Got a bun in the oven? Congrats! You're probably already aware that you should opt for a balance of fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains and nutritious sources of calcium throughout your pregnancy. What you may not know is that there are some simple ways to make eating during pregnancy more comfortable and enjoyable. Here, the top tips from moms who have been through it before.
Snack early and often
Anyone who has experienced “morning sickness” knows that’s a total misnomer. Nausea can strike at any hour, but you may be able to keep it at bay by eating more frequently. Most OBs recommend eating six small meals throughout the day rather than the three squares you’re used to. That way your blood sugar is less likely drop and trigger bouts of queasiness.
Noshing every few hours isn’t always possible when you’re tending to other responsibilities or working full time. It can also be a red flag that you’re preggers—not ideal during the first trimester when you may want to keep the happy news under wraps. The fix? Keep a PackIt bag full of healthy treats at your desk or in the car when you’re on the run. Because it keeps items cold up to 10 hours, you won’t have to sprint to the fridge every couple of hours. It’s also a great way to transport pre- and post-gym snacks, which are vital for keeping your energy up.
Eat the rainbow
Consuming a wide variety of foods ensures your little one is getting critical nutrients such as folate, calcium and vitamin C. But even If you were a green juice and grain bowl junkie before you were PG, you might suddenly find healthy stuff as appealing as a root canal. That’s totally normal. Experiment with a few food swaps until you find what works best for you. Spinach might be more palatable in the form of a smoothie, and dairy may take a backseat to other calcium-rich foods like hard-boiled eggs. Fresh fruits are an appealing way to get your RDA, especially immune-boosting vitamin C. Citrus is an obvious pick, but also try melons, strawberries, mangoes, and kiwi, as well as asparagus, tomatoes and bell peppers, to keep your immunity strong.
Pack in the protein
You need about 75 to 100 grams of protein daily to help nourish your growing baby, according to experts. That can be a challenge when the sight of meat turns your stomach. Many women wind up relying on carbs to get through the first semester, a time when keeping any food down at all is a victory. Crackers are okay as a go-to snack, but it’s better to pair them with protein for optimal nutrition. Try smearing whole-grain versions with nut butter, dipping them in Greek yogurt or adding a few cheese cubes to round out your snack.
With all the advice on what and what not to eat, it’s easy to forget that what you drink matters, too. Downing plenty of water is key to avoid feeling faint and to ease symptoms like constipation. One seasoned mom recommends stuffing a PackIt full of drinks before leaving the house for the day, in addition to packing another cooler with food. If you’re sick of good old H2O, mix things up with coconut water, a natural ginger ale or lemonade mixed with club soda for a lower-calorie treat. Chilled soups and smoothies are also smart ways to hydrate without making a trip to the loo every five minutes.
Feeling overheated is pretty common in pregnancy. If you didn’t have that bump you might swear you were going through early menopause from all the hot flashes! Many moms-to-be also find chilled foods more palatable during pregnancy. Try freezing juice or yogurt, popping it in your PackIt and enjoying it in popsicle form on the go.
It’s one of the cruelest jokes of pregnancy: you can eat more in your second and third trimesters, yet many of your favorite foods are off limits. That makes navigating brunches, buffets and barbecues packed with deli meats and medium rare burgers quite the challenge. Even when hosts mean well, there’s no guarantee the blue cheese in a cobb salad is pasteurized or the mayo in that potato salad isn't a homemade version with raw eggs.
How to cope? Bring your own spread to parties and picnics. That way you can rest assured that food is safe and that it hasn’t been left out too long to spoil. (Food poisoning is no fun, regardless of your condition, but it’s especially important that pregnant women protect themselves from foodborne illnesses.) PackIt bags also let you pack decaf coffee for breakfasts or bring non-alcoholic sparkling cider for special occasions lacking pregnancy-friendly options.
What are your tips for having a smooth, healthy pregnancy? Share in a comment!
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your physician or a qualified health professional before making changes to your diet or lifestyle.