eating for the future

Your diet during pregnancy sets the stage for your child'’s lifelong health.


>>>>>You probably already know that for the next nine months (longer if you breastfeed), your growing baby is dependent on you for all the nutrients she needs. What you may not know is that your current diet can affect your baby for her entire life. Indeed, some health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, have been linked to poor prenatal nutrition. Inadequate intake of one or more essential nutrients during critical periods in an organ’s growth also can permanently alter the size of that organ. Furthermore, researchers suspect that poor nutrition during fetal development increases a child’s lifelong risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and impaired glucose tolerance. And one recent study found that pregnant women who indulge in the high protein/ low carbohydrates diet give birth to babies who are more prone to elevated blood pressure later in life.

Getting adequate nutrition doesn’t mean you have to go overboard. Though it takes about 56,000 extra calories to make a healthy baby, that equates to only 300 extra calories a day (the equivalent of a glass of low-fat milk, a slice of bread and an apple), and that’s only in the last two trimesters. Calorie needs during the first trimester are about 2,000 to 2,200 a day, the same as for nonpregnant women.

Your vitamin and mineral needs skyrocket during pregnancy, however. You need more vitamin A, folate and iron, as well as increased amounts of most other nutrients. That means you need to eat a lot more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and milk.

Your responsibility is great, but you needn’t be overwhelmed. Focus on a variety of minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods and you can rest assured you’re providing your baby with everything she needs for healthy growth and development. Our mix-and-match meal plan will help you choose the right foods to do just that.


During all three trimesters, choose one item from each category for each meal, plus an additional choice from the vegetables category at dinner. Also choose three items from the snacks section throughout the day. During your second and third trimesters, add an item from the second-and-third-trimesters category at lunch and dinner. (First-trimester menus equal about 2,200 calories per day; second- and third-trimester menus equal about 2,500 calories per day.)


Grains (pick 1) 2/3 cup oatmeal cooked in 2/3 cup low-fat (2%) milk, topped with 2 tablespoons raisins, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted and topped with 2 tablespoons peanut or soy-nut butter 1 cup shredded-wheat cereal topped with 1 tablespoon chopped almonds, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries and 1 rounded tablespoon brown sugar 2 whole-grain frozen waffles, toasted and topped with 2 tablespoons berry or maple syrup 1 3-ounce bran muffin with 2 tablespoons peanut butter or cashew-nut butter 2 slices French toast (made with 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons low-fat [2%] milk, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Calcium (pick 1) 1 cup vanilla soy milk, fortified with calcium and vitamin D 1 cup low-fat (2%) milk 6 ounces low-fat yogurt 1 ounce cheddar cheese Hot cocoa (made with 1/2 cup low-fat [2%] milk, 1/2 cup water and 1 packet sugar-free cocoa mix)

Fruits (pick 1) 1 large navel orange 1/2 cup stewed prunes 1 1/4 cup blueberries 2 cups cantaloupe or honeydew melon, cubed 2 1/2 cups strawberries 1 banana (dust with cinnamon powder if desired)

lunch Entree (pick 1) Turkey sandwich: 2 ounces turkey meat, 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce, 1 lettuce leaf, 2 teaspoons mayonnaise. Grilled vegetable sandwich: 2 slices eggplant and 1/3 red pepper, cut into slices, brushed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grilled in a skillet. Place on 2 slices of French bread with 1 slice low-fat mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar. 1 cup split-pea soup with 1 small piece of cornbread Grilled-chicken Caesar salad: 2 cups romaine lettuce topped with 1 medium tomato, chopped; 3 ounces grilled chicken breast; and 5 teaspoons Caesar salad dressing. 1 whole-wheat pita bread, torn into pieces and dipped in 1/2 cup hummus Beef and bean burrito: 1 10-inch flour tortilla filled with 2 ounces extra-lean cooked beef; 1/4 cup refried beans; 1 medium tomato, chopped; 3 tablespoons corn kernels; and 2 tablespoons salsa.

