Nutritious and delicious: what to eat in pregnancy for a healthy journey

Practical tips for assuming proper nutritional habits in pregnancy

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By Kenny G

Knowing what to eat in pregnancy and what not to is a key aspect in this delicate phase: healthy, balanced and varied diet that can provide macro- and micronutrients, avoiding a whole range of foods that are not recommended. Complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, fibers and good fats should not be lacking.

Let’s dig into it step by step: here are the answers to your frequently asked questions.

What to eat in pregnancy: general advice

Not only recommended foods and foods to avoid, a correct diet is also based on following some simple rules:

  • make at least 5 meals during the day, including mid-morning snack, afternoon snack and after-dinner snack, avoiding binge eating so as not to weigh the body down
  • eating slowly so as to avoid abdominal bloating
  • drink 2 l of water a day
  • wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with baking soda or an anti-bacterial product

What to eat during the first months of pregnancy

In the first trimester the mother’s energy requirements do not undergo major changes, however, many women experience the first symptoms such as nausea, constipation, and vomiting.

For this reason, it is often recommended to prefer small meals many times a day instead of meals that are too heavy. Dry foods also come in handy, while acidic foods, starting with tomatoes, should be avoided.

What to eat in pregnancy: second and third trimester

During the second trimester, energy requirements increase about 350 kCal and in the third trimester they reach 460 kCal, so it is important to provide the body with everything it needs, alternating in the diet carbohydrates, good fats, fibers and proteins in a balanced way.

None of these nutrients should be missing, including complex carbohydrates, which are really valuable for fetal development. Iron, vitamin D supplements may be necessary if the doctor deems it appropriate.

What to eat in pregnancy: types of cooking

Some types of cooking are more recommended than others during pregnancy, let’s find out which ones.

  • Steaming because it preserves the nutrients of food, although it is not 100 percent safe to eliminate any bacteria and toxins.
  • Boiling at high temperatures, which is very useful to eliminate the risk of contamination.
  • Bakingat high temperatures, recommended to eliminate hazardous agents
  • Frying on the griddle, the most recommended of all.
  • Frying pan cooking,as long as you make moderate use of oil.

What to eat in pregnancy: recommended foods

Here is a list of recommended foods:

  • well-cooked fish such as cod, trout, salmon as they are rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids
  • foods rich in high biological value protein and B vitamins, such as lean meats, fish, well-cooked eggs, pasta or rice with legumes
  • iron-rich foods such as legumes, eggs, fennel, chicory
  • dried fruits
  • fruits and vegetables, as they are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins
  • fiber-rich foods
  • foods rich in folic acid
  • lean meats
  • legumes such as beans, peas, lentils
  • whole grain pasta and rice
  • farro
  • extra virgin olive oil

What absolutely should not be eaten during pregnancy?

Here is a list of foods to avoid during this period:

  • unpasteurized raw milk, to avoid the risk of contracting listeria bacteria
  • alcohol, because it can cause malformations and birth weight problems
  • raw fruits and vegetables if not properly washed
  • raw or not fully cooked meat to avoid the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis
  • raw or not totally cooked fish or smoked to avoid the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis.
  • seafood
  • refined grains
  • swordfish, tuna, eel, blue shark due to the risk of mercury contamination
  • raw or inadequately cooked eggs and sauces prepared from eggs
  • artificially sweetened foods and beverages
  • white rind cheeses such as brie and taleggio to avoid the risk of listeriosis, but also unpasteurized cheeses, gorgonzola and roquefort

You should also limit your consumption of fried foods, foods that are too fatty and too salty, and sweets. But also drink coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages in moderation.

Can you drink coffee during pregnancy?

The answer is yes, but as the Ministry of Health specifies, coffee is among the beverages to drink in moderation from the beginning of pregnancy. In fact, the caffeine it contains is able to cross the placenta, and in addition, the metabolism of caffeine during this period is slowed by 15 times. Better to opt for decaffeinated coffees if anything.

When to take folic acid in pregnancy

According to data from the Ministry of Health, pregnant women should take at least 400 micrograms per day of folic acid, which is most useful in preventing both spina bifida and anencephaly.

It is therefore important to supplement it starting one month before and continuing for 3 months after conception.

what to eat in pregnancy
Fruits and vegetables play a key role, all the more so in these months. From nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to lean proteins and whole grains, make informed choices to ensure a balanced and nourishing diet throughout your pregnancy.

What to eat in pregnancy: vegetarian and vegan diet

The vegetarian diet and the vegan diet are compatible with pregnancy, but it is important that diet in pregnancy be balanced and varied.

Ideally, it is best to be followed up by a nutritionist who can provide exact guidance on the type of foods to be introduced during the 9 months, also seeking advice on the possible use of vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and Omega-3 supplements.

What to eat in pregnancy to keep fit?

To keep fit in pregnancy, one should not follow weight-loss diets but simply eat a balanced diet at least 5 times a day, avoiding excess and junk food. It is also important to drink plenty of water and take a few walks to keep minimally active.

How to get rid of hunger attacks in pregnancy?

In addition to having small meals several times a day, you can manage uncontrollable hunger attacks with healthy, satiating snacks.

Recommended for example are dry bread, oil seeds and galette. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

What vegetables you cannot eat during pregnancy

Although vegetables (even raw ones) are among the recommended foods, it is important to wash them thoroughly. Raw soybean, radish and alfalfa sprouts, and fresh unpasteurized vegetable juices should be avoided instead.

What kind of pizza you can eat during pregnancy

Almost all pizzas are allowed, starting with the classic pizza margherita, the important thing being that all ingredients are well cooked. In contrast, pizzas with cold cuts and four-cheese should be avoided.

What to eat for breakfast during pregnancy

Different foods can be alternated at breakfast, for example fresh fruit (always well washed), whole-grain cereal, galette, toast and whole-grain bread, yogurt.

Can You eat yogurt during pregnancy

Yes, yogurt is allowed as long as it is made from pasteurized milk. In fact, the latter is brought to high temperatures to eliminate any pathogens.

What is the best water to drink during pregnancy

One can safely drink tap water because it is bacteriologically safe while the most recommended natural bottled waters are those with medium mineralization. Sparkling water is also allowed.

Why to reduce salt in pregnancy

Salt can be used in moderation, preferring iodized salt, because high consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

How many daily calories in pregnancy?

Although energy requirements increase during pregnancy reaching 350 kCal per day in the second trimester and 460 kCal per day in the third trimester, it is not necessary to eat for two; in fact, it is strongly discouraged.

In order to grow well, the baby needs adequate nutrient intake but without excess. In addition, excessive weight gain is a risk factor for the health of the mother, who generally should not gain more than 10 kg.

More suggestions for your kids

Lots of useful tips to follow: