First-Trimester Pregnancy Food Chart

June 6, 2023
Tripti Mohan – June 6, 2023
First trimester foods

There is no surprise when we say that an expecting mother should have a healthy…

There is no surprise when we say that an expecting mother should have a healthy diet. Throughout your pregnancy, you must have healthy food and refrain from having junk and sugary food products. What you should avoid during pregnancy is a topic for another day. Today, let’s see what healthy food you must have during your pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. The first trimester, that is, the first 3 months of pregnancy is very important. This is because many changes occur in your body. You would feel dizziness, nausea, and fatigue during this period. It is important that you prepare your body for all that and much more that may occur in the future.

To begin with, you can prepare a food chart that includes all the essential nutrients in the appropriate quantity for the first trimester of pregnancy. Here we help you decide how you can plan your food chart.

Nutritional Needs During the First Trimester

Nutritional Needs During the First Trimester

Increased Calorie Intake

During the first trimester, you really need not increase your calorie intake. 1800 calories per day is the recommended amount for healthy women who are mildly active. You need to focus on having a nutritious and balanced diet during this period. By the third trimester, you may gradually increase your calorie intake by around 200 cal. Ensure that your diet has a balance of all macro and micronutrients.

Essential Macronutrients

Protein: Include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, pulses, milk, and milk products in your daily diet to make it rich in protein.

Carbohydrates: Do not indulge in any weight loss diets while you are pregnant because this would mean that you will cut down on carbohydrate intake. However, during the first trimester, it is very important to include potatoes, rice, and bread in your food. Food rich in carbohydrates gives you much-needed energy.

Fats: Fats are essential for long-term energy. Consuming fats and oil in a controlled manner helps you maintain your energy throughout the day.

Important Micronutrients

Folic acid: Folic acid is considered very helpful in the baby’s development. Dark green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, peas, lentils, and citrus fruits are natural sources of folic acid.

Iron: Iron helps to make hemoglobin in your blood. The more hemoglobin, the better the supply of oxygen to your baby. So, throughout your pregnancy, including iron-rich food items is very important. Food such as cereal, meat, spinach, and beans are good sources of iron. Taking a good quantity of iron also ensures that you do not get anemic. 

Calcium: The formation and strength of bones and teeth are largely supported by calcium content in your body. Around 1000mg per day is recommended for pregnant women. This can be achieved by having dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. 

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is also important for the strength of your baby’s bones. You may include milk, juices, and fatty fish to get the required nutrition.

Omega-3 fatty acids: This is a vital micronutrient that is required for a baby’s brain development and for the development of its retina. Seafood and fish oil are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamins A, C, and E: These vitamins should be taken only in moderation during pregnancy. What is received from food sources is sufficient for the mother’s body. Taking additional supplements without consulting a medical practitioner is considered risky.

Designing a First-Trimester Pregnancy Food Chart

Consultation With a Healthcare Provider

Every woman’s body has different needs. Depending on your BMI and health conditions before pregnancy, your food intake in the first trimester may vary. You may have been asked to take an additional 200 cal per day, but your friend may not be. This is purely because of the differences in your bodies. Do not just eat double the quantity because you are eating for 2. Consult your healthcare provider to understand the appropriate amount of additional food you need to take during the first trimester, if at all.

Food Groups and their Importance

There are five major food groups, namely:

foods group important during first trimester
  • Vegetables, legumes, and beans
  • Fruits
  • Meat, Fish, and Poultry
  • Grains and cereals
  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, and dairy alternatives

As we discussed here, each of these food groups has different sets of nutrients. To get a complete and balanced diet, expecting mothers should include items from all 5 groups almost every day. In fruits and vegetables, try to include seasonal and ones with different colors. 

Sample Meal Ideas and Portion Sizes

  1. Whole grains- 3 servings of cereal
  2. Fruits and vegetables- 6 servings of fruits and vegetables cooked or as salad
  3. Lean proteins- 2 servings of chicken, fish, lentils, and egg
  4. Dairy products- 3 servings of milk, yogurt, cheese
  5. Healthy fats- 2 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, etc
  6. Fluids and hydration- Water and juices

Plan your food chart with a mix of all these groups. Mix and match items from each group so that you get all possible nutrients and never get bored with the food.

