Attention to nutrition is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Adding around 300 calories of nutrient-packed foods to your daily intake is adequate for most expectant women. Your obstetrician can advise you about your specific nutritional needs. Many women take nutritional supplements during pregnancy in addition to following a healthy diet.
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Consume a variety of fruits. It helps to vary the color of fruits, trying to eat some white, yellow, orange, red and purple fruits every few days. Aim for 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day, the March of Dimes suggests. Whole fruit is best, but 100 percent fruit juice, frozen fruit or canned fruit in juice or light syrup is acceptable. Healthy fruits include bananas, citrus fruits, orchard fruits, melons, berries and others. Thoroughly wash all fruit before eating it.
You need extra calcium during pregnancy, according to the informational website Kids Health, and milk is an excellent source. Skim milk, 1 percent milk, regular yogurt and Greek yogurt are all good choices. Only drink milk that has been pasteurized. Most hard cheeses are safe to eat, and they supply additional calcium.
You need 5 to 5-1/2 ounces of daily protein during pregnancy, the March of Dimes recommends. Protein can come from beef, pork, chicken, turkey or fish. The Pregnancy Food Guide recommends limiting fish to 12 ounces or less per week and to consume fish that are low in mercury, such as catfish, pollack, salmon, tilapia, canned light tuna, clams and shrimp. Eggs are a safe source of protein and those high in omega-3 fatty acids are best. Nuts and nut butters provide healthy protein as do beans and lentils. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish and eggs should be thoroughly cooked before eating.
Aim for six servings of grains each day, making most of them whole grains. Good choices include quinoa, whole grain rice, old-fashioned or quick oatmeal, whole grain cereal and whole grain bread.
Eat a wide variety of vegetables, making an effort to choose from different color groups. According to the informational website Baby Center, eating a variety of vegetables and fruits during the latter stages of your pregnancy will increase the odds that the baby will accept the foods later in life. Healthy vegetables include green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and other vegetables. Vegetable juice is another healthy option. Fresh vegetables are best but frozen and canned vegetables are acceptable. Thoroughly wash all vegetables prior to eating, and avoid alfalfa sprouts. Strive for 2-1/2 cups of vegetables each day.
Pregnant women need some healthy fat each day. Fat is obtained while eating animal protein or milk products that are not fat free. Additional fat can be obtained by eating a small amount of olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil and margarine. Trans fat should be avoided, and saturated fat should be limited.