The Daily Dozen | Fit Pregnancy

The Daily Dozen

12 simple rules for eating well during pregnancy; plus 5 delicious recipes.

5. Green leafy, yellow-orange vegetables; yellow-orange fruit>> 3–4 servings
These nutrient powerhouses are rich in beta-carotene (which is crucial for fetal development), vitamin E, riboflavin, B6, folic acid and magnesium. Plus, they supply constipation-countering fiber. Use color as your selection key: The deeper the hue, the higher the nutrient content.
1 serving>> 2 apricots; 1 nectarine or peach; 1 pink or ruby red grapefruit; 1/4 medium papaya; 1/2 medium mango; 1 packed cup dark-green leafy lettuce (romaine, arugula or field greens); 1/2 sweet potato or yam; 1/2 carrot

6. Other fruit and vegetables>> 1–2 servings
Although not rich in any single nutrient, other fruit and vegetables (see examples below) supply a wide range of additional vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber.
1 serving>> 1 medium banana; 1 medium apple; 1/4 cup raisins; 1/2 cup blueberries; 2 small plums; 1/2 cup pomegranate juice; 1/2 cup cooked zucchini; 1/2 cup chopped cucumbers

7. Whole grains and legumes>> 6–9 servings
These complex carbohydrates contain minerals (selenium, magnesium, zinc and chromium) and vitamins (particularly E and B) essential for your baby’s developing body.
1 serving>> 1/2 cup cooked whole grains (brown or wild rice, barley, quinoa); 1 cup cooked oatmeal; 1 slice whole-grain bread; 1 small corn tortilla; 1/2 cup cooked beans, lentils or split peas; 2 cups air-popped popcorn

8. Iron-rich foods>> at least 27 milligrams
Your body’s demand for iron will never be greater than it is now, as it works overtime to generate enough red blood cells for baby-making. To make sure the demand is met and that a deficiency (which could lead to anemia) doesn’t develop, your doctor will likely recommend a prenatal supplement with 30 mg of iron.

There is no standard serving size for iron, but you can enhance your diet with the following iron-rich foods, in addition to taking a prenatal supplement: 3 ounces (before cooking) lean beef tenderloin; 3 ounces cooked shrimp; 1/2 cup dried kidney beans, boiled.

9. Salty foods>> in moderation
For some women, a diet high in sodium may cause a variety of complications, such as high blood pressure. Read nutrition labels and cut back on foods high in sodium: processed foods, such as canned soups, frozen entrées and fast food. A healthy goal is 2,400 mg daily.

10. Healthful fats>> in moderation
Your baby needs essential fatty acids for growth and development. Especially important in the last month of pregnancy and first month of breastfeeding are omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and walnuts), needed for optimal brain development. Do not rely on french fries, chips, cookies or other processed snack foods for your daily servings.