Nutrition in Pregnancy: Don’t Eat for Two, Just Eat Better!

Nutrition in Pregnancy: Don’t Eat for Two, Just Eat Better!

Congratulations on your pregnancy! During the next several months, your diet will directly impact the growth and health of your baby, both now and even later into adulthood. First thing’s first: If you were not already taking a prenatal vitamin, start now! Prenatal vitamins ensure women meet the nutritional demands of pregnancy for all vitamins and minerals.

Each trimester may have its own unique bumps: nausea, insomnia, increased hunger, etc. What – and how much – to eat is a common question as a new mom takes on the responsibility of caring for both herself and her growing baby. Most pregnant women do not require significantly more calories than they do before pregnancy. Many just need an extra snack during the second trimester and approximately 300-400 extra calories in the third trimester.

The quality of those extra calories count! Select foods high in vitamins and minerals like fresh fruits, dark greens, lean proteins, and whole grains. Easy snack ideas include low fat Greek yogurt with fresh berries, whole wheat toast with almond butter, bell pepper strips with guacamole, carrot sticks with hummus, or an apple with a handful of almonds.

Women with a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy.  Calculate your BMI.  Avoiding high-fat, high-salt foods, like fast or processed foods can be an easy way to avoid excess weight gain. However, if you’re on the go and find yourself unprepared, some restaurants are offering fresher options. For example, you could order a salad with grilled chicken and a light dressing like the Chick-Fil-A Market Salad with Light Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Other important things to remember while pregnant:

  • Stay hydrated! Drink water throughout the day. Add lemon for flavor.
  • Limit your caffeine. Talk to your doctor about a safe amount.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and excess added sugars. If you’re craving something sweet, go for a square of dark chocolate.

For additional guidance and support, schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians by calling our nutrition department at 225-924-8313.