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Recommended Food Servings During Pregnancy

Nutrition is an important part of pregnancy. You want to give your baby a healthy foundation that will carry them all the way through life. By making healthy choices while you are pregnant with them, you will help them gain the nutrients their bodies need to grow up strong and healthy. They will be able to combat illnesses when they have them, because you have given their body’s nutrients that are vital in fighting off colds, and other illnesses.

If you have not been used to eating healthy, it’s never too late to start. You will want to start out by looking over the recommended daily servings for each food group. If you are trying to eat fresh foods, you will not have a nutrition label to go by.

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Here are some guidelines to help you get the proper nutrients that your baby needs.

Protein

You will want to have about 75 to 100 grams of lean protein each day. Protein is vital to the development of fetal tissue, such as the brain. It will also help your breast and uterine tissue to further develop while pregnant. Plus, it is the main contributor to increasing your body’s blood supply, which will be important when delivering your baby.

Protein sources include

  • Fully cooked fish or seafood
  • Liver
  • Chicken
  • Lean beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Nuts (1 serving = approximately ⅓ cup)
  • Tofu (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)

Aim to have 2 to 3 servings. One serving of protein is about 3 ounces of meat, or equal to the size of a deck of cards.

Legume choices include:

  • Split peas
  • Red and white kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Navy beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chick peas (garbanzo beans)

If choosing legumes as your protein source, you should have 2 to 3 servings. A serving size is about ½ cup.

Calcium

You want to have about 1000 milligrams of calcium each day while you are pregnant. Calcium will help the body level out fluids, as well as help your baby’s bones and teeth buds develop correctly.

Calcium sources include:

  • Milk – serving is 1 cup.
  • Eggs – serving is 1 large egg.
  • Yogurt – serving is 1 cup.
  • Pasteurized cheese – serving is about 1.5 ounces or 4 playing dice stacked together.
  • Tofu – serving is ½ cup.
  • White beans – serving is approximately ½ cup.
  • Almonds – serving is about ⅓ cup.
  • Salmon – serving is about 3 ounces.
  • Turnip Greens – serving is about 1 cup.
  • Cabbage – serving is about 1 cup.

Iron

You need a combination of vitamins to help increase the iron in your blood. These include sodium, potassium and water. Increasing your iron levels will decrease your chance of developing anemia. You should have about 27 milligrams of iron while pregnant.

Iron sources include:

  • Collard
  • Turnip
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage

Aim to have 2 to 3 servings of green veggies each day. A serving size is about 1 cup. In addition to the veggies, you need to have 3 servings of whole grain each day. Whole grain is also a great source of iron. A serving size is about ½ cup or 1 slice of bread.

Whole Grain sources include:

  • Bread
  • Cornmeal
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal

Folate/Folic Acid

Folic acid is essential, as it helps decrease neural tube defects, which includes spinal bifida. You will want to have about 600 to 800 micrograms each day.

Folic Acid sources include:

  • Collard
  • Turnip
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage

You need to have 2 servings of deeply colored green veggies. Serving size is about 1 cup.

Fruit sources that contain folic acid include:

  • Orange
  • Strawberry
  • Lemon
  • Mango
  • Tomato
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Melon

Aim to have 2 to 3 servings of fruit each day. A serving is about ½ cup.

Other foods that contain folic acid includes:

  • Bread
  • Cornmeal
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Split peas
  • Red and white kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Navy beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Chick peas (garbanzo beans)

Vitamin C

You will find that fruit and veggies contain a lot of vitamin C, which increases healing, tooth and bone growth, and helps the metabolic process. You should have 85 milligrams of vitamin C each day.

Vitamin C sources include:

  • Orange
  • Strawberry
  • Lemon
  • Mango
  • Tomato
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Melon
  • Potato
  • Peppers

You need to have 3 servings each day. One serving is about ½ cup.

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