fbpx

Pregnancy Meal Plan—6 Best Foods To Eat To Be A Healthy Mom-To-Be

Pregnancy Meal Plan

A healthy pregnancy depends upon a healthy diet, hydration, rest, and more. 

Nutrient-dense foods are important to your meal plan, but understanding what healthy fats are, how meal planning works, and what constitutes a healthy pregnancy meal can make your head spin.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a pregnancy meal plan and what sorts of foods you should try to implement into your diet to give you the best chances of a healthy pregnancy for yourself and your baby.

No two bodies are the same

First, when considering a pregnancy meal plan, you must understand that no two women are the same. 

No two bodies are the same. So your diet plan may not look like that of other pregnant women.

The first step, right in the very first trimester of pregnancy, should be speaking with your doctor or healthcare provider about your weight, your dietary needs, dietary restrictions, and concerns they may have regarding how best to achieve a healthy pregnancy and pregnancy meal plan.

You need to remember that your nutritional needs are changing now that you are pregnant, and healthy pregnancy meals need to consist of more whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables, and nutrient-rich foods.

Pregnancy Nutrition Course

You are not eating for two

Some women think a healthy pregnancy meal is a big meal due to that old saying about a pregnant woman needing to “eat for two.”

This is an old and sometimes dangerous way of thinking. Women do not need to eat twice the daily caloric intake simply because they are pregnant.

Women who are overweight or obese may even be encouraged to sustain or lose a little bit of weight to have a less stressful pregnancy.

Women who have high blood pressure or gestational diabetes also need to be careful about how much they consume to avoid pregnancy complications.

Always speak to your doctor before implementing any new meal plan or diet. Your weight, build, activity level, and more are all part of how your doctor will determine your dietary needs.

While most women need to consume more calories during pregnancy, it is certainly not twice what you would normally need.

Your prenatal vitamin is not all the nutrition you need

That prenatal supplement that you are supposed to take daily does wonders. The folic acid in them alone can help your baby’s health, your baby’s brain development, and more.

However, you should never trust that your vitamin will give you all the necessary nutrients.

You will also need to get some of those from the foods you consume.

Pregnancy meal plan

The following are foods and a rough meal plan that you can use as a guide. However, always speak to your healthcare provider before implementing any diet.

What follows are very general guidelines based on basic nutritional needs during pregnancy.

The first trimester

The first trimester is the time from conception through the thirteenth week of pregnancy.

It is during this period that miscarriage and other complications are most likely to occur, and maintaining a healthy diet that is full of nutritious foods is important to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Not only is it a crucial time in the pregnancy, but developing a healthy pregnancy meal plan at the very beginning of your pregnancy can help you to learn and engage in healthy eating habits.

The following are some great ideas for foods you can work into your meal plans to help you get the most benefit from the foods you eat and get a head start on growing a healthy baby.

Pregnancy Meal Plan

Second and third trimesters

During the second trimester, maintaining a healthy diet is essential.

By this point, you may have noticed that you have added some pounds to that pre-pregnancy weight, but as long as you’ve maintained a balanced diet and engaged in primarily healthy eating, it should be a healthy weight that you’ve added.

The second trimester especially, is when most women feel as though the morning sickness has subsided, and they feel better and have more energy.

You may find that some of the healthy snack ideas and meal ideas that you turned up your nose at during the first trimester are now meals that may appeal to you.

During the third trimester, you start to add on the last weight you will gain, and towards the end of the pregnancy, your weight will plateau as labor and delivery draw near.

This doesn’t mean that you will or should stop eating or that you should quit your healthy pregnancy meals.

You may also notice that you have less room in your tummy for food towards the end of your pregnancy, so several small meals throughout the day are better than three large meals.

1. Grains

You need about seven ounces of grains per day throughout your pregnancy.

Whole grains are the best option, including brown rice and whole wheat bread.

You can switch from white bread to a whole wheat hamburger bun for your burgers. Switching from white rice to brown rice is also beneficial.

2. Meat

You need about six ounces of meat or beans per day.

Due to mercury concerns, you should limit yourself to about twelve ounces of fatty fish per week.

You can eat chicken salad, chicken breast grilled in olive oil, and other lean proteins.

