Diet During Pregnancy: Recommended Food Groups
Diets for Women

Diet During Pregnancy: Recommended Food Groups

What does diet mean during pregnancy? When we talk about diet during pregnancy, we do not discuss limiting calories or trying to drop weight. Dieting to lose weight during pregnancy can be dangerous for you and your baby, especially since a weight loss regimen can restrict essential nutrients like iron, folic acid, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Therefore, we recommend avoiding popular diets like Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Raw Food Diet, etc. The type of diet we recommend during pregnancy refers to adjusting you’re eating habits to ensure that you receive adequate nutrition for you and your baby. A healthy diet during pregnancy is essential for the growth and development of your baby. To get the nutrients you need, you must eat from various food groups, including fruits and vegetables, bread and grains, protein sources, and dairy products.

Typically, you will need to consume an additional 300 calories a day.

Recommended Food Groups

Eating a variety of foods throughout the day is always important, making sure you get the nutrients that you and your baby need. Here is a look at food groups and some suggested sources for creating a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables carry many necessary nutrients for pregnancy, mainly vitamin C and folic acid. Pregnant women require at least 70 mg of vitamin C in a day restrained in fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and molasses, and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

0.4 mg of folic acid in a day is recommended. A good source of folic acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables (other sources of folic acid include legumes, such as black or lime beans, black-eyed peas, and beef). You should have at least 2-4 servings of fruit and 4 or more servings of vegetables a day.

Bread and Grains

The body’s leading source of energy for pregnancy comes from the essential carbohydrates found in bread and grains. Whole-grain, fortified products provide essential nutrients such as iron, B vitamins, fiber, and even protein. You can get the required amount of folic acid from fortified bread and cereal.

Depending on your weight and dietary needs, you should consume 6-11 servings (6-11 oz) of bread/grain daily.


Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and beans contain the protein, B vitamins, and iron needed during pregnancy. Your developing baby needs a lot of protein, especially in the second and third trimesters. Iron helps transport oxygen to your growing baby, and it also transports oxygen to your muscles to help avoid symptoms like fatigue, weakness, irritability, and depression.

The US GDR recommends approximately 27 mg per day. Lean beef, chicken, lamb, liver, turkey, and beef are good options. Fish and some other shellfish can be an excellent nutritional option for pregnancy, within the guidelines. Fish that carry significant levels of mercury should be evaded. (Read more about fish and mercury levels.) You should consume at least 3 servings of protein a day.

Dairy Products

At least 1,000 mg of calcium is needed daily to maintain a pregnancy. Calcium is essential for building healthy teeth and bones, normal blood clotting, and muscle and nerve function. Since your developing baby needs a substantial amount of calcium, your body will take calcium from your bones if you do not use enough through your diet (which can lead to future problems such as osteoporosis).

Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, creamy soups, and puddings. Some calcium is also found in green vegetables, shellfish, beans, and dried peas. You should consume at least 4 servings of dairy products a day.

A Complement To Nutrition

Prenatal Vitamins:  the essential source of vitamins and nutrients required throughout pregnancy must come from your diet, a daily prenatal vitamin can help fill small holes if you unintentionally get lacking vital nutrients. Prenatal vitamins should be taken up to three months before considering, if possible.

Ask your healthcare provider about which supplement is best for you.

REMEMBER: A prenatal vitamin or any other continuation can only complement a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Sample Daily Menu

The following sample menu will give you an idea of what a pregnant woman should typically consume in one day for a healthy diet during pregnancy. Three small but balanced meals and three light snacks throughout the day are a good rule of thumb to ensure that you and your baby’s nutritional needs are met.

Breakfast: oat cereal, banana, 1 slice of whole-wheat toast, 2 teaspoons of jam, 1 cup of skim milk
Snack: 1 cup of yogurt, grapes
Lunch: turkey (if it’s deli meat, don’t eat cold; steam it to avoid Listeria) and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread, small potato chips, pear and 1 cup of skim milk
Snack: raw vegetables and low-calorie sauce
Dinner: 4 oz. chicken, 1 cup wild rice, 1 cup vegetables, 1 cup skim milk
Snack: fresh fruit or low-fat frozen yogurt

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