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Pregnancy and Nutrition

Healthy Eating for Two: Changing Energy and Nutrient Needs

A vegetarian diet built from beans and legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds is a smart choice during pregnancy. When properly planned, it is the best diet for you and your developing baby. And healthful eating during pregnancy is easy, as long as you have some straightforward nutrition information.

Changing Energy and Nutrient Needs

During pregnancy, your need for nearly all nutrients increases. For example, you will need more calcium, more protein, and more folic acid. However, calorie needs increase only modestly during pregnancy. In fact, you will need to pack all that extra nutrition into about 300 extra calories a day during your second trimester and 400 extra calories a day in your third trimester.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the average active woman needs between 2,200 and 2,400 calories per day before pregnancy, bringing total calorie needs to about 2,500 to 2,700 calories per day in the second trimester and 2,650 to 2,850 calories per day in the third trimester. Inactive women will require fewer calories.

Consequently, all pregnant women need to choose their meals wisely to make sure they’re getting the vitamins and minerals they need without packing on the calories. It’s important to eat foods that are rich in nutrients, but not high in fat or sugar.

Vegetarian diets based on nutritious whole foods are healthful choices for pregnant women. Use the chart below to plan your meals. Important note: Be sure to include a reliable source of vitamin B12, such as any common multivitamin or fortified soymilk or cereal.


Healthy Eating for Two: Daily Meal Planning Guidelines for Pregnant Women >>