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How to Avoid Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy

written by: KJ Fitness,Ink • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 1/19/2010

It's tricky to not overeat when you're eating for two. This article contains food combinations to add to your diet while you're pregnant that won't put you over the edge.

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    Eating for Two

    You have probably heard of the expression, “eating for two”. It’s a line that many women look forward to using when they’re pregnant. After all, it can be a fabulous excuse to indulge without the usual guilt that accompanies eating more than you should. In a sense, when a woman is pregnant, she gets a temporary pass from the pressure to be thin. There aren’t many people that would condemn a pregnant woman for gaining weight, even if she does go overboard.

    The problem with adopting the “eating for two” state of mind is that it is terribly deceptive. Don’t be tempted into thinking that being pregnant justifies piling a plate twice as high as usual. After all, in the beginning of a pregnancy, one of the two people you’re eating for is no bigger than the size of a strawberry. How many calories could a strawberry-sized baby need anyway? Not enough to justify doubling up on all your portion sizes.

    In fact, a woman of a normal weight only needs about 300 extra calories per day while she’s pregnant. This number is an estimate by your doctor and dietitian can tell you how many more calories are best for you.

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    When You Don't Know How to Count Calories

    The challenge becomes translating this number into actual meals and snacks instead of a few numerals. Keep these 300 calorie food combinations in mind to give you a sense of how much more food to eat when you’re pregnant. After all, you don’t want to look at the scale at the end of your pregnancy and realize you’ve gained 60 pounds when only 6 pounds is the baby.

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    300 Calorie Combos

    1. 1 cup of plain cooked pasta + 1 cup of skim milk
    2. 2 egg whites + 1 cup of low fat yogurt + 1 waffle (4 inches)
    3. 3 cups low fat, microwaved popcorn + 1 medium apple + 1 hamburger bun + 3 oz ground beef
    4. 2 slices of bacon + 1 biscuit (3 inches) + 1/2 cup orange juice
    5. 1 small potato + 1 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp sour cream + 3 ounces of dark meat chicken with skin
    6. 1 plain English muffin + 1/2 cup of dried fruit
    7. 1 cup of cooked rice + 3 oz of meatloaf
    8. 1 cup of vanilla ice cream + 1/2 cup of strawberries
    9. 1 glazed doughnut + 1 tbsp of jelly
    10. 10 peanuts + 1 cup of low fat soy milk + 1 small banana + 1 plain slice of toast

    Now you have an idea of how much (or how little) food makes up about 300 calories. This should help you to keep your portions in check during your pregnancy so you don't gain any more weight than you need to.