Guide to First Trimester Diet: Food to Eat and Avoid


Being pregnant can give rise to a whole range of emotions – from joy to anxiety to excitement. It can also be physically taxing which makes it important that you pay sufficient attention to your health and well-being all through the pregnancy. A nutritious diet and regular exercise will help your baby get a good start too.

Planning Your First Trimester Diet

The right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is what you should look at all through your pregnancy and especially in the first trimester. Include foods that are rich in folates which is essential for the proper development of your baby’s nervous system. Here is a sample diet chart for the first trimester of pregnancy.

Food Category Daily Serving Type
Fruits 3-4 Fresh, frozen, canned, juices, include at least one citrus fruit
Vegetables 3-5 Cooked or raw
Dairy 3 Milk, yoghurt, cheese, fortified soy milk
Protein 2-3 Beans, meats, lentils, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds,
Whole Grains 3 Whole grain breads and flour, cereals, crackers

Nutritional Need in Early Pregnancy

Just because you are eating for two doesn’t mean that you have to instantly double your food intake. This is because you do not need extra calories till you are in the third trimester. But the body needs a greater amount of protein, folic acid, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A during this time. You can get these through prenatal vitamins and essential supplements.

1. Prenatal Vitamins

If you follow a healthy diet, then all you need would be a prenatal vitamin that can provide 400mcg of folic acid and 10 mcg of Vitamin D per day. There are many such multi-vitamins available in the market and your doctor will be able to prescribe you one.

2. Essential Supplements

When taking supplements during pregnancy, it is important to stay within the daily allowance. You can check the labels of the bottle of supplements to make your calculations. See if calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin also known as B2, thiamine also known as B1, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D are present in the supplements you use.


Food to Eat in First Trimester of Pregnancy

Pregnant women need about 300 calories extra in addition to their normal food intake. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread, pasta, vegetables, beans, and legumes need to be consumed on a regular basis. A good amount of fluids and fiber must also figure in your daily diet when pregnant. The following are some other foods that should become part of your diet during this important phase of life.

1. Vegetables

It is important to have around three to five servings of vegetables of various colours. Spinach is a rich source of folic acid so you should try to include it in your daily diet. Broccoli has high iron content which helps in formation of red blood cells in the baby during the first trimester. Green peas, tomatoes, red, green, and yellow bell peppers, asparagus, and sweet potatoes are all recommended for the first trimester.

2. Fruits

The recommended amount of fruits for pregnant first trimester is at least three servings per day. Citrus fruits are a good source of folic acid, so try to eat grapefruits, oranges, and sweet limes on a regular basis. Avocados, bananas, pears, cantaloupes, cherries, grapes, guavas, apples, watermelons, pomegranates, and mangoes are some other fruits to include in your diet.

3. Non-Vegetarian Food

When deciding on the type of non-vegetarian food for first trimester diet, you can include warm chicken soup, eggs, and lean meats. Be sure to eat well-cooked poultry and meats to prevent any digestive issues and bacterial infections. Fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids but avoid deep sea fishes like King Mackerel, shrimp, shark, and sword fish which tend to have high mercury content.

4. Dairy Products

When aiming for the required three portions of dairy per day, you can choose cottage cheese as it is a good source of not just protein but also calcium which is essential for bone and muscle development. Yoghurt, curd, low fat milk, and different varieties of cheese can be consumed during the first trimester.

5. Whole Grains

Whole wheat, oats, barley, corn, millet, and rice are some whole grains to include in your first trimester diet. Lentils in the form of soup or cutlets can be made part of your diet during pregnancy. Grains provide energy to your baby and are essential for the growth of the placenta.

6. Protein

See that you get at least two servings of proteins per day. Eggs are a rich source of protein alongside dairy products like cottage cheese. So are fish, meats, nuts, poultry, milk, and peanut butter.

7. Other Foods

Feeling nauseous or having morning sickness is likely to last through the first trimester. So, you might also want to keep some stomach-friendly food items handy such as ginger ale, crackers, pretzels, and flavored popsicles.


Food to Avoid in 1st Trimester

Food cravings are quite normal during pregnancy but it is important to ensure that you do not lose sight of your nutrition goals while fulfilling these cravings. There are also some foods that are a strict no-no during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. They include:

  • Fish with mercury content such as swordfish, king mackerel, and shark
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish and eggs
  • Raw meats and poultry
  • Milk that is not pasteurized
  • Soft cheeses such as brie, feta, or blue cheese that is unpasteurized
  • Raw sprouts
  • Fruits and vegetables that are not washed properly
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Black grapes
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage and lettuce
  • Excess caffeine
  • Too much of sugary stuff such as desserts and sweetened beverages

Healthy diet tips to follow in early pregnancy

Maintaining a healthy diet during early pregnancy involves getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You can ensure this by:

  • Choosing healthy food options such as salads, soups, fruits, and steamed veggies whenever you feel like hungry in between meals or at snack time instead of quick solutions like packaged products.
  • Drinking lots of water and other fluids to stay hydrated
  • Not forgetting to take your prenatal vitamins and folic acid supplements daily.
  • Avoiding alcohol and cutting down on caffeine
  • Staying active and exercising moderately depending on your health conditions
  • Not missing any doctor appointments or scheduled checkups.


The first trimester is crucial for many reasons. This is the period when there is highest amount of risk of miscarriage and birth defects originating. This is also the time when your baby’s vital organs start developing and need the right type of nutrition. So, focusing on what you eat and by staying active during the pregnancy and especially the first three months, you can ensure your baby has a healthy life right into adulthood.

Disclaimer: This information is just a guide and not a substitute for medical advice from a qualified professional.

Also Read:

Healthy Indian Diet during Pregnancy
Fruits That You Should Not Eat during Pregnancy
Best Fruits to Eat during Pregnancy