By Consumer Dummies

During the third trimester (weeks 28 through 40), you need to take in an extra 450 to 500 calories. During the third trimester, your baby gains about 4 more pounds. Because you’re now carrying around even more weight than you were in the second trimester, you need to consume more calories so you have the energy to cart that extra weight around.

Aim to eat about 450 to 500 more calories than you did pre-pregnancy (to gain about 1 pound a week if you’re at a normal weight or half a pound per week if you’re overweight or obese).

Follow your hunger. Some days you’ll be ravenous, and other days your appetite will subside. As long as you’re gaining the proper weight, don’t stress about eating exactly 450 to 500 extra calories per day.

Here are some ideas for how to get those extra 450 to 500 calories each day (the number of calories is in parentheses). Keep in mind that you can spread out the extra calories throughout the day. Mix and match foods from this list to create your own meals and snacks.

  • 1/4 cup hummus (100) + 1 cup fresh raw veggies (50) + 1 whole-grain pita pocket (120) + 1 ounce pasteurized feta cheese (75) + 1 cup chocolate soymilk (140)
  • 2 Medjool dates (130) + 1 ounce (or 19 halves) pecans (195) + 1 ounce cheddar cheese (115) + 1 plum (30)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg (75) + one 4-inch cinnamon raisin bagel (230) + 1 tablespoon peanut butter (95) + 4 ounces 100% pomegranate juice (80)
  • 3 ounces salmon (175) + 1/2 cup quinoa (115) + 1 cup asparagus (40) + 1 tablespoon olive oil (120)
  • 3 ounces lean strip steak (165) + 2 cups raw spinach (15) + 20 pine nuts (25) + 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing (100) + 1 KIND or other fruit and nut nutrition bar (190)
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans (130) + 1 mango (135) + 1 cup chocolate pudding (210)
  • 6 ounces nonfat fruited Greek yogurt (130) + ½ cup granola (200) + 1 tablespoon honey (65) + 1 cup raspberries (65)
  • cup dry rolled oats (150) + 1 cup skim milk (90) + 1 ounce (or 14 halves) walnuts (185) + 1 large peach (70)
  • 1/2 cup homemade tuna or chicken salad (200) + 1 cup grapes (65) + 15 almonds (105) + 1 SOYJOY or other soy protein nutrition bar (130)
  • 2 mini Babybel or other round cheeses (140) + 1/2 cup barley (100) + 6 dried apricot halves (50) + 2 small chocolate chip cookies (160)

You can also get your extra 450 to 500 calories by eating larger portions at your meals, but adding some nutritious snacks in between meals is probably a better idea. Why? Because as the third trimester goes on, the sheer size of your belly may suppress your appetite or cause gastric reflux by pressing on your stomach. Limiting portions at meals and relying on snacks for added nutrients and energy can help you feel better overall.