Eating for Two: The Truth About Pregnancy and Calories

Part Two in our Mommy Nutrition Series:

 (part one)

Let’s start with a little Pop Quiz
 The saying goes when you are pregnant that you are “eating for two.” We use this to justify our 5th cookie or polishing off the bag of chips but what is the reality? How many EXTRA calories does a woman need in her first trimester?
  1. None
  2. 200-300 per day
  3. 400- 500 per day

 Truth. In the first trimester the baby is only 2 oz and does not require any additional calories. Pregnancy is NOT the time to start a low calorie or low carb diet, but you should practice self-monitoring to make sure that you are eating about the same as you were before you became pregnant.


 So how do we do this practically? I had horrific food aversions during my first trimester. I could not stand salads or quinoa (GASP!) I wondered if I would ever go back to normal. I secretly snuck my un-green lunches to the break room and hoped no one who question what I was eating.

My two tips for food aversions:

  1. Keep trying!

I tried veggies constantly. I am proud to say that I ate the first salad of my pregnancy somewhere in the middle of my second trimester. I still didn’t crave salads but I could happily eat them. Your hormones continue to change throughout your pregnancy and definitely play a role in your food cravings. You never know when your tastes may change. 


  1. Work within in the food groups.

The foods I couldn’t eat I would try to make up for with other nutrient-rich foods that I could stomach.  If I couldn’t eat a salad I tried cooked vegetables, if I couldn’t handle fresh strawberries I would make a smoothie. Pregnancy may not be a time that we need to drastically increase our calories but it is a time to make every food we put in our mouth count. Making healthy choices influences not only our health but also the health of our baby. 


After the first trimester you need about 300 extra calories per day. I DO NOT encourage pregnant women to count their calories.  The most important thing is making sure that most of the foods that you eat are nutrient rich. What I mean by this is that if you are like me and can’t eat a plain spinach salad during your pregnancy try a smoothie instead. Yes, this may have more calories but it is better than getting your calories from a snickers bar.
I love this picture. It is a breakdown of what pregnancy weight gain looks like. Pregnancy is one of the few times in life that you can rapidly gain weight and it can actually be healthy. We will revisit this picture when we talk about postpartum nutrition in one of our upcoming posts. In the meantime don’t forget about our contest! 

How do I win a cookbook?

  1. Like Fusion Wellness/theKCDietitian if you haven’t already on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
  2. Share us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You can share (retweet) one of our posts or write your own but be sure to tag you favorite mommy or mommy-to-be friend and use #KCdietitianTeachesNutrition . 
  3. We will make our selection on April Fool’s Day! So get busy sharing! Each share with a different mommy’s tag gets you another entry. 
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