Pregnancy Meal Plan: 30+ Meal Prep Ideas & Trimester-Specific Tips

Pregnancy Meal Plan: 30+ Meal Prep Ideas & Trimester-Specific Tips
Peifen Chou RD

Medical reviewed by Peifen Chou, RD

Obstetrics and gynecology, lactation instructor, integrative medicine, aromatherapist, holistic nutritional consulting, functional medicine, and pet nutrition.

The important phase of life, pregnancy, demands complete nutrition. Yes, a balanced diet and having all the nutrients is important for everyone. But this phase of pregnancy requires it more than ever.

Good nutrition helps to support mothers’ and babies’ bodies for healthy development. Therefore, you should incorporate meal planning during pregnancy according to the requirements of every trimester. To help you with this, the article narrows down 30+ meal prep ideas & trimester-specific tips.

Let’s have a look!

Healthy pregnancy meal planning

The diet and nutrition of pregnancy will last forever (1, 2). It helps support a healthy pregnancy and avoids its post-effects (3).

So, meal planning is very crucial in pregnancy (4). The meal planning strategy is designed according to different trimesters and their needs (5). Also, it focuses on additional calories, the mother’s weight, etc.

You can ask your healthcare provider for a plan. Some of the things that you can include in your daily diet for pregnancy are:

  • There should be servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Including dark leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and dark orange vegetables (6).
  • Choose whole-grain bread and cereals (7). You can also have two to three milk or milk-derived product servings (8, 9).
  • Three or more servings of lean meat are advisable, depending on the person’s weight (30). 
  • Eight to twelve glasses of water are recommended (10).

Your aim should be to add complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, and ample fluids. 

MyPlate of USDA

The U.S. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has mentioned daily servings of food for every individual in the form of a food pyramid (11). The pyramid is known as MyPlate, which also highlights the health and nutrition of pregnant and breastfeeding women (12). 

Moreover, the advanced system offers custom meal planning according to age, height, pre-pregnancy weight, activity level, and trimester (13).

Here is an example of a 32-year-old woman in her second trimester who has 30 minutes of exercise. Her weight was 130 pounds before pregnancy, and her height is 5ft 4 inches.

Her daily diet should have the following:

  • Whole Grains: 7 ounces a day
  • Fruits: 2 cups a day
  • Vegetables: 3 cups a day
  • Meat and beans: 6 ounces a day
  • Dairy: 3 cups a day
  • Fats and oils: 6 teaspoons a day

Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate

The Harvard School of Public Health has created its eating plate standards (14). However, it puts more focus on the following:

  • Whole grains 
  • Healthy vegetable oils
  • Limiting milk and dairy products to one or two servings a day. 
  • Decreasing the content of red meat.
  • Increasing intake of water.
  • It recommended avoiding added sugar drinks and foods.
  • Eat more vegetables 

Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate focuses on complex carbs, lean protein, healthy fats, and many minerals and vitamins. Also, it recommended that processed food must be limited.

A sample menu for pregnancy meal plan

A Sample Menu For Pregnancy Meal Plan_one-day_healthtoday

Here is a one-day sample menu for a pregnancy meal plan. It will help you understand how to have healthy pregnancy meals:

Breakfast

Egg wrap

egg wrap

Pregnant women can have healthy egg wraps to start their day (15). First, you can beat one full egg with two teaspoons of olive oil in a wok. Then, add baby spinach or veggies of your choice. Now, spread it on a 10-inch whole wheat tortilla with low-fat Mexican blend cheese and 1/4 cup salsa.

Try the recipe

Nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 453.4Kcal
  • Carbs: 44g
  • Protein: 26.2g
  • Total Fat: 21.2g

Lunch

Fiesta Salad

Fiesta salad

For lunch, you can try an easy-to-make but nutritious punch of salad. Mix 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce with 1 cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained).

Add baked or microwaved small sweet potato dice with skin, 1/3 cup diced tomato, and 1/4 cup corn kernels. To add flavor, sprinkle one tablespoon of lime juice, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of chopped garlic, and salt and pepper. Also, add some low-fat cheese.

