WIC in Vermont

Before Birth

Eating for Two

Eating a variety of healthy foods at regular meals and snacks will give you the calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals you need for your baby's healthy growth and development. You need to eat enough to give your baby what she needs to grow and to give yourself enough energy to keep going throughout your pregnancy.

Folic acid, a B vitamin, is especially important during your pregnancy to protect your baby from certain birth defects. Foods which are good sources of folic acid are indicated with a * below. Iron is also important to help your body make more red blood cells.

You can visit mypyramid.gov to learn more about nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Good Nutrition For A Healthy Pregnancy

Here's a general guideline of the types and amounts of foods you want to eat each day ...

Milk, yogurt and cheese 3-4 servings

Choose lowfat or non-fat millk, yogurts and cheese.

Some examples of a serving are:

  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 2 ounces or slices of cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup milkshake (made with low-fat milk)

Whole Grains 6-11 servings

Choose whole grain breads, pasta, rice and cereals.

Some examples of a serving are:

  • 1 slice of bread* or 1 tortilla
  • 1 cup of dry cereal*
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta* or rice*

Vegetables 3 -5 servings

Some examples of a serving are:

  • 1 cup green leafy vegetables, such as spinach*, kale*, collard greens* or romaine lettuce*
  • 1/2 cup cooked broccoli*, beets*, green beans or carrots
  • 4 fluid ounces tomato or vegetable juice
  • 1/2 cup raw carrot and cucumber Slices
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup winter squash
  • 1 cup vegetable soup

Fruits 2 -4 servings

Choose fruits and juices without added sugar.

Some examples of a serving are:

  • 1 medium sized apple, banana, orange*
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, strawberries, melon
  • 1/2 cup cooked or canned fruit (in juice)
  • 4 fluid ounces 100% fruit juice

Meat and Beans 2-3 servings (6 ounces)

Some examples of a serving are:

  • 2-3 ounces lean meat, poultry, fish
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cooked beans*
  • 1 cup tofu

Iron is found in lean meat, poultry, fish, peanut butter, dried beans, lentils and peas, nuts or seeds, and green leafy vegetables.

Fats and Sweets

Eat less of these foods:

  • Butter, margarine
  • Dressing, mayonnaise
  • Chips
  • Sugar, candy
  • Pastries, desserts
  • Cookies, soda

Drink Plenty of Liquids

At least 8 glasses of fluid each day.

Choose beverages that are low in calories and caffeine free

  • Plain seltzer with a splash of juice
  • Water with a lemon wedge
  • Low fat milk

Foods to Avoid

Avoid the following foods completely while you are pregnant:

Un-pasteurized milk or cheeses made from un-pasteurized milk (examples include: feta or other goat cheeses, brie, camembert, blue-veined cheeses such as Roquefort, and Mexican-style soft cheeses like asadero and queso blanco.)

  • Sprouts (such as alfalfa sprouts)
  • Raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs
  • Un-pasteurized juices or cider
  • Fish that contain high levels of mercury such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish
  • Pregnant women should not eat more than 12 ounces (or 4 meals) of fish per week
  • Raw or undercooked meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish
  • Choose chunk light tuna instead of white or albacore tuna.
  • Pregnant women should eat only those deli meats and hotdogs that have been reheated to steaming hot
  • Visit cdc.gov/foodsafety for more food safety information.


Although healthy eating is the key to good nutrition, it isn't always possible to get everything you need from the food you eat during your pregnancy. You may be given a multivitamin with folic acid and iron to help you get the vitamins and minerals you need to support the growth of your baby. Check with your health care provider for recommendations on taking a prenatal vitamin.

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