HEALTHY DIET

Enjoying a healthy, balanced diet during your pregnancy will ensure your unborn baby gets the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong.

Read on to find out what’s considered ‘healthy’ when it comes to your pregnancy diet.

Healthy Pregnancy Meal Planner

Sustaining a healthy pregnancy diet can be made easier if you plan the specific nutrients and calories you should be eating according to your pregnancy stage and BMI. Here’s a step-by-step general nutrition guideline on the foods you should and shouldn’t eat, as well as some simple recipes to include in your pregnancy meal planner.

Why is a balanced diet so important during pregnancy?

A balanced healthy diet is crucial for good health, especially when you’re pregnant. Getting the right nutrition is one of the best ways to give your baby a head start in life. A balanced diet during pregnancy needs to include a variety of healthy foods from each food group, which includes whole-grains, vegetables, fruits, protein like fish, poultry, lean red meats, beans and low fat calcium-rich dairy foods, which are all vital ingredients in your healthy pregnancy meal plan.

Don’t eat more, eat healthy

Your body now needs additional nutrients to support the growth and development of your baby, but this does not mean you should be eating more. Your body becomes more efficient at absorbing nutrients while you’re pregnant which allows you to start building stores of vital vitamins and minerals. This means that your body can naturally achieve the levels required for both you and your baby without increasing your food intake.

A “healthy plate” for healthy eating

During your pregnancy, nutrition is a vital part of preparing for your new baby. A pregnancy “healthy plate” style is a simple guide to help you get all the nutrients you and your baby need. Take a look at the diagram and check the foods you should include in your daily meals.

Follow our guide for choosing nutrient-dense foods to help you through each stage of your pregnancy. We will help to explain how you and your baby can eat healthier every step of the way through our pregnancy meal plan.

1st TRIMESTER MEAL PLAN

Your first trimester diet should be rich in folic acid, which is great for your baby’s developing nervous system. Broccoli, spinach, citrus fruits, asparagus, beans, peas, lentils, avocados, seeds, nuts, carrots and celery are all sources of folic acid. Iron is also important for pregnancy. Red meat, poultry, dried fruits (apricots and peaches), fortified cereals and fish are some of the best sources of iron. If your diet doesn’t include animal protein, you can get iron from legumes, vegetables, and grains. We show you how you can include these ingredients in soups, salads, sandwiches and snacks, in our 1st trimester meal planner.

Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast
  • 1 cup of iron fortified cereals
  • 1 cup of low fat milk
  • A tbsp of chopped dried fruit
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Pasteurized cheese
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • ½ cup of raw vegetables
  • 1 cup of iron-fortified oatmeal.
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ¼ cup of pistachios
  • Low-fat pasteurized cheese
  • Sliced tomato and cucumber
  • 1 slice of brown bread
  • 1 cup of wholegrain cereal
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of fruit salad
  • Whole wheat zaatar manoushe
  • 1 cup of low fat milk
  • ½ cup of fruit salad
  • 2-3 mini falafels
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • Vegetable slices
  • 1 boiled egg
Snack
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • A handful of nuts
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of fruit salad
  • 1 raw avocado
  • ½ cup of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries or blueberries)
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • Cucumber & carrot sticks
  • 1 raw avocado
  • 1 cup of vegetable soup such as spinach, green peppers, tomatoes etc.
  • ½ cup of papaya & peaches
  • 1 cup of yogurt
Lunch
  • 60g roast chicken breast
  • 1 cup of pasta with tomato sauce
  • ½ bowl of tabbouleh
  • 60g baked tuna
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • 1 cup of baked vegetables
  • ½ cup of hummus
  • 60g grilled beef
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 cup green leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce and broccoli)
  • 60g kofta meat balls
  • 1 cup of pasta
  • ½ bowl of tabbouleh
  • 3 meat balls potatoes, broccoli and peas
  • ½ cup of rice
  • 1 cup of lentil soup
  • 60g baked salmon
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Mashed potato
  • ½ cup of fresh salad
  • 2 kebab skewers
  • Stuffed Zucchini and vine leaves
  • Avocado salad
Snack
  • 1 cup of grapefruit, orange, apricot & papaya salad
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 10 almonds
  • Handful of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 3 dates
  • 1 apple
  • 1 yogurt
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of chopped melon & papaya
  • 1 cup of low fat milk
  • ¼ cup pistachios
Dinner
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 slice of brown bread
  • Bowl of fresh vegetable salad
  • Fresh Greek salad
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • Vegetable salad such as cucumber, carrot, green peppers, tomatoes etc…
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 60g roast chicken
  • 1 cup of roasted vegetables (marrow, carrots, mushrooms & tomato)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 slices soft toast
  • 2 tbsp of labneh
  • Cucumber and tomato sticks
  • 3 chicken strips
  • 1 cup of spinach soup
  • 1 slice bread
  • 2 kabab skewers
  • Baked sweet potato wedges
  • ½ cup of green vegetables salad