Try the recipe

Nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 542.7Kcal
  • Carbs: 66.9g
  • Protein: 27.4g
  • Total Fat: 21.4g

Dinner

Parmesan chicken tenders with marinara dipping sauce

Parmesan Chicken

To fulfill your needs, you require nutrient-dense foods. So try something like this for dinner. To prepare it, preheat the oven to 475 °F. Then beat two egg whites and add bread crumbs and chicken.

Add one tablespoon of parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. You can bake the chicken tender for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked to 165 °F internally. Next, you can enhance the meal with steamed broccoli, lemon juice, or sweet potatoes.

Try the recipe

Nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 649.2Kcal
  • Carbs: 69.6g
  • Protein: 50.9g
  • Total Fat: 22.8g

Snack

Blueberry almond smoothie

Blueberry Almond Smoothie

Snack times are everyone’s favorite, and you can make it healthy. So, blend 3/4 cup of frozen blueberries, two teaspoons of almond butter, one teaspoon of honey, and 3/4 cup of unsweetened soy milk. You can have this thick and quick snack to save time.

Try the recipe

Nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 202.5Kcal
  • Carbs: 25.6g
  • Protein: 6.878g
  • Total Fat: 9.478g

Meal planner for pregnancy: 1-3 trimester

For carrying a healthy pregnancy, your meal plans must have food according to the trimesters. For example, there are different needs as the body goes through various development stages. Keep reading to know more:

First-trimester meal plan

First-trimester meal plan_Pregnancy Meal Plan_healthtoday

In the first trimester, you may not need additional calories. But, with sudden body change, there is a lot of morning sickness, leading to food aversions (16, 17). First, however, you should smartly fulfill your nutrients with meal planning.

You can have a heavy meal for lunch and dinner and eat light in the morning. Also, have small meals. Your body needs folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin B6 during this time (18, 19, 20, 21).

Breakfast

Porridge made with milk flavored with a pinch of cinnamon and a tablespoon of apple puree

Lunch

Smoked chicken and avocado salad

Dinner

Savory chicken casserole with brown rice

Snack

Small fruit or cheese scone

Second-trimester meal plan

Second-trimester meal plan_Pregnancy Meal Plan_healthtoday

The second trimester is the baby moon period, where your nausea symptoms fade. Also, your bump is visible, and you may notice baby movements (22). In addition, you need good calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and more (23). Also, you may need an additional 340-450 calories per day, depending on the trimester period you are in (24).

Breakfast

Wheat cereal with milk and mashed/sliced banana

Lunch

Watercress and celeriac soup with whole grain toast and spread.

Dinner

Spaghetti carbonara with wilted spinach

Snack

Avocado smoothie

Third-trimester meal plan

Third-trimester meal plan_Pregnancy Meal Plan_healthtoday

In the third trimester, you may require 452 more calories per day (5). This is the time to focus more on preparing your body for delivery. Therefore, nutrition in diets is not only for the baby but also important for yourself in this phase (26).

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs (2 large)

Strawberry Milkshake

Lunch

Grilled beef cube(4 oz)

Dinner

Creamy haddock and salmon pie with peas and sweetcorn

Snack

Hummus with pitta

Note: The trimester meal plans may vary from person to person. It also depends on your weight before pregnancy, diseases, etc. Therefore, it’s best to consult a doctor.

Meal prep ideas & healthy meals when pregnant

Here are some pregnancy meal plans for you:

Foods to eat & foods to avoid

The best foods for pregnancy have all the macro and micronutrients—for example, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats (27). So, you should have everything fresh and cooked (28). Also, go for citrus fruits, dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fiber.

Also, there are foods to avoid during pregnancy, like derivatives of unpasteurized milk, raw and undercooked food, high in methylmercury fish, high in caffeine, and ultra-processed food.