Calcium (pick 1) 1 cup vanilla soy milk, fortified with calcium and vitamin D 1 cup low-fat (2%) milk 6 ounces low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt 1 ounce Monterey Jack cheese 2/3 cup low-fat (2%) milk, warmed, flavored with vanilla and nutmeg

Fruits & vegetables (pick 1) 2 1/2 cups papaya Carrot-raisin salad: 1/2 cup grated carrots, 2 teaspoons raisins, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons mayonnaise. Spinach-pear salad: 1 cup fresh spinach leaves; 1/2 pear, sliced; 4 cucumber slices; 1 tablespoon bean sprouts; and 2 teaspoons French dressing. Vegetable platter: 1 cup broccoli florets, 10 baby carrots, 1/4 cup sliced jicama and 3 mushrooms. Serve with 4 teaspoons sour-cream-and-onion dip. Fruit salad: 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced; 1/2 small can mandarin oranges, drained; 1/2 banana, sliced; 10 fresh raspberries; and 1/2 teaspoon candied ginger, crumbled. Three-bean salad: 1/4 cup cooked kidney beans, 1/4 cup cooked green beans, 1/4 cup cooked garbanzo beans and 3 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion, tossed with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill.

In 2nd & 3rd trimesters (pick 1) 1 large orange 1 medium apple, cored and sprinkled with cinnamon 1 steamed artichoke with yogurt dip (2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt mixed with lemon juice and pepper to taste) 5 vanilla wafers 1/2 cup fruit sorbet


Entree (pick 1) Chicken-Apricot Curry With Rice* Halibut With Grilled Corn and Tomato Salsa* Black Bean and Couscous Salad* Steak and potato: 3 ounces extra-lean grilled steak and a baked potato topped with 2 tablespoons sour cream. Fettuccine with shrimp and vegetables: Sauté 2 garlic cloves, minced; 2 green onions, chopped; and 5 jumbo shrimp in 1 teaspoon olive oil, then mix and heat with 2 tablespoons dry white wine; 3 tablespoons chicken broth; 1/2 cup cooked broccoli; and 1/4 cup cooked carrot rounds. Serve with 1 cup cooked fettuccine. Tofu fajita: 1 10-inch flour tortilla filled with the following, grilled: 3 ounces tofu cubes, 1/4 cup red onion slices, 1/4 cup green pepper and 1/2 cup shredded cabbage, tossed with 1 tablespoon fajita sauce.

Calcium (pick 1) 1 cup vanilla soy milk, fortified with calcium and vitamin D 1 cup low-fat (2%) milk 6 ounces low-fat yogurt 1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese 2/3 cup low-fat (2%) milk blended with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 4 ice cubes

Vegetables (pick 2) 1 cup steamed spinach, sautéed with 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste Sweet-potato “fries”: 1 sweet potato, sliced into 3/4-inch strips. Rub with 1 teaspoon olive oil and bake on a cookie sheet at 400° F for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Sautéed asparagus: 2 cups fresh asparagus spears sautéed in 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons chicken broth and garlic powder. Sauté 12–15 minutes, then top with thin lemon slices. Tossed salad: 1 1/2 cups lettuce; 1/2 medium tomato, chopped; 1 tablespoon cooked kidney beans; 1 tablespoon creamy cucumber salad dressing. Corn and peppers: 1/2 cup corn and 1/3 cup diced sweet red peppers sautéed in 1 teaspoon butter. Gingered carrots: 1 cup steamed, sliced carrots tossed with 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, 2 teaspoons orange marmalade and 1 teaspoon melted butter.

In 2nd & 3rd trimesters (pick 1) 2 slices French bread 1 cup steamed brown rice 1 cup frozen vanilla yogurt topped with 1/2 teaspoon orange zest 1 cup decaffeinated cappuccino with 1 biscotti


(pick 3 a day) 1 mango 4 cups air-popped popcorn 2 cups strawberries drizzled with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup 2 graham crackers topped with 2 teaspoons peanut butter 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries Cranberry spritzer: Mix 8 ounces cranberry juice with 8 ounces sparkling water, ice cubes and a twist of lemon. 1 large baked apple 1 slice cinnamon-raisin bread dipped in 4 tablespoons low-fat cinnamon-apple yogurt 2/3 cup pineapple chunks with 1/3 cup cottage cheese