackers and Veggies with Hummus
- Dinner: Chili
Last Updated: 09/2013
- Breakfast: Yogurt with Granola & Fresh Berries
- Lunch: Taco Salad on Brown Rice and Greens
- Snack: Trail Mix
- Dinner: Chicken Salad on Greens with Almonds