Here is a sample meal plan which will help you understand the diet:

Healthy breakfast

Healthy breakfast_Pregnancy Meal Plan_healthtoday

Here are healthy pregnancy meal breakfast ideas:

Day 1: Monday

Scrambled eggs toast

Scramble egg avocado toast

You can relish healthy whole-grain bread with proteinaceous eggs and the healthy fats of avocados. For this, you need the following:

  • Whole grain toast (2 slices)
  • Scrambled eggs (2 large)
  • Sliced avocado (1/4 medium)
  • Cherry tomatoes (1/2 cup, halved)

Try the recipe

Nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 419 Kcal
  • Carbs: 47g 
  • Protein: 16g
  • Fat: 20

Day 2: Tuesday

Oatmeal 

Oatmeal with banana

You can enjoy oatmeal and level it up with some powerful ingredients. This is easy to make and delicious. For this, you need the following:

  • Oatmeal (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Sliced banana (1 medium)
  • Chopped walnuts (1 tablespoon)
  • Low-fat milk (1/2 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 153 Kcal
  • Carbs: 27g 
  • Protein: 5g
  • Fat: 3g

Day 3: Wednesday

Whole wheat blueberry pancakes 

Blueberry pancake

The blueberry whole wheat pancake will refresh and energize you. This is a fun and very simple breakfast idea for expecting mothers. For this, you need the following:

  • Whole wheat pancakes (2 small or 1 large)
  • Blueberries (1/2 cup)
  • A little brown sugar 

Try the recipe

Nutritional Facts:

  • Calories: 153 Kcal
  • Carbs: 27g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Fat: 3g

Day 4: Thursday

Vegetable omelet

Vegetable omolet

It is a refreshing breakfast idea that has the goodness of fresh vegetables. It helps you fulfill all the needs of minerals and vitamins. For this, you need the following:

  • Spinach (1 cup)
  • Diced tomatoes (1/2 medium)
  • Chopped bell peppers (1/4 medium)
  • Eggs (2 large)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 315 Kcal
  • Carbs: 10.2 g
  • Protein: 29.3 g
  • Fat: 17.9 g

Day 5: Friday

Granola Greek yogurt

Granola yogurt

Greek yogurt is a powerful food that is fulfilling and nutritious. You can spruce it up with fresh ingredients. For its preparation, try these ingredients:

  • Greek yogurt (1 cup)
  • Granola (1/4 cup)
  • strawberries (1/2 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional Facts:

  • Calories: 285 Kcal
  • Carbs: 37g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Fat: 8g

Day 6: Saturday

Whole wheat toast (2 slices)

Banana toast

This is for someone who loves peanut butter, which is also healthy. For this, you can use these ingredients:

  • Whole wheat toast (2 slices)
  • Non-sugar peanut butter (2 tablespoons)
  • banana (1 medium)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 266 Kcal
  • Carbs: 38g
  • Protein:8g
  • Fat: 9g

Day 7: Sunday

You can repeat Monday’s menu to fulfill your weekly nutrients.

Healthy Lunch

Healthy Lunch_Pregnancy Meal Plan_healthtoday

Here is the pregnancy meal plan for lunch:

Day 1: Monday

You can have something fulfilling like chicken breasts with some ingredients for lunch. You can try this combo to make it healthy:

Chicken breast

  • Grilled chicken breast (4 oz)
  • Quinoa (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Steamed broccoli (1 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 380 Kcal
  • Carbs: 34g
  • Protein: 33g
  • Fat: 12g

Day 2: Tuesday

Spinach and strawberry salad

Spinach strawberry salad

Bring the goodness of veggies and fruits as a healthy salad. You can try this ingredient to prepare it:

  • Spinach leaves (2 cups)
  • Sliced strawberries (1/2 cup)
  • Goat cheese crumbles (1 ounce, pasteurized and without a white coating on the outside )
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing (2 tablespoons)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 235 Kcal
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat:16g

Day 3: Wednesday

Lentil and vegetable soup

Lentil Soup

Lentils and veggies are important for an expecting mother and growing baby. You can have this runny and delicious soup for lunch. You can add ingredients like:

  • Lentils (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Mixed vegetables (such as carrots, celery, and onions) (1 cup)
  • Vegetable broth (1 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 300 Kcal
  • Carbs: 50g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Fat: 6g

