Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is very important for you and your baby. After all, the food you eat is your baby's main source of nutrition. Described below are some general guidelines, designed for a 20-30 year-old woman who has a normal weight and exercises 30-60 minutes a day. If you're older, overweight, or exercise more or less, your nutritional needs might differ. To find the plan that fits you and your lifestyle, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Daily Food Plan for Moms.

Grains

grains Grains provide essential carbohydrates, which is you and your baby’s main source of energy. Many whole-grain and enriched products also contain fiber, iron, B vitamins, various minerals and some protein.

Whole grains are the optimal form of grains to have in your diet. You can get most of your day's grains with a bowl of whole grain cereal for breakfast, a lunchtime sandwich made with two slices of whole-wheat bread and whole-wheat pasta or rice for dinner. Try wild rice or barley in soups, stews, casseroles and salads.

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Fruits and vegetables

fruits

Fruits and vegetables are a very important part of pregnancy nutrition, since they provide fiber and various vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables, and iron and Vitamin A found in dark green vegetables. Be sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating.

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Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans

meat

Foods in this group have plenty of protein, as well as B vitamins and iron. Protein is very important for your baby's growth. Good sources of protein are eggs, fish, beans, chickpeas or whey protein.

Try whole-wheat toast with peanut butter for breakfast. Eat a scrambled egg or an omelet for lunch. Serve a salmon fillet for dinner. Add chickpeas or black beans to your salad. Check out the section on foods to avoid in order to limit your Mercury consumption in fish.

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Dairy products

Dairy products are a good source of calcium, vitamin D and protein. Some dairy sources, such as yogurt are a good source of probiotics, which aid in digestion and decrease your risk of vaginal yeast infections. If you are lactose intolerant try calcium-fortified orange juice and experiment with lactose-free products. Use an over-the-counter lactase enzyme product when you eat or drink dairy products. 3 cups a day of dairy products are ideal regardless of your weight or height. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products.

Water

Water carries nutrients from the food you eat to your baby. It can also help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and excessive swelling, and urinary tract or bladder infections. As your pregnancy progresses, drinking too little water can contribute to premature or early labor.

You should drink around 8 oz of water every hour while awake. Try to avoid liquids with too much sugar or caffeine.

Caffeine

coffeCaffeine has an effect on you losing water and becoming dehydrated. Caffeine should be limited to 200mg a day, which is about 2 cups of regular coffee. If you do drink caffeinated beverages, replace your water with at least 2 glasses of water for every cup of caffeinated product.

Fats, oils and sweets

It is ok to have these once in a while, but try to control the size of your portions. It becomes easier to gain weight while pregnant with sweets.