One of the first things that many new expecting mothers’ do when they find out that they are pregnant is make a promise to eat healthier during pregnancy. It is very important to maintain a healthy balanced diet while pregnant to ensure that your baby gets the nutrients it needs to fully develop inside your belly! Though it can be hard when experiencing cravings, knowing what foods are okay to eat vs what you should avoid is extremely important.

Below is a list of What to Eat and What Not to Eat While Pregnant…

What foods to eat during pregnancy:

While pregnant, you should consume around 300 more calories per day than you normally would.

Be sure to have variety in your diet. Pregnant women should eat around 6-11 servings of grains, 2-4 servings of fruit, 4 servings of vegetables, 3 servings of protein rich foods such as meat, fish, nuts, chicken, eggs and 4 servings of dairy.

Eat foods that are high in fiber. These include whole-grain bread, pastas, rice, fruits and vegetables.

Get your iron! Try to eat around 27mg of iron per day. Foods that are high in iron include: red meat, pork, sea food, beans, dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, and dried fruits like raisins and apricots.

Take vitamins! Taking prenatal vitamins is a great thing to add to your diet when you become pregnant. During the first 30 days of pregnancy, folic acids found in prenatal vitamins helps to prevent defects of the neural tube, which becomes the spinal cord and brain. Folic acid can also be found in lima beans, chickpeas, and black beans).

Take vitamin C & A. Other vitamins to consider while pregnant are around 70mg of Vitamin C (found in grapefruit, oranges, broccoli, and honey dew). It is also a good idea to include Vitamin A (every other day) into your diet. Vitamin A enriched foods include carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

Stay hydrated! Even when you are not pregnant it is important to stay hydrated. Now that you are carrying a baby it is even more important! Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day!

Wash your vegetables! It is very important to wash any vegetables that you bring home from the grocery store or farmers market. Washing your vegetables is essential when trying to avoid toxoplasmosis, which could contaminate the soil where vegetables grow!

What foods to AVOID during pregnancy:

Do not drink alcohol! Alcohol is extremely dangerous to consume while pregnant. It has been proven to cause birth defects, premature births, and mental retardation in new born babies.

Avoid raw fish! While you are pregnant it is important to avoid raw fish such as oysters, clams, shellfish and sushi. It is important to not consume fish that is high in mercury because this could be harmful to the development of your child in the womb. Fish that are high in mercury include swordfish, mackerel, and shark. Federal guidelines also suggest to limiting low mercury fish, like tuna, to 6 ounces per week.

Limit caffeine. Do not consume more than 300mg of caffeine per day while pregnant. This includes soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate!

Avoid soft cheese. Soft cheeses are often unpasteurized and can cause bacterial disease. Soft cheeses can contain Listeria, which can lead to serious infection that could cause miscarriages. Avoid cheeses such as feta, Brie, and Mexican-style cheese while pregnant. For this same reason, avoid unpasteurized milk!

Do not eat deli meats! Deli meats, including refrigerated meat spreads like pate, have been known to contain the same harmful bacteria as soft cheeses, which is listeria. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and which can be harmful to your baby. However, if you plan to eat deli meats, be sure to heat to kill off any possible bacteria. The safest option is just to avoid it all together.

Do not consume raw eggs! Due to possible exposure to salmonella, it is important to avoid eating raw eggs, or foods that cause raw eggs! This includes licking the spoon while making cookies and brownies! In many cases raw eggs are found in some Cesar Dressings, Mayo, and homemade ice creams.

Maintaining a balanced diet while pregnant is essential to the development of your growing baby! While craving are common while pregnant, it is important to remember which foods are safe, and which can be harmful to the development of your baby in the womb!