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A Mother-to-Be Does Atkins

On October 23, supervisor of education and research for Atkins Health & Medical Information Services Valerie Berkowitz gave birth to twins. Gabrielle and Aiden weighed in at 5 and 6 pounds, respectively. Congratulations to Valerie and her husband, Keith. While she was expecting, Val was more careful than ever about her eating habits.

I'm pregnant? I'm pregnant! A million and one questions are racing through my head as my joy competes with twinges of concern. There’s one thing I'm sure of: that I'll be able to provide my babies—I'm having twins—with the best environment in which to grow.

I’m a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, so nutrition is what I do best. I understand the importance of eating adequate amounts of a variety of nutrient-rich foods—and there is nothing more important to a growing fetus than good nutrition. I have been following a controlled carbohydrate lifestyle for several years and will continue to do so throughout my pregnancy. During pregnancy I’m following the guidelines of the Lifetime Maintenance phase of the Atkins Nutritional Approach™, which is the most liberal in carbohydrate intake. (The weight-loss phases of Atkins are not appropriate for pregnant or lactating women.) This phase will not only ensure normal growth for my babies and help prevent potential complications, such as neural-tube defects and gestational diabetes. It will also keep me healthy.

As you can see from my typical daily menu, listed below, I am eating lots of food with lots of variety, so I’m getting plenty of nutrients. My usual intake ranges between 100 and 150 grams of protein, 70 to 90 grams of carbs and approximately 1,800 to 2,000 calories. Interestingly, I have none of the cravings for specific foods that often plague pregnant women. Nor am I turned off by certain foods, another common side effect of pregnancy. After my first trimester my energy level was fine, meaning that I had no need to nap in the middle of the day. I attribute all these positive effects to my diet. For more information on having a healthy pregnancy, see Vitanutrients for Pregnancy and Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy.


1/2 avocado

Smoked salmon rolled around a teaspoon of cream cheese

Sliced tomato and onion

Midmorning snack

2 meatballs on Atkins bread


Large salad made of greens, tomato, cucumber, artichoke, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, red cabbage, walnuts and onion, dressed with olive or flaxseed oil and vinegar

Chicken breast cutlet

Midafternoon snack

Berries with cottage cheese



Sautéed spinach and red peppers in garlic and oil

Steamed asparagus


Snack Time

Even with years of nutrition education under my rapidly expanding belt, when I was feeling tired and nauseous in the early months I sometimes found it hard to eat the right foods. That’s why it is important to have a few light, high-protein foods handy at all times. My favorites are:

  • Cottage cheese served with melon cubes, grapefruit, strawberries or blueberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter with 1/3 banana or 1 teaspoon of low-carb strawberry jam on Atkins bread
  • Atkins Advantage™ Bars
  • Atkins™ Strawberry Shake
  • Sliced turkey (or any other sliced meat) rolled up with lettuce, tomato and cucumber
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 tuna salad sandwich on Atkins bread and 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 high-protein veggie burgers with mustard
  • Tofu with tomato and cheese
  • Nuts or seeds

Valerie Berkowitz, M.S., R.D., C.D.E., is supervisor of education and research at Atkins Health & Medical Information Services.

The information on this Web site is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Read More >
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