pregnancy and nutrition

take good care of yourself

Congratulations, you’re pregnant. It is now even more important to watch your nutrition. With pregnancy comes weight gain; usually between the 10-17 kilos. It is not advised to diet during your pregnancy. You and your baby need to receive all the necessary nutrients to ensure the best possible development of your child. You’re not alone in your body any more! You now have to make choices for two but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat and drink for two. Your pregnancy will require more energy from you but because you exercise less, you don’t burn as much. Below you will find a basic program with some additional advice. For recipes, variations, spreads and snacks consult our preference and inspiration lists.

Good to know: at bbb health boutique we have chosen to advise and inspire to eat plant-based, unprocessed, seasonal and local. Healthy for people and the planet. Healthy for people and earth. We made this choice because of global warming, overfishing and the many diseases that animals carry. This nutritional advice is therefore 100% plant-based. Know that scientists differ on pregnancy and animal products. Make your own choice and see what feels right for you.


Breakfast 8 am

Make a choice from one of the following options:

  • Plantbased milk of yoghurt with muesli.
  • Oatmeal porridge with water or plantbased milk (oats-, rice- or almond milk without sugar) with added seeds (such as hemp seeds or broken linseed).
  • 2 Slices of bread (preferably wholegrain spelt/sour dough) with spread.

Snack 10 am

  • 1 or 2 pieces of fruit.

Lunch 12:30 pm

  • 3-4 Slices of bread with spread and raw vegetables
  • Soup and/or a salad.

Snack 3 pm and 5 pm

  • Raw vegetables or figs/dates or a handful of nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts).

Dinner 6 pm

  • 1 Cup of homemade soup or a portion of raw vegetables.
  • Legumes or a meat substitute with plenty of vegetables.
  • 2-3 Cooked (sweet) potatoes or 2 large serving-spoons of brown rice/ quinoa or bulghur.

Snack 8 pm (only if hungry)

  • 1 Piece of fruit. Can be served with plantbased yoghurt.

Important and handy things to know

  • Eating vegan is fine when you are pregnant but do make sure that you receive enough vitamin B and iron.
  • When you eat plant-based, it is recommended to consume between 20 and 30% more protein. This has to do with the fact that vegetable protein contains fewer essential amino acids than the animal forms. A pregnant woman weighing 70 kilograms should therefore consume about 79 grams of protein per day. Protein-rich vegetable food products are: chickpeas, beans (black, brown, kidney, white and mung), lentils, quinoa, bulgur, amaranth, spelt, buckwheat, oatmeal, nuts, nut pastes, peanuts, soy drink, tTofu, tempeh, seitan, edamame, chia seed, hemp seed and Spirulina. Eat enough legumes other protein rich foods such as tofu, tempe, nuts or wholegrain grain sorts.
  • If you choose not to eat fish, know that vegetable sources of omega-3 are: algae, seaweed, green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, walnut oil, olive oil and sesame oil. Or choose a algae oil supplement.
  • Morning sickness mostly occurs at the beginning of a pregnancy. Before standing up in the morning, try eating something light such as a rice cake or a few walnuts to help this.
  • You need extra calcium to ensure the proper development of the bone-, nerve-, blood and muscle systems of the embryo. Calcium is in green vegetables, legumes, tropical fruits, fish, sesame paste, soya products, grains, nuts, seeds and kernels. Examples of calcium rich products: broccoli, kale, turnip-tops, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, linseed, sprouts.
  • Zinc is vital for the growth and development of your baby. In beans (peas, beans, lima beans, chickpeas), nuts and seeds, carrots, full grains such as buckwheat and millet, wheat sprouts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin you can find zinc.

More important things to know

  • During the 2nd and 3rd trimester you need more iron. You can receive this from your food. Nuts, legumes and leafed vegetables (spinach) contain a lot of iron.
  • If you are expecting, the body requires 600ug of folic acid. Leafed vegetables are the best source of folic acid as well as, legumes, oranges, full grains and nuts. Vegetarian women often have a higher level of folic acid. Still, it is difficult to meet the required levels with varied eating. That’s why it is advisable to take folic acid in a supplement form as well (start, preferably, as soon as you know you would like to become pregnant). Folic acid decreases the chance of a baby being born with spina bifida.
  • Fatty acids are important for brain development and vision in unborn babies. You can find them in seaweed, nuts, oil and legumes.
  • It is recommended to use multivitamins for pregnant women. Or else make a combination of calcium, folic acid & B12, vitamin D, B50 and zinc.
  • Are you having problems with cramping in your calves during pregnancy? Taking magnesium can help. Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, legumes and green leafy vegetables.

