Healthy Pregnancy Diet

Pregnant Woman and Hands


As always, please consult with your doctor and follow his/her directions regarding your pregnancy. This article is not meant to give medical advice.

Your pregnancy test is positive and you find yourself already caressing your stomach in hopes that your little one can feel you. The next nine months are going to be an exciting time. A human life is growing inside of you. This new life is going to grow from a single sperm and egg into an adorable baby. It truly is a miracle.

In order to help this miracle along, it is essential for you to adopt a healthy pregnancy diet and eat as well as possible throughout your pregnancy. The first three months might be a little difficult to eat balanced meals if you are dealing with food aversions and morning sickness. If you are one of the lucky ones who won't be affected by morning sickness, then you can take full advantage of eating healthy from the start of your pregnancy.


Making sure you eat balanced nutritious meals is laying down a good foundation for your baby. A diet of junk food is not going to help your baby with bone development and organ formation. Your baby and you need calcium and vitamins to achieve all of this. Eating well during pregnancy is going to help your baby eat well after it is born.

As your pregnancy progresses, some of what you eat will cross the placenta and the taste will be in your baby's amniotic fluid. Babies swallow this fluid and their taste buds are so developed that even in the womb they are able to taste the flavors. Doctors believe that babies who are exposed to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables while in utero have less of a chance of being a fussy eater later in life. They believe that these are the babies who will eat their fruits and vegetables without putting up any fight.

Doctors also believe that moms who drink milk throughout their pregnancy have an easier time weaning their babies from formula or breast milk to regular milk. This however is only one benefit; the other benefit of drinking milk during your pregnancy is all the calcium you will be passing on to your baby. Many doctors recommend that you drink at least one eight oz glass of milk, usually fat free, a day. Calcium is a must-have for your baby's bones and teeth, even though you won't see teeth for at least a few months.


Staying away from junk food and sugary sweets is best, but this isn't to say that you have to stay away from all sweets all the time. You can indulge every now and then. Thanks to cravings, you may find yourself wanting sweets more often than not. You do have to keep it in moderation. Being pregnant should not be looked at as an excuse to eat whatever you want for nine months. Both you and your baby could pay a dear price.

Once you hit the second trimester, a healthy pregnancy diet means you should be eating about 300 more calories a day. Calories provide you with the extra energy that your body needs for the baby's growth. However, these extra calories should not give you the green light to chow down on everything in your line of site. After all, it is only a 300 calorie increase that is suggested. A glass of milk or one banana equals 100 calories and a slice of whole wheat bread, and ounce of cheese and a half of cup of grapes equal 200 calories, so don't overdo it!

Remember that you need at least three servings of protein each day. Protein contains amino acid, which is one of the most important building blocks for your baby's growth. High-quality protein is necessary. Fat-saturated meats are not a good choice. Next, you need at least four servings of calcium every day. Calcium is going to help your baby's bones and protect yours. Milk is just one of the ways to get your fill of calcium. You can also get your fill of calcium from cheeses, yogurt and even ice cream, but go easy on the ice cream. Your doctor will probably give you Calcium supplements.


Aim for at least three servings of foods that contain vitamin C. Your body does not store vitamin C, so you need a fresh supply of it every day. You can eat fruit or almost any vegetable to get your vitamin C. Also, make sure to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables. Most of these veggies and fruits will count toward your Vitamin C intake, so that's a double benefit. Eat six or more servings of whole grains and legumes. These are filled with vitamins E and B and they also help battle constipation. Try eating brown rice, whole wheat breads and even air popped corn to get your servings of whole grains.

Perhaps one of the most important nutrients your body needs is iron. Your body's demand for iron will never be greater than it is while you are pregnant. Not enough iron could lead to anemia, so make sure you are getting enough. If you feel that you are not, talk to your doctor. He may want to prescribe an iron supplement.

When you are pregnant it is essential that you eat well every day.


Planning ahead when it comes to food could mean the difference between making wise choices and irrational ones. Planning ahead helps us learn how to undo bad habits. Being pregnant is a great time to try to change any bad habits you may have, and the best way to break bad habits is to constantly plan ahead.