3. Fats and oils

You need about six teaspoons a day of fats and oils. 

Cooking with olive oil and consuming certain types of fish, sunflower oil, nuts, olives, and seeds are great ways to incorporate these foods into your diet.

Note that if you have not tried cooking with olive oil, it has a lower smoke point than vegetable oil.

If you’re new to healthy eating, it’s a bit of a learning curve, but you’ll most likely find that many healthier alternative diet foods can be just as tasty as what you are used to eating.

4. Vegetables

Many types of vegetables are available to a pregnant woman, and there are many different ways to prepare them.

Try to eat various vegetables in as many colors as possible to maximize the health benefits.

Green leafy vegetables are great, but there are many different options outside of these. Broccoli has B vitamins, folic acid, and calcium, which are great and needed during pregnancy. 

But vegetables like sweet potatoes contain Vitamins A, C, and fiber.

Fresh vegetables have fewer preservatives than canned or frozen veggies, but you can eat canned or frozen and still get plenty of nutrition. 

A canned sweet potato is just as good an option for pregnant women as a fresh one.

5. Fruits

You should eat two cups of fruit daily, and it must be as fresh as possible, as opposed to canned or packaged, as these latter options are usually full of added sugar and won’t do much to aid in your baby’s development.

6. Dairy

Dairy products are a great way to get calcium into your diet, and also some protein. 

When it comes to whole milk, it can also provide some important Vitamin D. Cheese, greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are all great options to help your baby grow.

Pregnant diet menu

The following is a sample menu that you can use to help guide you when planning meals from high-quality sources and aiding in your baby’s development.  Take note of this menu when you do your grocery shopping list.

Remember that your blood volume increases to the point where it is nearly double while you are pregnant, so iron-rich foods are also great options.

Depending on your schedule, dietary needs, and restrictions, you should shoot for two or three snacks daily. 

These can be small snacks such as peanut butter crackers, greek yogurt, and other important foods your body needs.

Breakfast

  • Two eggs (hard-boiled eggs count if you aren’t a fan of scrambled or otherwise cooked eggs)
  • Whole wheat toast (enjoy with almond butter for added benefits)

Lunch

  • Chicken salad wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla

Snack

  • Peanut butter crackers

Dinner

  • Grilled chicken marinated in lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked vegetables
  • Small salad with olive oil dressing and romaine lettuce

Snack

  • Cheese slices or 1 cup cottage cheese with tomatoes

Pregnancy Meal Plan

Comfort foods in moderation

We’ve already discussed how important foods must be consumed to get the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals to help you maintain a healthy pregnancy.

However, just about any registered dietitian will also tell you that a bit of a cheat meal isn’t always a bad thing.

Cravings are bound to happen; when they do, you shouldn’t always deny yourself. So you can have that ice cream every now and then. 

If you’ve been craving grilled hot dogs, at least they’re additional calories you need.

Don’t deny yourself the foods that you are craving. Instead, moderate when you make these choices and eat those things that aren’t great for you.

Folic acid may help to ward off neural tube defects and any other number of congenital disability anomalies. Still, it does not have to be present in everything you eat.

Pregnancy Nutrition Course

Do I need to see a dietician?

Sometimes you may be concerned that the food you’re eating, or not eating if morning sickness is a big issue for you, are not enough for your baby to stay healthy and thrive in your womb.

As expectant moms, we tend to overthink things and worry ourselves sick pretty easily. 

If you are better off speaking to a dietician regarding a meal plan specific to your needs and your baby’s needs, all you have to do is ask your doctor to refer you.

Dietary experts are happy to help you make the most of your food decisions so that you and your baby are at your best, and if you would like a referral to one of these competent experts, then it’s as easy as asking your doctor. 

Be sure to use the resources available to you throughout your pregnancy.

A Final Note

Using the example of the meal plan in this article is a great way to get started when it comes to planning your pregnancy meals. However, you should always speak to your doctor and even show them your prepared meal plan at your next prenatal appointment to see if there are any further recommendations or suggestions for your baby’s health.

You might Also like...

Subscribe to
receive your FREE
"58 Newborn Essentials"
Registry Guide