Day 4: Thursday

Chickpea and roasted vegetable salad

pregnancy-meal-plan

Try this salad which is easy and has lots of healthy ingredients:

  • Mixed greens (2 cups)
  • Roasted vegetables (such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant) (1 cup)
  • Chickpeas (1/2 cup)
  • Feta cheese crumbles (1 ounce, pasteurized)
  • Lemon-tahini dressing (2 tablespoons)

Try this recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 494 Kcal
  • Carbs: 82g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Fat: 1.8g

Day 5: Friday

Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers

pregnancy-meal-plan

Try something fresh, tasty, and easy to make, like Quinoa-stuffed bell peppers. You can add these ingredients to prepare it:

  • Bell peppers (2 medium)
  • Quinoa (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Ground turkey (4 oz)
  • Diced tomatoes (1/2 cup)
  • Onion (1/4 medium, diced)
  • Mozzarella cheese (1/4 cup, pasteurized and shredded)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 343 kcal 
  • Carbs: 35g 
  • Protein: 34g
  • Fat: 8g 

Day 6: Saturday

Spinach and feta stuffed chicken breast

It’s a healthy and tasty option to have a variety of nutrients. Try these ingredients:

  • Chicken breast (4 oz)
  • Spinach (1/2 cup)
  • Feta cheese (1 ounce, pasteurized)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 319 kcal 
  • Carbs: 35g 
  • Protein: 34g
  • Fat: 14g

Day 7: Sunday

You can repeat Monday’s menu to fulfill your weekly nutrients.

Healthy dinner

Pregnancy Meal Plan

Day 1: Monday

Baked salmon

pregnancy-meal-plan

Have a good dose of fatty fish with baked salmon. Try it with these ingredients:

  • Baked salmon (4 oz)
  • Brown rice (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Roasted asparagus (1 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 710 kcal 
  • Carbs: 96g 
  • Protein: 37g
  • Fat: 18g

Day 2: Tuesday

Grilled chicken fajitas

pregnancy-meal-plan

Grilled chicken fajitas have all the good fats and healthy proteins. You can enhance it with a combination of the following:

  • Chicken breast (4 oz, sliced)
  • Bell peppers (1/2 medium, sliced)
  • Onion (1/4 medium, sliced)
  • Whole wheat tortillas (2)
  • Guacamole (2 tablespoons)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 402 kcal 
  • Carbs: 46g 
  • Protein: 26g
  • Fat: 13g

Day 3: Wednesday

Baked cod with lemon and herbs

pregnancy-meal-plan

Baked cod is very healthy and important for pregnant women. You can spice it up with this combination:

  • Baked cod with lemon and herbs (4 oz)
  • Quinoa (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Steamed green beans (1 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 301 kcal 
  • Carbs: 5.1g 
  • Protein: 36g
  • Fat: 15g

Day 4: Thursday

Baked chicken thigh

pregnancy-meal-plan

You can cook delicious baked chicken thighs. Enhance it with some brilliant ingredients like:

  • Baked chicken thigh
  • Baked chicken thigh (4 oz)
  • Sweet potato wedges (1 medium sweet potato)
  • Steamed broccoli (1 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories:  403 kcal 
  • Carbs: 8g 
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 30g

Day 5: Friday

Stir-fried tofu with vegetables

pregnancy-meal-plan

Tofu has lots of protein which is healthy. You can mix these ingredients:

  • Firm tofu (4 oz, cubed)
  • Mixed vegetables (such as bell peppers, broccoli, and snap peas) (1 cup)
  • Soy sauce (1 tablespoon)
  • Sesame oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Brown rice (1/2 cup, cooked)

Try the recipe

  • Calories: 294 kcal
  • Carbs: 21.5 g
  • Protein: 18.5 g
  • Fat: 16 g

Day 6: Saturday

Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables

pregnancy-meal-plan

Quinoa has magnesium, potassium, iron, fiber, and folate (28). You can try this healthy and tasty mix with:

