What’s the Right Portion Size When Pregnant?

by Michelle Moss

What’s the Right Portion Size When Pregnant?

Everybody talks about what to eat. But nobody talks about how much you should eat!


Plus, everybody talks about dieting. Have you ever wondered if it’s okay to diet during pregnancy?


Well, believe it or not, I have a lot of women asking me whether they can stay on their diets (e.g., high protein diets, meal replacement shakes, etc.) now that they’re pregnant.


My opinion (and I know this is going to upset a lot of you!) is NO. I really DO NOT support any type of dieting during pregnancy. Why? Because diets encourage us to focus our energy outside of our bodies. They encourage us to eat according to someone else’s guidelines, not how hungry we feel—a big no-no during pregnancy!


Actually, pregnant or not, diets tend to teach “fear of food” and encourage restriction and deprivation—rather than acceptance and understanding of your cravings and your body.


Does that mean that you have to gain a ton of weight this pregnancy?


Absolutely not! By making peace with food (minus the morning sickness!) you will be well on your way to maintaining a healthy body weight during your pregnancy.


Here are three important food tips to get you started:
1. Remember, you need an additional 300 calories a day (and that’s not 300 calories of junk food). Make sure you listen to your body (not your mind) and eat according to your true or should I say physical hunger—the one that’s calling you from your belly.


2. Choose to put healthy food into your body. There are lots of pregnant women out there who get stuck in the junk food trap and then struggle with their weight afterwards. Don’t get caught! Load your plate up with lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains like brown rice, and good quality protein like chicken.


3. Another great secret to avoid gaining those extra unnecessary pounds is portion size. Learn to recognize appropriate portion sizes and you will see what a BIG difference it will make.


To help you out, here are some easy portion guidelines:


  • A serving of carbohydrates, such as brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta, is about the size of a tennis ball.
  • A serving of meat, poultry, or fish is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • A serving of fruit (and starchy vegetables like carrots) is about the size of a fist.
  • A serving of non-starchy vegetables like lettuce or cucumber is unlimited (yippee!).