It is a common myth that you can eat whatever you want when you’re pregnant — bowls of ice cream, bags of chips — because you’re eating for two.

But that is not the case. Calgary Foothills PCN health professionals have put together some practical examples of what you can eat during pregnancy to ensure you and your baby stay as healthy as possible.

Watch this video (3:04) for some healthy snack suggestions and to learn more about what you should be eating during pregnancy.

How much to eat in each trimester:

1. First trimester

During the first trimester of your pregnancy — from about 13 weeks on — when your baby is the size of a pea or smaller, you don’t need to eat any extra calories. You might crave extra food, but your body and your baby don’t actually need it.

2. Second trimester

Pregnant woman eating a healthy snack

Apples make a good healthy snack

In the second trimester, you need to eat only about 340 extra calories each day. You can add a daily healthy snack to your diet to accommodate the extra calories. That said, 340 calories a day isn’t a lot of extra food. Here are some examples of what the extra food could look like on your plate:

  • A fruit parfait with ¾ cup plain yogurt, half a cup of berries and half a cup of granola is about 350 calories. (It offers calcium, protein and fibre).
  • 1 cup of bran cereal with a cup of milk and a small apple is about 350 calories and offers calcium and fibre, with a bonus of iron from the cereal.
  • Half a multigrain bagel with 50 grams of cheese and half a cup of blueberries is about 350 calories and offers calcium, protein and fibre. Add a cup of water with that to make sure you’re getting enough fluid.

Just one of these snacks — on top of your normal pre-pregnancy daily calorie requirements — is the total amount of extra food you need to eat each day during the second trimester of your pregnancy.

3. Third trimester

In the third trimester, from about 28 weeks on, the typical pregnant woman will need to consume an extra 454 calories each day.

Again 454 calories doesn’t add up to a lot of extra food as you can see from the examples. Try:

  • Half a small pita with 50 grams of cheese, lettuce and 1 medium tomato — about 450 calories (a good source of fibre and calcium)
  • 1 pear, 2 tablespoons of almonds and ¾ cup of yogurt — about 450 calories. This offers protein, fibre and calcium.
Pregnant woman eating a healthy pita

Half a small pita with 50 grams of cheese, lettuce and 1 medium tomato contains the amount of extra calories a pregnant woman needs to eat each day in the third trimester

You can also try 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on one slice of rye bread with half a medium banana and half a cup of milk.

At Riley Park Maternity Clinic, we see almost 3000 patients a year and we know a lot of them struggle to manage weight during pregnancy. We hope it helps to see what the required extra calories actually mean in terms of food choices.

More videos:

Calgary Foothills PCN health professionals — a dietitian, a family doctor and a registered nurse from Riley Park Maternity Clinic — have put together other pregnancy and nutrition videos to help you eat well and stay healthy during your pregnancy.

See these related pregnancy and nutrition videos and blogs:

  • 5 tips to a healthy pregnancy weight, and food cravings: video and blog.
  • 6 tips for eating a healthy lunch and dinner in pregnancy: video and blog.
  • How to get enough calcium in pregnancy, and food safety: video and blog
  • 6 Tips to increase your iron intake in pregnancy: video and blog

The Riley Park Maternity Clinic offers care to low-risk patients based in Calgary and Cochrane during pregnancy. The family doctors at the clinic specialize in obstetrics. Patients deliver at the Foothills Medical Centre. Find out more.

To see more pregnancy and birth-related resources, search “pregnancy” in the Resources section on our website.