How Many Times a Day Should I Eat?

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Hunger is common in pregnancy, and if you find yourself constantly daydreaming about your next meal or snack, you might be keen to make changes to your eating habits.

But how many times a day should you eat during pregnancy?

Increased Calorie Intake

Eating for two is sadly an old saying that is no longer recommended. If you increase your intake by too much during pregnancy, you risk putting on unnecessary weight that will take time to shift after pregnancy.

You only need to increase the number of calories you eat during your third trimester (week 27 onwards), and even then only by 200 each day. 200 calories is the equivalent of two pieces of toast with margarine, so even the calorie increase at the end of pregnancy should be viewed as modest.

Managing Hunger with Smaller Meals

If hunger is plaguing you every day, you could try changing how many meals you eat.

The traditional number of meals a day is three: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

However, if you feel like you can't make it from one to the next, you could switch to eating five or six smaller meals each day.

This should help to reduce hunger pangs between meals. However, it is important that each meal is around half the size of your usual meal. Eating six average sized meals will quickly lead to weight gain.

Healthy Snacks

If preparing small, regular meals doesn't appeal or doesn't fit with your job or lifestyle, having a range of healthy snacks in stock might be better.

Between meals, allow yourself a healthy snack such as a low fat yogurt, a portion of dried or fresh fruit, a small bowl of unsweetened cereal or a slice of toasted fruit bread. This may take the edge off your hunger until your next mealtime. 

Having healthy snacks within reach will also reduce your temptation to resort to a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps. 

Final Thoughts

In pregnancy, the amount you eat across a 24 hour period is more important than how many meals you have each day. 

You can monitor what you eat to be sure that you are not consuming too much each day. This might also help you identify your hunger patterns so that you can be prepared with a small meal or healthy snack.

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