Healthy eating is always a good thing, but it’s never more important than when you’re expecting! Having a pregnancy diet plan can make a huge difference in how you feel as well as your baby’s development. Now that you’re eating for two, you need to make every calorie count.

Even if you’ve never given much thought to what you’re eating before, now is the time to start formulating a food plan, one that you can stick to for nine months. Here are a few tips for creating your own personal pregnancy diet plan. You have lots of choices—just choose wisely!

No empty calories

If you’re a junk food junkie, kick that habit now! Fast food, sugary snacks and soft drinks are all full of calories but woefully lacking in nutrients. Purge these from your diet and replace them with healthy foods and snacks.

Build your plan around lean protein

Protein is the “building block” of human cells, which makes getting enough very important for your baby’s development. Aim for three servings, or about 75 grams, of protein each day. Concentrate on lean protein sources like poultry, seafood, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods, plus non-animal sources such as whole grain breads and cereals.

Get variety with your veggies

Fruits and vegetables provide many vitamins and minerals essential to your baby’s cell growth, so aim for several servings per day. Try for a mix of green and yellow veggies, and serve some of them raw for extra fibre. Fruits are also fabulous for satisfying your sweet tooth.

Grains are great

Whole grains provide vitamins and minerals as well as fibre, so feel free to enjoy several servings per day of corn, rice, oats, rye, barley, quinoa, and legumes. These complex carbs also have the added advantages of fighting both nausea and constipation. Avoid simple grains like white bread, white rice and baked goods.

Cut down on fats and salt

While you don’t have to ban all fats from your pregnancy diet plan, you should keep a close eye on how much you’re consuming. Watch out for the “hidden fats” like mayo in salads, butter on toast and oil in cooked veggies. You should also cut back on salt intake to discourage those pesky swollen ankles.

Get enough vitamins and minerals

You should be taking a pre-natal vitamin supplement every day as well as eating foods high in nutrients. Be sure to consume lots of iron-rich foods like spinach, soy products and dried fruits. Plus, get the vitamin C you need from citrus fruits as well as kiwi, mango, strawberries, melon, capsicum, tomatoes and asparagus.

With a little planning, you can put together a pregnancy diet plan that’s super healthy for both you and baby!