Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

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Daily Food Chart for Pregnant, Postpartum, and Breastfeeding Women

Daily Food Chart for Pregnant, Postpartum, and Breastfeeding Women
Food Groups Serving Size Examples Pregnant / Breastfeeding Over 18* Non-Pregnant Under 18 Non-Pregnant Over 18
Based on 2000 calorie diet

Grains

Make at least half the grains whole grain or fortified with iron and B-vitamins. (whole grain, whole wheat flour, whole oats, whole corn should be listed first in the ingredient list.)

1 oz serving

1 slice bread

6” tortilla

1 small biscuit

1 small muffin

1 hot dog

1 hamburger bun

½ cup cold cereal

½ cup cooked cereal

½ cup cooked pasta ½ cup rice

3 cups popcorn

4-6 crackers

5-7 oz.

6 oz.

6 oz.

Vegetables

Vegetables provide good sources of vitamin A. These foods will help with eyesight and keep skin and hair healthy. Vary the types of vegetables throughout the week.

½ cup serving

Raw leafy vegetables

*(1 cups = ½ serving/cup)

6 baby carrots

½ cup cooked

½ cup canned

½ cup raw

½ cup 100% veg. juice

3 or more cups

2 ½ cups

2 ½ cups

Fruits

Fruits provide a good source of vitamin C every day. Focus on whole fruits more often than juice.

½ cup serving

½ small apple

½ large banana

½ cup 100% fruit juice

½ cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit (ie. applesauce, fruit salad, etc.)

¼ cup dried fruit

2 – 3 cups

2 cups

2 cups

Protein

These foods are a good source of protein and iron. Protein helps build and repair body tissues like skin, bone, hair, blood, and muscle.

Cooked meat, fish, or poultry

Cooked dried/canned beans, peas, lentils
(¼ cup = 1 oz.)

1 egg = 1 oz

1 Tbsp peanut butter = 1 oz.

5-7  oz.

5 ½ oz.

5 ½ oz.

Dairy

Dairy foods keep bones and teeth strong. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk for yourself.

Milk, yogurt (choose low-fat or fat-free dairy)

½ cup cottage cheese = ¼ cup milk

1½ oz. cheese (size of 6 dice) = 1 cup of milk

3 cups

3 cups

3 cups

Oils

Oils are liquid at room temperature. They provide healthy fats and vitamin E.

Olive oil, canola oil, other vegetable oils.

Soft vegetable oil spreads.

Salad dressing, mayonnaise without trans fats.

Healthy fats can also be found in nuts, olives, fish and avocados.

27 grams

27 grams

27 grams

Other Calories

Butter, margarine, sugar, candy, jam, syrup, soft drinks, cake, cookies, pie, chips, etc.

These foods provide calories, with few nutrients. These should be limited and used only on occasion.

Water/Other Liquids

Water, 100% juice (no more than 8 oz/day), milk, soup

12 cups

8-10 cups**

Source:

Nutrition Care Manual

DGA

*Serving Size Hand Symbols for the Average Adult

*Pregnant or breastfeeding under the age of 18 should consult with their WIC Dietitian.

**Water needs can be calculated by taking the person’s weight divided by 2 to get the ounces of water per day they should consume. Divide that by 8 to get the ounces into cups. Ex: 150 pounds = 75 ounces. 75 / 8 oz = 9 ⅓ cups.

300 Calorie Snacks

Healthy pregnant women only need 300 extra calories per day. Choosing just one of these 300 calorie snacks each day, in addition to your regular, balanced diet, will meet your extra calorie needs.

  • Fruit and Cheese Kabobs: 2 oz. low-fat cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, etc.) – cubed, 1/2 cup strawberries— sliced, 25 grapes
  • Whole Wheat Crackers with Sliced Cheese: 2 oz. low fat cheese – thinly sliced, 1 serving whole wheat crackers (about 4) of your choice. 
  • Apple Slices and Peanut Butter: 1 apple—cored and sliced, 2 tablespoons peanut butter. 
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie: 1 banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, 1/4 cup milk. 
  • Blueberry Peach Smoothie: 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1 banana, 1/8 cup milk. 
  • Beans and Rice: 1 cup brown rice and ½ cup black beans (be sure to drain and rinse canned black beans)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs and Wheat Toast: 2 slices whole wheat bread—toasted, 1 egg—hard boiled. 
  • Cereal with milk and banana: 1 1/4 cup whole grain cereal (such as Rice Krispies or Cheerios), 1/2 cup low fat or skim milk, 1 banana, 2 tsp sugar. 
  • Oatmeal with berries: 1/2 cup instant oatmeal + 1/4 cup milk for cooking, 1 cup mixed berries, 2 tsp sugar. 
  • Hummus, Whole Grain Tortilla, and Pea Pods: 1/2 cup hummus*, 1 whole grain tortilla, 1/2 cup pea pods. 
  • V8 and mozzarella stick: 8 oz. glass V8 juice, 3 oz. mozzarella cheese
  • PB &J: 1 whole wheat tortilla or whole wheat bread, 2 tbsp. peanut butter, 1 tbsp. jelly 
  • Homemade Sweet Potato Chips: 2 med sweet potatoes—peeled, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt, pepper to taste.
    • Cut sweet potatoes into thin slices. Toss slices in bowl with oil, salt, and pepper.
    • Place in single layer on 2 baking sheets and bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes (until edges are crisp but centers still soft).
    • Cool 5 minutes and transfer to parchment paper. Chips will crisp as they cool completely. 
    • Serve with 1 tbsp. low fat ranch dressing. Total Calories: 271

Eating Fish During Pregnancy

Eating fish when you become pregnant has health benefits. Fish and other protein-rich foods have nutrients that can help your child’s growth and development. As part of a healthy eating pattern, eating fish may also offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity.

Fish are part of a healthy eating pattern and provide:

  • Protein
  • Healthy omega-3 fats (called DHA and EPA)
  • More vitamin B12 and vitamin D than any other type of food
  • Iron and other minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine.

Women who are pregnant should consume 8-12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week, from choices that are lower in mercury. For an adult, 4 ounces is about the size of the palm of your hand.

Many types of fish are both nutritious and lower in mercury. Use this guide to determine the best choices of fish to consume and those to avoid.

Folic Acid: For You & Baby

Your baby needs folic acid before you even know you’re pregnant. Folic acid helps baby’s brain and spinal cord form properly. Folic acid may also help fight heart disease, colon and cervical cancers. Continue to take a daily multivitamin after your pregnancy, too!

  • You need 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. The best way to get it is to take a multivitamin every day and eat a healthy diet.
  • Foods rich in folic acid include orange juice, fortified cereals, and leafy green vegetables.
  • See section on Folate for more information.

Caffeine

It is a good idea to limit or avoid caffeine from coffee, tea, or soft drinks when pregnant or breastfeeding. The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. Some studies have shown an increased risk for miscarriage at amounts greater than 200 mg per day.

Please consult your doctor about caffeine intake during your pregnancy. See section on Caffeine for more information.

This post was last updated on April 7th, 2021 at 10:20 AM

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