If you are planning on becoming pregnant, or have recently become pregnant, having a nutritious diet is probably one of your top concerns. Eating the right foods during pregnancy will ensure your child’s development and growth before they are born. For a balanced diet, try creating a food plan including all different kinds of foods needed to get the nutrients you and your baby will need during your pregnancy. this way, you will be less likely to skip on any important foods.
To get an idea of the types of foods you will need to consume for you and your baby, here are the general categories and recommended amounts for daily intake. We understand that eating the same things can be repetitive and tiring, but getting the nutrition you need doesn’t have to be that way, so we’ve included some creative ways to include each food type into your diet.
Note that the amount of each food will be on the lower end during your first trimester, then will need to increase to the higher end of the range we have provided during your second and third trimesters. (Daily recommended intakes are based on the diet of women 5’4″-5’9″ between 110-160lbs before pregnancy. If you of a different height or weight, consult Dr. Ayalon for a more accurate estimate)
Grains: 7-10 oz. daily
Grains are an important source of carbohydrates, B vitamins, and minerals. When choosing your grains, make sure at least half of those you eat are whole grains. To add grains to your diet, trade in your bowl of sugary cereal or white bread toast for fortified cereal and whole wheat toast. Switch white rice for brown rice, add barley and wild rice to soups, stews, and salads. Pay careful attention to labels of processed foods, and opt for choices that list whole grains and whole-wheat flour first. To get your full day’s intake of whole grains, incorporate one type of grain into each meal.
- • All-bran cereal with extra fiber or fortified breakfast cereals
- • Quinoa boiled with honey with Greek yogurt and fruit
- • Pearled barley topped with ground flaxseed and raisins and drizzled with honey
- • Rolled oats cooked with apples, cinnamon, soy milk, and topped with chopped almonds
- • Amaranth with banana, raisins, and pecans, flavored with honey or agave syrup
- • Sandwiches on whole-wheat breads
- • Savory wild rice with peanuts, seasoned with onion, cumin, mustard seeds, onion and garlic
- • Quinoa salad with radish, cucumbers, dill and avocado
- • Whole wheat pearl couscous salad with cherries and arugula
- • Brown rice with proteins and vegetables
- • Whole wheat dinner rolls
- • Wild rice pilaf mixed with barley and wheat berries
- • Honey oat quickbread
Fruits and Vegetables 5-6 cups daily
Five to six cups of fruits and veggies might sound like a lot, but this food group is one of the most diverse, making it easier to get the right vitamin, minerals without getting tired of eating the same things over and over again. Fruits and vegetables will be your source of essential nutrients like vitamin C for a strong immune system, iron absorption, and healthy gums; vitamin A for stronger bones; iron for hemoglobin production; and folic acid to support the placenta. Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber which aids in digestion.
- • Banana strawberry smoothie
- • Glass of orange juice
- • Strawberries, banana, and blueberries with yogurt
- • Blueberry zucchini muffins
- • Fruit salad with honey and lime
- • Cranberry spinach salad
- • Roasted eggplants
- • Green beans with garlic and citrus
- • Grilled zucchini and squash skewers
- • Broccolini sautéed with garlic
- • Thyme braised brussel sprouts
- • Roasted asparagus with almonds and garlic
- • Winter squash soup
- • Steamed artichokes with scallions
- • Root vegetable gratin
- • Oven roasted cauliflower
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, and Beans 6-7oz.
You may know these foods as commons sources of protein, but they will also provide you with vitamin B and iron. Protein is essential for your baby’s growth, especially during the your last two trimesters. You may feel nauseous at the thought of foods you normally eat for protein, which is normal for your first trimester, so to make sure you aren’t skipping out on important nutrients for your baby, try experimenting with other sources like fish and beans.
If you enjoy fish, you will be happy to know that it is a good source of protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids which will help your baby’s brain development. Be careful to avoid fish high in mercury like swordfish, tilefish, shark, and king mackerel. Fish that are safer choices with lower levels of mercury are catfish, salmon, flounder, tilapia, haddock, sardine, pollock, herring, anchovies, trout, whitefish, Boston mackerel, skate, snapper, monkfish, shad, and carp. Fish highest in omega-3 fatty acids are king (or Chinook) salmon, sardines, smelt, shad, and anchovies.
- • Bagel with Lox
- • Egg and Bean Burrito
- • Crab Quiche
- • Chicken and White Bean Salad
- • Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps
- • Curried Chicken Pitas
- • Turkey Burgers with Mozzarella
- • Shrimp Panzanella with Hard Boiled Eggs
- • Pan Fried Sole with Cucumber and Tomatoes
- • Crispy Turkey Tostadas
- • Chipotle and Orange Griller Chicken
- • Sesame Ginger Pork with Pineapples
- • Chicken Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole
- • Slow Cooked Pepper Steak
- • Cod Poached in Spicy Tomato Broth
Dairy 3 cups daily
Dairy is an important source for calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Make sure to get enough protein in order to help your baby’s bone development. Opt for low fat options to avoid going overboard. Yogurt, skim milk, and low fat cheeses are popular options for dairy intake. If you cannot digest dairy easily try lactose free products or take over the counter lactase enzymes to help digestion.
- • Cup of yogurt with fruit and granola
- • Banana Pudding
- • Cereal with Skim Milk
- • Oatmeal
- • Rice Pudding
- • Strawberry Smothie
- • Potato and Leek Soup
- • Goat Cheese and Beet Salad
- • Caprese Salad
- • Cream of Mushroom Soup
- • Fennel and Apple Salad with Cheddar Cheese
- • Potatoes au Gratin
- • Cheesy Artichoke Dip
- • Lentils and Artichokes with Parmigiano Reggiano
- • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- • Broccoli Soup
- • Mac and Cheese
- • Creamed Spinach
Water and Supplements -10 cups of water daily
You will need to drink even more water than usual during your pregnancy because water helps carry nutrients to your baby and can make your pregnancy more manageable by preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, swelling, and infection of the urinary tract and bladder. Juice is an alternative source of water, if you are not used to drinking that many cups of plain water daily. While coffee is a source of water, limit your caffeine intake to less than 200mg daily.
Prenatal vitamins are helpful in filling in any missed gaps and ensuring you get all the nutrients you need, but never substitute prenatal vitamins as your primary source of these vital nutrients. It is always better to obtain them from actual foods, as each kind of food delivers added benefits to you and your baby. Consult Dr. Ayalon about taking supplements, especially if you are vegetarian, have diabetes, or have any other chronic health conditions.
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