Q: I am pregnant. What foods do I absolutely need for my baby to be healthy?
– Kim in Texas
A: At a minimum, you need the following foods to ensure optimal nutrition for you and your baby: 1) no less than five, and preferably nine, servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (at least one serving of a dark orange vegetable, two servings of dark green leafy vegetables, and one serving of citrus fruit). Focus on colorful produce and skip the losers, such as French fries and iceberg lettuce. Include two servings at every meal and snack. A serving size is 1 cup raw, 1 /2 cup cooked, 6 ounces juice, or 1 piece. 2) six servings or more of minimally-processed grains; focus on whole grains. A serving size is one slice of bread, 1 /2 English muffin or bagel, 1 /2 cup cooked cereal or pasta, or 1 tortilla. 3) eight glasses of water. 4) three servings of nonfat or low-fat milk, milk products, or calcium-fortified soymilk. A serving size is 1 cup of milk or 1 ounce of cheese (the size of a pair of dice). 5) two to three servings of extra-lean meats, chicken without the skin, fish, or cooked dried beans and peas. A serving size is 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand) of meat or 3/4 cup of cooked legumes. 6) limited amounts of nuts, seeds, avocados, oils, sweets, fats, and convenience foods made from these ingredients. 7) a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. If you don’t consume three servings of milk or calcium-rich soy milk daily, then take a calcium-magnesium supplement that supplies 500 milligrams of calcium and 250 milligrams of magnesium. Request a serum ferritin test to monitor your iron status. Your physician might recommend prescription iron supplements if your value is less than 20mcg/L. -Elizabeth Somer