2nd TRIMESTER MEAL PLAN

During your second trimester, meals that are rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids should now play a bigger role as part of your diet. These nutrients will help your baby grow strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in your body, which helps your bones and teeth stay healthy. Omega 3-fatty acids play a role in your baby’s vision and brain development. Foods rich in vitamin D and omega 3, as well as calcium and magnesium which are very important to consume in the 2nd trimester include:

  • Salmon, mackerel and other oily fish such as tuna, sardines as well as cod liver oil.
  • Eggs and dairy products.
  • Broccoli, okra, beans, lentils and almonds.
  • Avocados, figs, bananas and spinach.
Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 cup of low fat milk
  • 1 boiled egg
  • ½ cup of cucumber slices
  • ½ cup of fortified cereals with dried fruit
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of fortified oats
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Fruit (pear or apple)
  • 2-3 mini falafels
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 30g pasteurized cheese
  • ½ cup papaya
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 2 boiled potatoes
  • Vegetables slices (carrot, tomato & cucumber)
  • 1 cup of fortified cereal with almonds
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Avocado salad
  • Arabic bread with zaatar or low fat labneh
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 figs
Snack
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice
  • 2 Figs
  • 10 almonds
  • Arabic bread with zaatar or low fat labneh
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 bowl of fruit salad (banana, figs & avocado)
  • Handful of dried fruit & pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 cup of grapefruit, orange, apricot & papaya salad
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 10 almonds
  • 1 cup of mushroom soup
  • ½ bowl tabbouleh
  • 1 bowl of vegetables salad
  • 3 dates
Lunch
  • 60g fresh baked tuna
  • 1 cup cooked pasta
  • 1 bowl of vegetable salad
  • 60g grilled chicken breast
  • 1 cup of rice
  • steamed vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower)
  • 3 meat balls
  • 1 cup of black beans & vegetable salad
  • 1 cup of spaghetti
  • 60g grilled beef
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of cooked vegetables or fresh spinach
  • 60g salmon
  • 1 cup of roasted vegetables
  • ½ cup of avocado salad
  • 3 kofta balls
  • 1 cup of pasta
  • 1 bowl of tabbouleh
  • 90g beef steak
  • 1 cup of rice
  • roasted vegetables
  • 1 cup of vegetables soup
Snack
  • ½ cup of hummus
  • Vegetables sticks
  • 1 handful of almonds
  • ¼ cup of dried fruit
  • 1 cup of spinach soup
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • ½ cup of fruit salad
  • ½ cup of cooked beans
  • 2 figs
  • Avocado salad
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 1 bowl of fruit salad
  • 1 yogurt
Dinner
  • 1 bowl of steamed vegetables
  • 1 yogurt
  • 1 bowl of mushroom soup with chicken pieces
  • ¼ cup of unsalted nuts
  • 90g beef steak
  • 1 bowl of cooked vegetables
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of brown bread
  • 1 bowl of vegetable salad
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 yogurt
  • 1 bowl of vegetables soup with chicken pieces
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 yogurt

3rd TRIMESTER MEAL PLAN

During the third and final trimester of your pregnancy, your baby grows quickly. Their eyes, bones, organs, brain and lungs are developing and their nutritional needs are increasing. In addition to this rapid growth, your body is preparing to give birth. A healthy diet, packed with nutritious foods, is just as important now as it was during the first two trimesters of your pregnancy.

Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast
  • ½ bowl of fortified cereal with blueberries
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of oat flakes
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of fruit salad with nuts
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 boiled egg
  • ½ cup of hummus
  • tomato, cucumber & carrot slices
  • 1 slice of bread
  • pasteurized cheese
  • 1 bowl of fresh green vegetables salad
  • 1 cup of fortified wheat bran
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 handful of walnuts and dried fruit
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Slices of cucumber, carrot & tomato
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 whole toast
  • ½ cooked beans
  • 2-3 mini falafels
Snack
  • 1 cup of fruit salad (grapefruit, orange & apricot salad with nuts)
  • 3 dates & figs
  • 2 handful of walnuts cashews and pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 banana
  • 2 figs
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • ½ cup of blueberries
  • 1 cup of grapefruit, orange, apricot & papaya salad
  • 2 figs
  • 1 handful of nuts, dried fruit and seeds
  • 1 bowl of vegetable salad
  • 3 dates
  • 10 almonds
Lunch
  • 60g chicken breast
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 bowl of spinach soup
  • ½ bowl of tabbouleh
  • 60g salmon
  • 2 baked potatoes
  • ½ bowl avocado salad
  • 60g grilled beef
  • 1 cup of spaghetti
  • 1 cup of steamed vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, carrot, tomato & eggplant)
  • 60g lamb chops with beans
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of green leafy vegetable soup
  • 60g kofta
  • 1 cup of pasta & red beans
  • ½ bowl of tabbouleh
  • 60g fresh or baked tuna
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of vegetable salad
  • 60g lamb
  • 1 cup of spaghetti
  • 1 cup of mushroom soup
Snack
  • Mushroom & zucchini soup with chicken pieces
  • ¼ cup of unsalted nuts
  • 1 cup of green vegetables salad
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 2 figs
  • 1 cup of strawberry milkshake
  • 3 dates
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Cucumber sticks
  • 1 cup of baked vegetables
  • 1 handful of walnuts cashews and pumpkin seeds
  • Cheese on toast
  • 1 cup of zucchini soup
  • 3 dates
  • 1 cup of fruit salad
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 10 almonds
Dinner
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 bowl of vegetable salad
  • Cheese sandwich with tomato slices
  • 1 cup of vegetable soup
  • 1 cup of fresh Greek salad
  • 1 slice of toast
  • Zaatar with low-fat labneh
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 handfuls of dried fruit
  • 10 almonds
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 cup of milk or yogurt
  • 1 bowl of fresh salad
  • 1 slice of bread with labneh
  • 1 bowl of spinach cheese salad
  • 1 slice of bread

In addition to your basic diet needs, you’ll need an extra 200-300 calories a day during your third trimester.

What you need to eat to add an extra 200-300 calories a day

These are simple example foods you can eat to increase your calorie intake. There are lots of other foods for you to try, but make sure they don’t increase your intake too much.

  • 1 medium apple, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of celery and 1 tablespoon of natural/organic peanut butter
  • 1 medium banana and 3/4 cup of low-fat pasteurized cheese
  • Pitta bread with reduced-fat hummus and grated carrot
  • 2 medium mangos
  • A low-fat yoghurt with either nuts or fruit inside

Adding dried apricots, apples, almonds and other fruit, raw vegetables and nuts to the above suggestions can increase your calorie intake.

But don’t forget, your body is adapting itself to the pregnancy and is absorbing more calcium from the foods you eat in order to strengthen your baby’s bones. This means you don’t have to eat more, you should just eat more calcium-rich foods. So as well as dairy foods, and other non-dairy food, good sources of calcium include dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, kale and okra, canned fish like salmon and sardines, raw almonds, dried apricots and figs, sesame seeds, white beans and fortified orange juice. Try to also eat at least 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of vegetables, and 8 oz. of whole grain bread products a day. You’ll need 6.5 oz. of protein from lean meat, poultry, beans, nuts or eggs every day and at least 3 cups of low-fat milk or yogurt. The meals in the 3rd trimester meal planner help you achieve these objectives.

Foods you should avoid when you’re pregnant

Here is a simple guide to some foods that may present a possible risk to your baby:

  • Raw or partially cooked meats, fish and chicken, because there could be a risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.
  • Raw or undercooked eggs; that includes any foods that are made with them too (such as mayonnaise, certain ice creams and some home-made mousses).
  • Unpasteurised dairy foods.
  • Liver and products made with it, such as liver pate.
  • Fish that contain high levels of mercury, such as shark, swordfish and tuna (big eye). Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage.
  • Smoked seafood because it could be contaminated with listeria.
  • The recommended daily limit for caffeine is 200 mg. This means 2 mugs of coffee or tea a day. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, some sodas and chocolate.

Remember to consult your doctor if you are unsure of what you can or cannot eat.

Supplements: Should or shouldn’t you?

Some nutrients are more difficult to get from foods than others. For example, vitamin D is vital for strong and healthy bones. Egg yolk, oily fish, breakfast cereal and vitamin D fortified food provide us with vitamin D. Natural sunlight does too – through our skin. However, be careful about how much time you spend exposed to the sun, especially in our climate. Overexposure may result in pigmentation issues, especially during pregnancy. Ask your doctor about how long you should stay in the sun, just in case.

Supplements help to increase your intake of vitamin D. But before you decide anything, you should consult with your doctor first.

Contact us

Our team of experts is ready to answer your questions and support you on your journey from pregnancy to toddlerhood. For more information and relevant advice, please contact us between 9am–6pm from Saturday to Thursday:

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