Many women have the perception of pregnancy as the sole time during their lives when they don't have to diet and can eat whatever they want. It's true that pregnant women need a moderate amount of added calories, but if "eating anything" means eating a high percentage of junk food and sugar-laden desserts, then maybe it's time to reassess your overall eating habit
"Pregnancy is an ideal time to make long-term changes to your diet because you are embarking on the lifelong job of nurturing your child," says nutritionist Maria Pari-Keener, MS, RD of Maternal Health Matters in New York. "You will need to be at your healthiest during your pregnancy and beyond, and will need to help your child to be healthy too."
Don't confuse healthy eating habits with dieting. They are not necessarily the same thing, whether you are pregnant or not. Those on the dieting roller coaster are typically more concerned about their weight than about their health. Of course, you'd probably have fewer weight woes if your regular diet included the healthy mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and legumes required during pregnancy and, really, for the rest of your life.
What You Should Eat During Pregnancy
A child raised with a larder full of junk food is a prime candidate for health and weight problems, if not in childhood then later in life. Establishing good eating habits for yourself makes you better prepared to make smart decisions about what your family eats.
Pregnant women need about 2200-2500 calories a day, compared to 1600-2200 for other adult women (the more active the woman, the more calories recommended). That's not a big difference. The United States Department of Agriculture's food guide pyramid is a great reference tool that gives recommended daily servings of each of the major food groups. Pregnant women should generally eat in the high range of the recommended serving amounts (i.e., about 10 servings in the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group per day), especially during the second and third trimesters. Look on the label of most canned or packaged foods for serving size amounts. Otherwise, using your common sense will probably work just fine!