How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy in 12 Steps

  • Pregnant Woman Holding Food

A healthy pregnancy starts with variety. The foods you eat need to follow the food pyramid and cover each of the recommended food groups. While some foods may taste better than others, this is not the time to skip those vegetables, though you also must know which food to avoid in pregnancy..

1. Variety is the Best Medicine: A healthy pregnancy starts with variety. The foods you eat need to follow the food pyramid and cover each of the recommended food groups. While some foods may taste better than others, this is not the time to skip those vegetables.

2. Proteins are Good: The pregnant body will need additional protein. It is recommended to consume at least 70 grams of protein every day. One 3.5 ounce chicken breast contains 30 grams of protein. Other great sources of protein include beans and tofu.

3. Keep Fats to a Minimum: Good fats are, well, good! Bad fats, however, should rarely be included in a pregnancy diet. While there is room to add in a McDonald's meal once in a while, eating out at fast food restaurants every day is not healthy for anyone, especially a woman trying to grow a healthy baby.

4. Mercury Levels - Beware: Some fish contain higher than normal mercury levels. These fish include tilefish, shark and swordfish. Mercury can build up in the body and affect the fetus growth.

5. Supplementing Those Meals: A prenatal vitamin can be taken well in advance of pregnancy. If you did not expect to become pregnant, the first day you find out you are having a baby should be the first day the prenatal vitamin is taken. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid which is essential to the prevention of neural tube defects.

6. Additional Folic Acid: The pregnant mom can never have enough folic acid. Add in at least one serving of a folic acid rich food, like dark green, leafy vegetables to a minimum of one meal a day.

7. Dairy Products: At least 1,000 mg of calcium need to be consumed every day of the pregnancy. Cheese, milk and yogurt are fantastic sources of calcium. If you feel you cannot consume enough calcium with meals, ask your obstetrician about supplementing calcium.

8. No No Cheese: Some soft cheese like Brie, Feta and cheese with blue veins should be avoided. These cheeses can cause listeria due to the lack of pasteurization.

9. No No alcohol: No alcohol is safe in pregnancy.

10. Well Done Mom: Meats consumed during pregnancy should never be rare or medium rare. Well done is the only option as even pink meats can contain bacteria that may affect the growth and health of the fetus.

11. Eat Often: As the fetus grows, the need for nutrition grows. However, the size of the belly and the pressure placed on the stomach may make it hard to consume enough calories. Eating smaller meals multiple times a day is ideal.

12. Water, water, water: As if before you were pregnant you didn't hear it enough, water is the key to a healthy body. At least 6 to 8 glasses of water need to be consumed every day. The water will not only hydrate the body, but it will also help decrease the chance of pregnancy induced constipation.