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Pregnancy Nutrition Recommendations

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A nutritious diet during pregnancy supports your health and helps your baby get the healthiest possible start in life. A simple rule for pregnancy nutrition: eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you and your baby need and limit “empty” calories (such as “junk foods,” sodas, candy and chips).

What should I eat during pregnancy?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate advise pregnant women to get the majority of their foods from the following food groups:

  • Protein – Eat a variety of heart-healthy protein-rich foods by including seafood, peanut butter, eggs, nuts/seeds, beans/peas, poultry and lean meat into every meal or snack.
  • Oils/healthy fat – Choose heart-healthy oils and fats (such as avocadoes, olives, olive oil, canola oil, peanuts and peanut butter, omega-3 rich seafood and nuts/seeds and their oils) and limit foods containing trans fats.
  • Whole grains – Make at least half of your grains whole by replacing refined grains with whole grains when choosing cereals, breads, rice, pasta and crackers.
  • Vegetables – Include colorful vegetables in your meals and snacks with fresh, frozen or canned vegetables by adding to soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles, dishes or as a side.
  • Fruit – Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit as a snack, side, salad or dessert.
  • Dairy – Add fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese or soymilk to your meals or snacks.

How much and how often should I eat during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, you only need to consume about 300 additional calories per day. (If you are expecting twins or triplets, talk with your healthcare provider or dietitian about your calorie needs.) During pregnancy, some women feel best when they eat smaller but more frequent meals throughout the day.

To learn more, and to create a customized pregnancy diet to fit your needs, go to ChooseMyPlate.gov.

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