  • Quinoa (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Roasted vegetables of your choice (such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant) (1 cup)

Try the recipe

  • Calories: 404 kcal
  • Carbs: 35.3 g
  • Protein: 17.3 g
  • Fat: 21.4 g

Day 7: Sunday

Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce

pregnancy-meal-plan

You can make your Sunday dinner healthy and delicious with turkey meatballs in tomato sauce. Try this recipe with ingredients like:

  • Lean ground turkey (4 oz)
  • Whole wheat spaghetti (1/2 cup, cooked)
  • Marinara Sauce

Try the recipe

  • Calories: 489 kcal
  • Carbs: 87 g
  • Protein: 36 g
  • Fat: 2.5 g

Healthy snack ideas

Try these healthy snack ideas to satisfy pregnancy cravings:

Day 1: Monday

Greek yogurt

pregnancy-meal-plan

Try this easy snack which is healthy and nutritious. You can mix:

  • Greek yogurt (1 cup)
  • Mixed berries (1/2 cup)

Try the recipe

  • Calories: 240 kcal
  • Carbs: 44g, 
  • Protein: 16g
  • Fat: 1g

Day 2: Tuesday

Apple slices with almond butter

pregnancy-meal-plan

This is a quick, sweet, and healthy snack that can fulfill your cravings. You can try the ingredients like:

  • Apple slices with peel (1 medium apple)
  • Almond butter (2 tablespoons)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 193 kcal
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 9g

Day 3: Wednesday

Orange slices

pregnancy-meal-plan

You can have one medium size orange. It helps you get a dose of vitamin C.

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 60 kcal
  • Carbs: 15.4g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 0

Day 4: Thursday

Pear Slices

Pregnancy-meal-plan

You can have pear slices which have lots of vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 100 kcal
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 0

Day 5: Friday

Pineapple smoothie

pregnancy-meal-plan

You can make an instant pineapple smoothie with the following:

  • pineapple (1/4 medium)
  • Almond milk (1 cup)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 292 kcal
  • Carbs: 70g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 3g

Day 6: Saturday

Mixed nuts

pregnancy-meal-plan

You mix all your favorite unsalted nuts to make a nutritious snack.

Day 7: Sunday

Carrot sticks

pregnancy-meal-plan

You can make hummus and have carrot sticks with:

  • Carrot sticks (1 medium carrot, sliced)
  • Hummus (2 tablespoons)

Try the recipe

Nutritional facts:

  • Calories: 171 kcal
  • Carbs: 9g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Fat: 11g

Meal prep tips for healthy pregnancy

Simple meal prep ideas

Here are some simple meals:

Kale salad

pregnancy-meal-plan

This is a great and easy salad. So it’s full of folate, which prevents neural tube defects in growing fetuses (29).

Try the recipe

Vegan coconut chickpea curry

pregnancy-meal-plan

You can prepare this for lunch and dinner; it takes twenty minutes to prepare. Serve with brown rice to have a great meal.

Try the recipe

Ratatouille with eggs

pregnancy-meal-plan

Make ratatouille with eggs, eggplant, tomatoes, and other ingredients. It is very fresh and nutritious and will satisfy your cravings.

Try the recipe

Tips for busy moms

Here are some tips for busy moms to follow meal planning:

  • You can chop the ingredients and store them in the refrigerator
  • Also, you can make batches and store them.
  • Prioritize meal planning and plan it daily.

Storage tips for meal prep

Here are some storage tips:

  • You should refrigerate the food which is healthy to eat even for days.
  • Don’t go for smoked non-veg items that are stored for too long.
  • Reheat the food properly.

Summary

This was a complete guide to meal planning in pregnancy. Add everything to your healthy diet with lots of colors, fiber, vitamins, minerals, carbs, protein, and good fats. So, plan your weekly meals today.

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Peifen Chou RD

Medical reviewed by Peifen Chou, RD

Obstetrics and gynecology, lactation instructor, integrative medicine, aromatherapist, holistic nutritional consulting, functional medicine, and pet nutrition.

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