Pregnancy Diet: Nutritious Meals and Prenatal Vitamins

Between cravings and morning sickness, healthy eating during pregnancy may not always be a piece of cake (or a bowl of ice cream topped with pickles). But good prenatal nutrition aids a baby's growth, brain development and immune system, and reduces the risk of birth defects. You'll only need about 200 to 300 extra calories a day during your second and third trimesters, but you'll need lots of extra nutrients right from the start. Prenatal vitamins really help. Look for one with 100 percent of the RDA for most nutrients, plus 400 micrograms of folic acid, which is proven to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects, and 30 milligrams of iron. Just remember, mom-to-be: A supplement is only that, so make sure you also increase your daily protein servings to at least three and dairy servings to at least four. Mix and match options from this healthy eating plan from day one to your ninth month, and you'll be sure to get the ingredients to make a healthy, happy baby.

option 1
1 cup orange juice
1 bowl multigrain cereal or oatmeal with 2 tablespoons wheat germ topped with fresh fruit
1 cup skim milk
Herbal tea

option 2
1 egg
1 piece of whole-grain toast with butter
1 cup orange juice
1 cup plain yogurt with fresh berries

option 3
Whole-wheat pancakes topped with peanut butter
1 slice melon
1 cup skim milk
Decaf coffee

option 1
Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread with tomatoes and lettuce
Cup of skim milk

option 2
Bowl of pea soup
Tossed salad
Corn bread
Cup of milk

option 3
Chicken salad
Whole-wheat roll
Cup of skim milk

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