Healthy pregnancy diet plan: During your pregnancy, you’ll be eating for two (you and your baby). But don’t think of this as eating twice as much. Instead, think of it as eating twice as well.
If your diet isn’t exactly stellar — you enjoy junk food, you tend to skip meals or you eat a limited variety of foods — start making changes now. In fact, it’s a good idea to make healthy eating a part of your pregnancy planning from the start. The reason: Most of your baby’s major organs form during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Eating well helps create ideal conditions for early fetal development. Over the course of your pregnancy, there are certain nutrients you’ll want more of, too, such as iron, calcium, folic acid and other essential vitamins and nutrients.
Don’t worry! Eating right doesn’t mean taking the fun out of eating, or that you have to follow a rigid pregnancy diet plan. To get proper nourishment, you want to enjoy a variety of foods.
Healthy pregnancy diet plan: Making every bite count
Truth be told, there’s no magic formula for a healthy pregnancy diet plan. In fact, the basic principles of healthy eating recommended for everyone apply to pregnant women as well. What are those principles? Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose lean protein and low-fat dairy products. And select a variety of foods. If you can remember these key principles, you and baby will be well on your way to a balanced diet.
Eating at least three smaller meals a day and making sure you snack on healthy foods is a good way to eat well and get the nutrients you need. For the nitty-gritty, see table pregnancy diet plan. It lists the different food groups and number of daily servings to strive for while you’re pregnant. If you’re worried that you’re not eating well, writing down what you eat every day for a week or so can help you become more aware of your food choices and where you might make some improvements.
Also pay close attention to ingredient lists and nutrition information on food labels. This information can help you keep track of sugars and fats, which add calories but little nutrition to your diet. It’s also wise not to eat too many salty foods. If you’re pregnant with twins or other multiples, you’ll likely need more nutrients and calories.
Talk to your care provider about how many calories you’ll need.
Diet plan during pregnancy
With a few exceptions—e.g., folate and iron—for which supplements are needed, here’s how your nutrient requirements translate into food choices in the following diet. Both pregnant women and teens can use this guide.
|FOOD GROUP||FOOD CHOICES||RECOMMENDED
(carbohydrates, iron,fiber; choose whole-grainas often as possible)
|Whole-grain bread, 1 slice
Bagel, large, 1/4
Roll, large, 1/2
Pita pocket, 1/2
Cereal, cold, 3/4 cup (175 ml)
Cereal, 100% bran, 1/2 cup (125 ml)
Cereal, hot, 1/2 cup (125 ml)
Crackers, soda, 6
Corn, 1/2 cup (125 ml)
Popcorn, plain, 3 cups (750 ml)
|5 to 12|
|Vegetables & Fruits
|Vegetables, cooked/raw, 1/2 cup (125 ml)
Vegetables, leafy green, 1 cup (250ml)
Fruit, whole, 1 piece
|5 to 10|
|Milk & Milk Alternatives
(8 grams protein
vitamin D,vitamin A, zinc)
|Milk, 1 cup (250 ml)
Yogurt, 3/4 cup (175 ml)
Cheese, 1.5 oz (45 g)
Rice beverage, fortified, 1 cup (250ml)
Soy beverage, fortified, 1 cup (250ml)
|3 to 4|
|Meat & Alternatives
(7 grams protein per
serving;protein, iron, zinc)
|Fish, lean meat, poultry, 1 oz
Egg, whole, 1
Egg whites, 2
Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils), 1/3 cup (80 ml)
Soy nuts, 2 tbsp (30 ml)
|6 to 9|
|Fats & Oils*
(essential fatty acids,
|Butter, margarine, mayonnaise, 1 tsp (5 ml)
Nuts/seeds, 1 tbsp (15 ml)
|4 to 6|
|Water/Fluid||Water, 1 cup (250 ml)
Herbal tea, 1 cup (250 ml)
|8 to 12|
All serving sizes are based on measures after cooking.
*To include sources of essential fatty acids choose canola oil, walnut oil, flaxseed oil and nuts and seeds more often as your fat servings.
How to eat healthy while pregnant : FOODS TO EAT MORE OF
As you may already know, fish is an excellent source of a special type of fat called omega-3. Researchers are learning that omega-3 fats may keep us healthy in many ways. Studies suggest that a special omega-3 fat in fish, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may aid in proper brain development during fetal life. Some researchers even hypothesize that a lack of omega-3 fats during your pregnancy can result in learning and behavioral disorders later in a child’s life.
Mothers and their growing babies can get DHA in two ways: by eating fish, especially oily varieties like salmon, trout, sardines, herring and mackerel; or by consuming other types of omega-3 fats that the body uses to make DHA.
If you don’t like fish, make sure you include the following foods in your diet: canola oil, walnuts and walnut oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, Omega-3 eggs, soybeans, tofu and leafy green vegetables. These foods all contain an omega-3 fat called alphalinolenic acid (ALA) that is essential to the body. Our bodies can’t produce ALA and so it must be supplied from food. Once we consume ALA, a small amount is converted into other omega-3 fats, including DHA. Because this essential fat must be part of the diet, your developing baby depends on your intake of both ALA and DHA in fish.
I have already emphasized the importance of meeting your folate requirements to prevent a neural tube defect in your newborn. But this issue is so important I want to mention it again. In addition to getting supplemental folic acid from your prenatal multivitamin or a separate folic acid supplement, aim to include at least two good sources of folate in your daily diet. Eat fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, dried peas, beans and lentils, avocado, asparagus and orange juice.
Find out more about: Healthy PREGNANCY MEAL PLAN
Optional Video : Healthy Pregnancy Diet | Parents