Healthy Parent Healthy Children: Canada’s Food Guide For Pregnant Women

Eating every 2–4 hours while awake gives your growing baby a steady supply of nutrients. It may also help you feel better if you’re having trouble with nausea. Skipping meals makes it hard for you and your baby to get all of the nutrients you both need. Visit Health Canada.

This table shows you the number of food guide servings that are recommended for pregnant women.

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How Much More Food Do I Need To Eat?

In the first trimester, you don’t need any extra calories beyond what you normally need. During your second and third trimesters, and when breastfeeding, you’ll need to eat an extra 2–3 food guide servings per day. You can choose these extra servings from a variety of food groups.

In terms of calories, you’ll need:

  • first trimester. Normal healthy eating (no extra calories)
  • second trimester. About 350 extra calories per day
  • third trimester. About 450 extra calories per day
  • breastfeeding. 350–400 extra calories per day

Track your servings

Canada’s Food Guide Servings Tracker can help you keep track of the amount and type of food you eat while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Here are some examples of snacks that contain about 350 calories:

  • fruit parfait containing 175 ml (¾ cup) plain yogurt (1–2% M.F.), 125 ml (½ cup) unsweetened berries and 125 ml (½ cup) granola (this contains one serving milk and alternatives, one serving vegetables and fruit and one serving grain products)
  • granola bar, 8 raw baby carrots and 250 ml (1 cup) skim milk or fortified soy beverage (this contains one serving grain products, one serving vegetables and fruit and one serving milk and alternatives)
  • half of a multigrain bagel with 50 g (1.5 oz) light cheddar cheese, 125 ml (½ cup) blueberries and a glass of water (this contains one serving grain products, one serving milk and alternatives and one serving vegetables and fruit)

Granola bar, 8 raw baby carrots and 1 cup of skim milk or fortified soy beverage

Here are some examples of snacks that contain about 450 calories:

  • 1 small pita with 50 g (1.5 oz) cheese and 1 medium tomato (this contains one serving grain products, one serving milk and alternatives and one serving vegetables and fruit)
  • 1 pear, 60 ml (¼ cup) almonds and 175 ml (¾ cup) yogurt (1–2% M.F.) (this contains one serving vegetables and fruit, one serving meat and alternatives and one serving milk and alternatives)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) peanut butter on 1 slice rye bread with ½ medium banana and 125 ml (½ cup) of milk (this contains one serving meat and alternatives, one serving grain products, ½ serving vegetables and fruit and ½ serving milk and alternatives)

1 small pita with 2 ounces of cheese and 1 medium tomato

If you avoid certain foods, are on a restricted diet or have allergies, you may be missing important nutrients you and your baby need. You don’t need to avoid any foods during your pregnancy to prevent your baby from developing allergies. You only need to avoid the foods that you are allergic to. Talk to your health care provider or call Health Link toll-free in Alberta at 811.

If you have trouble digesting milk-based foods (lactose intolerance), you can buy lactose-reduced milk or fortified soy beverages in most grocery stores. You can pre-treat your regular milk with liquid drops, or take tablets before having a food or drink that has lactose.

If you have limited money to buy enough food to meet your needs for pregnancy, talk to your health care provider about resources in your area. Some communities have special programs that offer access to food, milk and/or multivitamins with folic acid to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

For more information please click here!

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