Don’t forget

  • Some women develop gestational diabetes; a temporary form of diabetes. Because of hormones, the body doesn’t react well to insulin and the blood sugar level remains too high. It occurs in about 2% of all pregnancies and can be diagnosed through testing. The symptoms are usually quite vague, such as being very thirsty and wanting to urinate very often. The embryo is quite larger than normal, which can result in problems during the birth. As a result of gestational diabetes, the baby has an increased risk of developing diabetes at a later age. Healthy eating and exercise are usually enough to ensure that gestational diabetes doesn’t further develop. Taking smaller meals, spread over the day is important. Avoid, at least, the refined sugars!
  • Do you need more advice? Make an appointment for a free intake with one of our dieticians/nutrition consultants.

What should you watch with your nutrition?

It is important to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit and what you desire. However, sometimes what you eat and drink can be dangerous for the embryo. Take care, therefore, of the following:

Cheese, fish & meat

If you have made the choice to take animal products during your pregnancy, please note the following:

  • Do not eat any soft cheeses made from raw milk. These soft cheeses can contain the listeria bacteria. If the words ‘au lait cru’ or raw milk are on the packaging, then do not eat it.
  • Don’t choose for packaged ready-to-eat meals out of the fridge (such as smoked salmon, eel, mussels). With vacuum packed fish the listeria bacteria can develop within the packaging.
  • Try to avoid eating raw fish or shell fish (such as oysters), eel and predatory fish (such as swordfish, tuna, shark and streaked seer fish). These can be contaminated with metals such as zinc.
  • Do not eat raw meat (such as roast beef, tartar, carpaccio, filet American). The parasite toxoplasma may be present.
  • Avoid liver (liver sausage,-cheese, -pastei, -pate and Berliner). They contain a lot of vitamin A. To much vitamin A can result in birth defects.
  • Don’t eat soft-boiled eggs, they can contain salmonella (a sickly bacteria).
  • Be careful with dishes that contain raw egg, such as homemade bavarois, mousse or homemade mayonnaise. In the supermarket you mainly find varieties with pasteurized ingredients.

Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and herbs

  • You can eat all sorts of vegetables and fruit. Wash fruit and vegetables carefully. Organic is preferred.
  • Don’t eat too much cinnamon. It is not exactly clear what the effect is of too much cinnamon on a pregnancy but it is better to limit your use of it. Cinnamon is mostly found in cookies (in Dutch: ‘speculaas’, ‘ontbijtkoek’).
  • It is better to avoid chia seeds as they can cause nausea. It is also not exactly clear what the effect is of chia seeds on a pregnancy.


  • Preferably drink no coffee because of the caffeine. Drink coke, energy drinks and tea (except for herbal tea) in moderation. This because of the caffeine and theïne.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Recent research has shown that even one glass can be damaging.

And further…

  • Do not eat more than a few ‘dropjes’ (liquorice) per day and drink a maximum of a few cups of liquorice tea a day. Liquorice increases your blood pressure.
  • Avoid soft serve ice cream. It can contain bacteria.
  • Don’t smoke! It can lower your fertility and damage your unborn child seriously.
  • Do you have a cat? Make sure that the kitty litter is cleaned every day and by someone else. The parasite toxoplasma may be present.

What to do with food cravings?

During your pregnancy it is possible that you are overcome with cravings for food. This is a normal way of the body trying to protect the embryo by building up extra food reserves. It doesn’t, however, mean that your body really needs it. Too much sugar and fats is not good for you or your baby. Research has proven that the occurrence of frequent food binges can result in an increased chance of your child suffering from (food) addictions later in life. It can also affect the variety in your nutritional pattern, which has an affect on you receiving the essential nutrients necessary for the development of your child. It also results in unnecessary extra kilos.

Hopefully the following tips can help you to keep your food cravings under control:

  • Eat small portions regularly. This keeps your blood sugar level up and you won’t need to snack so much.
  • If experiencing cravings, choose a healthy alternative; plantbased yoghurt, fruit, soup, fibre rich crackers with healthy spreads and raw vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly. This is good for your mood and helps with emotional swings, which can also encourage food cravings.
  • Make a conscious use of distraction and company. Do chores, call a friend, drink a glass of water, clean your teeth or sit on the couch and take 3 deep breaths before you give into a craving.
  • Ask one of the bbb coaches for extra support or a coaching session.

Keep exercising!

During your pregnancy it is especially good to keep exercising. This ensures a better blood circulation and increases your oxygen intake. Officially it is advised to exercise 3 times a week. The intensity will decrease as your pregnancy progresses. Exercising at bbb is possible up until 9 months of your pregnancy. The bbb coaches will make sure that your programme is suitable for the stage you are at with your pregnancy. This way your body will be extra well prepared for the birth. It will also help you to get back into shape quicker, after the birth.