Planning a Nutritious Prenatal Diet

Pregnancy (For Mom)
By Gerber

Eating for two doesn’t mean eating twice as much food, but it should mean making your food work twice as hard. Make every calorie count by choosing nutrient-dense foods, in other words get more bang for your calorie buck. By choosing a variety of foods from all food groups, you can help assure a well-balanced, nutritious prenatal diet.


Meal plan during pregnancy

But what if you have no appetite some days or occasionally feel nauseous? Just remember that a quality diet over several days is what counts, not meal by meal.


What’s the right plan for me?


These food group guidelines, from USDA Choose My Plate, are an easy way to get started on a healthy and nutritious pregnancy diet. Of course, your beginning weight, height, age, stage of pregnancy and the number of babies you are carrying will determine how many calories and how much food you will need.


Pregnancy Daily Meal Plan


This featured daily meal plan shows slightly more amounts of food during the second and third trimesters to accommodate your changing nutritional needs. Because this is a general plan, you may need more or less than what is featured here.* It's also important to incorporate healthy fats and remember to take your pre-natal vitamin as well as DHA and choline.


Food Group

1st Trimester* 2nd and 3rd Trimesters* What counts as 1 cup or 1 ounce?
Vegetables 2 1/2 cups 3 cups 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables or 100% juice
2 cups raw leafy vegetables
Fruits 2 cups 2 cups 1 cup fruit or 100% juice
1/2 cup dried fruit
Grains** 6 ounces 8 ounces 1 slice bread
1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup cooked pasta, rice, or cereal
Dairy*** 3 cups 3 cups 1 cup milk
8 ounces yogurt
1 1/2 ounces natural cheese
2 ounces processed cheese
Protein Foods 5 1/2 ounces 6 1/2 ounces 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood
1/4 cup cooked beans
1/2 ounce nuts or 1 egg
1 tablespoon peanut butter

*Eat this amount from each group daily. If you are not gaining weight or gaining too slowly, you may need to eat a little more from each food group. If you are gaining weight too fast, you may need to cut back by decreasing the amount of "empty calories" you are eating.
**Half of your grains should be from whole grains
*** Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy


Do you have questions about your diet? Reach out to a Registered Dietitian with the help of Dotti.