We all have memories of growing up with the four food groups, but since the development of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid in 1992, we’re getting used to this improved concept of eating. The whole idea of the pyramid is that its shape guides you to the healthful number of daily servings of foods in each category: more from those foods at the base, fewer as you move up.
Today there is a Mediterranean Pyramid, an Asian Pyramid and even pyramids for kids and seniors. But when you’re pregnant and have unique nutritional needs, there’s not a pyramid in sight. Not one, anyway, that addresses your increased need for folic acid, iron and calcium. Or warns you about foods that may be harmful to your baby. Or reminds you to exercise.
Until now. Fit Pregnancy presents our Pregnancy Food Guide Pyramid, which will help you understand — at a glance — what you should be eating. Our pyramid is based on time-tested knowledge, as well as the latest nutritional guidelines for a safe pregnancy and healthy baby.
The health of your baby today — and even her risk for disease as she grows — is strongly influenced by the foods you eat during your pregnancy. Following our Pregnancy Pyramid guidelines will take the guesswork out of eating for the next nine months. (Ideally, you should be gearing up for pregnancy months before conception.) Folic acid, the B vitamin that helps prevent neural-tube defects, is perhaps the most important nutrient to consume in the first few weeks after conception. Since most women consume far too few folic acid-rich foods, it’s a good idea to start taking your diet seriously as soon as you find out you are expecting.
What to eat and how much
It takes more than 40 nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fibers, proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fluids, working in concert to build a healthy baby. Here’s a quick glance at what you need, why you need it and where to get it.
Protein Protein helps build the baby’s tissues, the placenta and your red blood cells.
Best sources: extra-lean meat, chicken, fish, milk products, cooked dried beans and peas, and soy products.
Daily requirement: 60 grams.
Carbohydrates Starches and other complex carbohydrates provide fuel for you and the growth of your baby. Some carbohydrate-rich foods, such as crackers and dry toast, can also help fend off morning sickness.
Best sources: whole-grain breads, bagels, tortillas, cereals, pastas, crackers and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
Daily requirement: at least 325 grams.