Pregnant women need energy! Because of all of the changes in your body during pregnancy, including greater blood volume and the growth and development of your baby, you need a healthful diet that provides, among other things, adequate energy from the calories you eat.

In general, experts recommend that pregnant women eat an extra 300 calories per day. Make the most of those extra calories by choosing nutrient-dense foods because your body needs adequate nutrients rather than “empty” calories (like those found in soda, candy, chips and cookies).

Try these 8 super nutritious ways to get an extra 300 calories a day and the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Calorie counts for each item are given; mix and match to find your own favorite combinations:

  • 1 medium apple (95 calories) topped with 2 Tbsp natural almond butter (195 calories) = 290 calories
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek-style yogurt (120 calories) topped with 1 medium banana sliced (105 calories) and 1 Tbsp real maple syrup (52 calories) = 277 calories
  • Chocolate-peanut butter smoothie containing 1 cup lowfat chocolate milk (158 calories) blended with 1 ½ tbsp natural peanut butter (157 calories) plus a few ice cubes = 315 calories
  • Almond-berry smoothie containing 1 cup vanilla almond milk (90 calorie) plus 1 cup frozen blueberries (79 calories) plus 1 Tbsp natural almond butter (98 calories) = 267 calories
  • 1 cup bran flakes cereal (128 calories) topped with 2 Tbsp golden raisins (62 calories) and 1 cup lowfat milk (102 calories) = 292 calories
  • One mini whole-wheat pita (74 calories) stuffed with ½ cup hummus (204 calories) and ½ cup shredded carrots (22 calories) = 300 calories
  • One hard boiled large egg (78 calories) plus one small cucumber sliced (19 calories) plus 1 cup cherry tomatoes (27 calories) plus 2 slices low-fat Swiss cheese (96 calories) plus four whole-wheat Melba toasts (76 calories) = 296 calories
  • One corn tortilla warmed in a nonstick skillet but not fried in oil (52 calories) stuffed with ½ cup canned black beans (100 calories) and half an avocado sliced (114 calories) = 266 calories

Jennifer Hellwig, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and a senior managing editor at AWHONN, the nursing organization that publishes Healthy Mom&Baby.

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