Food to Avoid During the First Trimester

While having healthy and nutritious food during the first trimester, you must also make sure that you do not eat food that could be risky to your pregnancy. Some of these items are mentioned here:

  • Raw or undercooked meat and eggs: There could be bacteria in raw or undercooked food that can cause food poisoning or several other diseases.
  • Unpasteurized dairy products: These are also raw and can have bacteria that can give you trouble.
  • Fish high in mercury: Seafood should be an essential part of your diet chart during pregnancy. However, fish high in mercury such as sharks or swordfish must be avoided. Also, avoid raw fish such as sushi.
  • Caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can enter your baby’s bloodstream through yours. It is therefore ideal to avoid these throughout the pregnancy.

Managing Common First-Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms Through Diet

Many of the common first-trimester pregnancy symptoms can be managed through diet. Here are some tips for you:

First Trimester preganancy symptoms

Have small-portion meals frequently instead of 3 or 4 major meals. Also, avoid oily food. Take notice of your likings. If a particular food item makes you nauseous, stay away from it for a while however nutritious it may be!

  • Fatigue and low energy: Don’t shy away from including carbs in your diet. Carbohydrates are what give you energy.
  • Constipation: The best thing to do is have a lot of water. You can also include fibrous food such as some fruits and nuts in your meal.
  • Heartburn and indigestion: Avoid fatty and greasy food throughout your pregnancy. Consuming easy-to-digest food makes things a lot easier for your body.

Additional Tips for a Healthy First Trimester

Things must to during first trimester

The right food is very important during the first trimester, but there are other things you can do too.

Regular exercise: Staying active makes your body and mind healthy. Unless you have been asked to take bed rest, keep yourself mildly active from the very first day of your pregnancy. You can begin with a walk in the morning for half an hour. You may gradually increase the time.

Adequate Hydration: The significance of water is understated. Water can help your skin, your bowel movement, your fatigue, and your overall well-being. Water is your best friend during pregnancy. Keep hydrating your body with water and other liquids.

Food Safety Precautions: We already mentioned that it is not safe to have raw meat or fish to avoid food poisoning. Apart from that, be extra careful about what and where you eat during pregnancy. Trouble in your tummy can make you weak and cause a lot of discomfort.

Adequate Sleep: Due to the hike in the level of pregnancy hormones and for several other reasons, you may have a disturbed sleep cycle in the beginning. But focus on improving your routine by meditating, taking a warm bath, or getting your partner to give you a massage so that you can sleep well.

Prenatal Supplements: However healthy you eat, you may still need to pop a few pills for the extra iron or vitamins. Meet your healthcare professional and follow their instructions while taking prenatal supplements.


Being mindful of what you are eating must be your mantra during your pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Your body is going through a lot of changes that may surprise even you. Pay attention to what the body needs and create a food chart that includes food from all 5 food groups every day. Every meal need not have all the elements, but you can try to include it all during the day.

A healthy and balanced diet can help you manage your pregnancy symptoms and help you sail smoothly through the pregnancy. As we always remind you, do not forget to consult your healthcare provider to understand the specific needs of your body. Happy first trimester to you!


What is a first-trimester pregnancy food chart?

A chart that includes details of portion-wise meal plans for a pregnant woman in her first trimester.

Why is a first-trimester pregnancy food chart important?

A first-trimester pregnancy food chart is important because it helps you have a balanced and nutritious diet.

What should I include in my first-trimester pregnancy food chart?

Fruits, vegetables, meat, legumes, cereals, and dairy products.

Are there any specific foods I should avoid during the first trimester?

Avoid fatty and sugary food, some fruits such as pineapple and raw papaya.

Can I drink caffeinated beverages during the first trimester?

It is best to avoid caffeinated beverages throughout your pregnancy. However, if it is imperative you can have some not more than once in a day.


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