Food aversions, morning sickness and reflux can all make eating difficult when you're pregnant. Eating a bland diet may improve tolerance and help you meet your nutritional needs. Consult your doctor if your symptoms are severe or you're having a difficult time keeping any food down.
You may be concerned about getting enough to eat when you're having a hard time eating your usual diet. While you do need to eat more now than before pregnancy, you only need an extra 200 calories to 300 calories a day, says the Cleveland Clinic. To make the most out of every bite, get the majority of your calories from nutritious foods such as lean proteins, low-fat dairy, healthy grains, fruits and vegetables, and limit your intake of empty calories from foods such as soda, sweets and fast food.
Foods to Include
The bland diet is a soft diet that limits spicy foods and foods high in fiber. The diet includes options from all the food groups, so you should be able to meet your nutritional needs.
During pregnancy it is especially important that you get enough protein, iron, folate, calcium and vitamin D in your diet for your health and the development of your baby.
Low-fat dairy foods are considered bland and can help you meet your daily protein, calcium and vitamin D needs. For iron, eat eggs, tofu, cream of wheat and tender-cooked meats without spicy sauces. Enriched bread and pasta made from white flour also provide iron and folate.
Canned or soft-cooked vegetables and fruits make good choices on a bland diet and can help you meet your folate needs.
Other foods allowed on the bland diet include creamy peanut butter, pudding, cold cereal, crackers and broth-based soup.
To make eating more comfortable, eat several small meals throughout the day. It also helps if you drink your liquids between meals instead of with them to prevent feeling too full.
If you're waking up nauseous, keep a few crackers or dry cereal at your bedside to nibble on before you get out of bed. Avoid foods and smells that make you feel sick, especially when you're trying to eat.
Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal made with milk and sweetened with applesauce. For your midmorning meal, try toast with creamy peanut butter. At lunch, you might tolerate a turkey sandwich with canned pears. A midafternoon meal may consist of vegetable soup and yogurt. For dinner, try baked chicken with steamed rice and cooked carrots. Make sure your last meal is two hours before bed if you're having issues with reflux.