Nutrition Articles

Getting Ready to Eat for Two

Learn What to Eat for a Healthy Pregnancy

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Thinking about pregnancy? Whether you’re aiming to get pregnant next year or in the next few months, you should be getting ready now. This is the time to take inventory of your nutrition habits and make necessary changes that will promote good health for you and a healthy environment for your baby.

Do you drink a lot of coffee? Skip meals? Do you avoid food groups like fruits? Are you on the low carb craze? Using the following guide will help in evaluating your food choices. Are you getting the recommended number of servings from each group? This guide shows a range of daily servings for each food group. The number of servings that is right for you depends on how many calories you need. Calories are a way to measure energy. The energy your body needs depends on your age, sex, body structure, and activity level.

If you have lower calorie needs, select the lower number of servings. If you have higher calorie needs, select the higher number of servings. The amount of food that is considered to be one serving is also listed. If you eat a larger portion, it is more than one serving. For example, a hamburger bun is 2 servings. If you have a combination food like pizza, estimate the food groups that it represents – bread group (crust), milk group (cheese), vegetable group (tomato sauce).

Bread, Grains and Pasta (6-11 servings)
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 pancake
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1/2 bun
  • 1 bagel or English muffin
  • 1 small muffin
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal
  • 1 roll
Vegetable Group (3-5 servings)
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw or cooked vegetable
  • 1 cup raw leafy vegetable
  • 1/2 cup vegetable soup
  • 10 french fries
  • 1 medium potato
Fruit Group (2-4 servings)
  • 1 piece fruit
  • 1/2 cup juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped, cooked or canned fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1/4 cantaloupe
Protein and Meat Group (2-3 servings)
  • 3 ounces cooked meat
  • 1/2 cup cooked beans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup nuts
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Dairy Group (2-3 servings)
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 1 ounce cheese
  • 1/2 cup pudding
  • 1/2 cup ice cream
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
A nutritious diet will provide you with the 40 or so essential nutrients needed by your body and for your baby’s health, too.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • I think this article should have also addressed the "eating for two" mindset. Eating for two should involve eating about 85 extra calories per day the first trimester, 285 calories per day with the second, and 475 calories per day the third (for an average of 285 extra calories per day). The eating for two mindset has GOT TO GO. - 5/8/2013 2:56:05 PM
  • MRS-OCTOBER
    This is useful info. I am hoping to TTC later on this year and would like to lose some weight before then. I was concerned about getting weight during pregnancy and al ready being overweight. My hope is that I get to a healthy size, and learn how to improve my diet so that when I start eating for two I won't gain an exorbitant amount of unneccessary weight. - 4/14/2009 9:49:16 AM
  • MRS-OCTOBER
    This is useful info. I am hoping to TTC later on this year and would like to lose some weight before then. I was concerned about getting weight during pregnancy and al ready being overweight. My hope is that I get to a healthy size, and learn how to improve my diet so that when I start eating for two I won't gain an exorbitant amount of unneccessary weight. - 4/14/2009 9:49:12 AM
  • Thanks for this article! We are planning to TTC next year and that's one of the reasons I am aiming to lose some weight. :) - 9/8/2008 9:26:56 AM
  • when i was pregnant last year the doc put me on a prenatal vitamin and told me to try to lose/maintain my weight for the first few months. well i ended up having a miscarriage and we're not entirely sure how but the doc thinks it may have something to do with my weight. so now i am working to lose a few lbs and get the right nutrients on a daily basis before i get pregnant again. - 8/30/2008 12:41:43 AM
  • I have five children and before each one I was very careful to be healthy. When we were planning to get pregnant the first time, I even had my husband taking vitamins and drinking protein shakes for several months in advance. Our children are all healthy, so it paid off, plus my recovery time after the delivery went well. - 5/21/2008 9:23:11 PM
  • Thanks for this article - when we conceived our daughter, I was obese, and no one could really tell I was pregnant. It was heart-breaking. I want to get healthy before we start working on Baby #2, and I will be keeping this article close at hand. - 2/16/2008 8:27:09 PM

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