Plan for snack attack cravings, especially if you are not going to be home. Make sure to take some healthy food with you so that you can resist the temptation of going to the vending machine and buying that candy bar. Throw some nuts into your pocketbook or some cheese sticks in case of any hunger that might hit you throughout the day.

A healthy pregnancy diet requires that you plan your food shopping list with care. Some people find that when they go to the supermarket with just a rough idea of what they need they usually wind up forgetting something important. Take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week and buy what you need. Another thing to avoid is shopping hungry, you'll wind up buying half of the food store.

Plan for meals you can realistically prepare; do not plan for meals that you do not have the time to prepare to avoid getting stressed. Look for recipes that are easy, nutritious and quick to make. If you are still working during your pregnancy, the last thing you'll want to do is come home after a long day and then slave over a complicated recipe.


Planning your meals out for the week tends to help you be a little more organized. It is no secret that pregnant women tend to forget things. This is due to their changing hormone level. By taking out the time to sit and plan your meals for the week, it will save you a lot of time in the long run. If you already know what you are making for dinner, you do not have to worry about coming home after a long day and standing in front of the fridge trying to decide what to make.

Buy organic vegetables whenever possible. Get in the habit of using vegetables are your main dish. Instead of having chicken breast with a side salad, make your salad your main dish and the chicken breast a side dish. Buy your vegetables as fresh as possible, even if that means making two trips to the grocery store during the week. The fresher the vegetable, the better they are for you and your baby. The same holds true for fruit. Keep plenty of fruit on hand, especially if you tend to crave sweets. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, reach for a piece of fruit dipped in yogurt.

By planning your food choices ahead for the week, or even the month, it will help you stay on track with your eating and decrease the risk of making the wrong choices.


Some women find it very hard to eat well during pregnancy. There is a great way to remember how to eat well during pregnancy, and it's as easy as ABC.

A. Assortment is the first key. It's been said that variety is the spice of life. Keeping your diet filled with an assortment of fruits, vegetables and protein will help make sure that you and your baby don't get too much of one nutrient and not enough of another. Eating a good variety of healthy foods will give your growing baby a daily assortment of necessary nutrients.

B. Balance is the next thing to keep in mind. We all know that balance and moderation is the key to any diet. There is no reason to deny yourself a bowl of ice cream, but eating the whole container will be overdoing it. Try to keep all your meals as balanced as possible, making sure you get enough vitamins, whole grains and lean protein. Indulging in cravings is fine every now and then, as long as you keep it in moderation. If you want a cookie, have one. If potato chips are your craving, have a few. It is when you eat the whole box of cookies and the whole bag of chips in one sitting that you might have a problem. Indulge sensibly.

C. The third key is color. Make your plate look as colorful as possible. Use fresh fruits and veggies to paint your plate. The more colorful your plate is, the more appealing it is going to be. Have you ever noticed in magazines and cooking shows how the dishes always look so tasty? This is because of the variety of color that are used in these dishes. You can use red strawberries, tomatoes, yellow peppers and squash. Pick your favorite colors and create your dishes based on those colors!


Forget about dieting while you are pregnant. You and your baby need a steady supply of calories and nutrients throughout the whole nine months of pregnancy and beyond. Pregnancy is one of the only times where a woman is expected to gain a moderate amount of weight. Trying to prevent that weight gain can not only put you at risk, but also your baby. You will have all the time in the worl after your baby is born to lose the weight, and if you have been eating properly, adhering to a healthy pregnancy diet and have not put on an unhealthy amount of weight, you should have no problem getting back to your pre-pregnancy shape.

Lastly, having fun with your food is also a requirement of a healthy pregnancy diet. Nothing will ruin your good habits faster than boredom. Add little touches, like a dip for your veggies. Enjoy your food. Savor it and try not to eat too quickly. This will help prevent heartburn too! When you decide to treat yourself, leave the guilt at the door. After all, you have a beautiful little baby growing inside of you. You deserve a treat now and then for all your hard work!

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Photo of Pregnant Woman and Hands © Lars Christensen,

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