Your prenatal diet decoded

By Published On: February 1st, 2011

With a few small tweaks, that familiar little triangle holds […]

With a few small tweaks, that familiar little triangle holds the key to building a healthy bambino.
Though it’s a convenient justification when eyeing that carton of ice cream in the freezer, the truth is that eating for two is not really recommended during pregnancy. Considering the tiny person you have on board only requires an average of 300 additional calories per day, you shouldn’t even come close to doubling your daily food intake. Instead, focus on increasing your consumption of the most beneficial foods for your baby. Here’s a breakdown of what you need from each food group.
blueberriesBread, cereal, rice and pasta
Recommended Daily Servings: 9
If you’re a bread lover, you probably have no problem meeting the recommended quota for this carbo-loaded food group. Just remember, it’s essential to eat the right kinds of breads and pastas. Steer clear of the refined carbs found in white bread, crackers and pretzels, and instead seek out the complex carbs in brown rice and whole-grain breads and cereals. These wholesome grains boast nutritional bonuses like B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium.
Recommended Daily Servings: 4
It’s never too early to make sure your tyke is eating her veggies. A valuable source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, vegetables are a key component of any healthy diet. Variety is important since different vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals. Dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach and collard greens offer distinct benefits from orange veggies like carrots, squash and yams, so make sure you load up your plate with some of each.
Recommended Daily Servings: 3
Rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and folate, these refreshing snacks can be a healthy way to satisfy that sweet tooth while stocking up on the nutrients you need. Like vegetables, different fruits offer different benefits, so try not to stick to just one type. Expose your baby’s taste buds to a variety of healthy (and delicious!) snacks by including apples, bananas, citrus fruits, tropical fruits and berries in your regular rotation.
Milk, cheese and yogurt
Recommended Daily Servings: 3
You’ve likely been briefed by your OB on the importance of getting enough calcium during pregnancy, but did you know that dairy products are a great source of protein, potassium and vitamins A, D and B too? You may also be surprised to learn that your sweet baby-to-be is so calcium hungry that she’ll resort to stealing the calcium from your bones if she isn’t getting enough (and she seemed so innocent!). Get your fill through low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts
Recommended Daily Servings: 3
The heart of any well-balanced meal, foods from this category are a valuable source of protein, along with B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc and magnesium. Good choices in this group include lean cuts of meat and omega-3-rich fish like salmon. If you’re a vegetarian mama-to-be, fill up on protein-packed beans, eggs and nuts so your budding babe won’t miss out on the nutritional perks your carnivorous peers enjoy.
Fats, oils and sweets
Recommended Daily Servings: eat sparingly
While it can be difficult to avoid this tempting category when cravings strike, it’s still best to reserve these foods for a special treat. That said, don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally give in. When you can’t seem to get that ice cream sundae off your mind, keep your portion small and consider adding a healthy twist to your guilty indulgence, like fresh fruit or chopped nuts. After all, you’re pregnant … not perfect!