As I have mentioned in this post, I was on a strict diet (calorie counting and no alcohol or carbs) nearly right up until I got pregnant. Therefore, I knew that if I started eating everything in sight I would gain a significant amount of weight during my pregnancy.
During the first 2 months I was so ill with all day sickness that all I could really stomach was some plain rice and apple juice, gross, I know, but the thought of other food turned me off. Once I started feeling better, about mid 2nd month, I started really tracking everything I was eating to make sure I was getting enough calories and adequate amounts of nutrients. I did intense tracking for about a month and figured I had gotten the hang of it so I eased off.
Overall, my doctor is always impressed with how healthy mine and the babies stats are and I truly believe it is due to my eating habits. I am not a saint, I have eaten at McDonalds when I was craving french fries, I even had a piece of cake for breakfast one day after my birthday, but in general, I am very aware of what I am putting in my body. I do eat more chocolate now than I ever have, I used to hate chocolate (but, studies have shown that babies born to mothers who ate chocolate every day were happier in general, I also believe the mother and father were both happier during the pregnancy ha) and I think that during these 9-10 months we are growing a baby and giving up so many delicious cheeses, fish, caffeine, etc. we are allowed to indulge from time to time.
So here are my tips to maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy (without depriving yourself of the good things once in a while).
First, I don’t eat anything which is prohibited. Even if it is a grey area where some think it’s okay and some don’t, I am the type of person who would live in constant guilt if something were to happen, therefore, I steer clear of these items completely. This includes; lunch meats, moldy cheese, caffeine (yes, I do not consume and teas or coffees with caffeine in them, and yes I am aware that chocolate contains some caffeine), alcohol (duh), sprouts, cilantro, parsley, raw fish, etc. With me not eating red meat and having a nut allergy, this can sometimes cause problems when eating out, so we generally eat in. I cannot tell you how many times I have ordered a salad only for it to come with sprouts or bacon in it. Its easiest to stay at home.
As I don’t eat a wide range of meat proteins, it is really important for me to get protein through beans, chicken, some types of fish (although I have been really turned off of fish since getting pregnant), and dairy products. Generally I have plain Greek Yogurt for breakfast with some fruit. Greek yogurt is amazing, especially if breastfeeding, it is packed with all the healthy fats and it a great source of protein. I also make sure I have a good size portion of chicken each day (whether for lunch or dinner) to make sure I have gotten enough protein. If my lunch has chicken/beans in it, then I make sure my dinner has cheese in it to top off any insufficiency I may have in protein for that day. Some of my favorite chicken recipes are here and here.
Of course, I add in whole grain items like a hand full of pasta, a slice of bread, or Special K for breakfast to ensure I am getting enough calories and always have a meal packed with vegetables, such as this one, for lunch and another with veggies to ensure that I am getting 5-8 servings of vegetables a day. Aside from that, there is olive and coconut oil we use to cook our meals, which provides any fats I missed throughout the day.
As for snacks, sometimes I will have vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber), or some cheese with crackers. I really love having fruit in the fridge, it makes it easy to grab something fast when a big wave of hunger comes. I usually have nectarines, pears, bananas and oranges.
At the end of the day, I usually indulge in some dark chocolate (if I can find some without traces of nuts) or a treat I have made, such as this or this. This way I don’t feel deprived of anything, I get my sweet fix and our sweet babe gets enough vitamins and protein throughout the day.
On a side note, Special K has been a life safer. I know it doesn’t taste the best, but I have had so many friends complain of constipation throughout their pregnancies. I have to say there were 2 days where I wasn’t feeling too hot, started eating a handful of Special K each morning with my Greek yogurt and have been regular ever since. If you are having any issues, I swear by Special K, just the regular bland kind. It will be your lifesaver -I promise!