We all agree that not only during pregnancy but also in our everyday lives, we need to eat right and/or make better food choices. What does eating right mean? I think it is such a general concept or intention that when it comes to application, majority of the time we fail to do so.
I am not a big fan of going extreme and being super strict with your diet, start measuring the amount of food per meal or day, being super picky with food choices. I believe that you are more likely to get off of track when you follow a strict diet. I believe in being good 80% of the time, and being more lenient 20% of the time. That means, 80% of the time eating right and choosing healthy food, while cheating and being more lenient towards not-so-good-for-me food groups 20% of the time. Once you give yourself a bit more wiggle room, you are less likely to get disappointed and give up. Lets take a closer look at different food groups and how they can affect your body and baby.
The first trimester is the toughest when it comes to eating. You all know what I am talking about. Feeling sick all the time, not being able to eat, having a heightened sense of smell, and not being able to tolerate even sight of some food groups are some challenges of the first trimester. Controlling your diet in the first trimester is very hard since you are lucky if you can eat some food and actually keep it in.
My advise to you is eat whatever you can and do not worry about what it is. For example, during my first trimester I could only eat bagel with cream cheese, pizza, pasta with cheese and any citrus. I could not stand garlic, hummus or anything green including salad spinach etc. I knew I needed my strength to get out of the bed and go to work so I had a bagel in the morning, some fruit in the afternoon, then pizza and some soup in the evening followed by a magnum double chocolate caramel ice cream bar right before bed. It was the ideal diet, however that’s what I managed to eat at that time. I was also taking my prenatal vitamins that provided vitamins for my body so I did not stress over it too much.
What your growing baby needs is protein for your baby’s developing muscles and internal organs, fat for neurological system including the brain and the spinal column, minerals and vitamins for bone health. All these elements play an important role in your baby’s development since they all work together as the building blocks of your baby. Did you realize that I did not include carbohydrates? Your baby does not really need many carbohydrates, so carbs really end up on the bottom of the list.
When broken down, carbohydrates eventually turn into sugar and we all know sugar actually feeds into inflammation, causes weight gain and is usually used in our body as a quick access energy source so it is not meant to be storage, it is meant to be used so you can get rid of it. I am 5” 4’ 120 lb (pre pregnancy) and gained 8 lbs just in a month due to my increased carbohydrate intake. I was determined to change my diet when I started feeling better which started happening around 14 weeks of my pregnancy. I stuck with a high fat protein diet and tried my best to stay away from carbohydrates.
I will give you two examples of what I ate once I no longer experienced morning sickness,
- Breakfast: omelet with 2-3 eggs, onions, peppers, olive oil and cheese
- Lunch: mixed nuts, salad, chicken
- Afternoon snack: Green apple
- Dinner: yogurt.
The next day,
- Breakfast: Panini
- Lunch: stuffed pepper
- Afternoon snack: a banana
- Dinner: fish with salad, Avocado
Pre-pregnancy I did not have dinner, instead I would eat a lot more for the first half of the day. During my second trimester, my body went back to my old habit of eating more during the day and eating less at night. I am not saying that is what you need to do, just figure out what works best for your body.
Even though my goal was to stick with a high protein high fat diet, I was still eating carbs too. For example, Panini has bread that is carbs. Fruits such as apple and banana also have some amount of carbs in them since they have sugar. I was not too concerned because I was not eating a ton of fruit. Remember if you are good 80% of the time, you will be ok- at least that’s my philosophy.
Some great sources of protein are: of course all the meats, fish, poultry, eggs, yogurt, green peas, quinoa, nuts (minus peanuts) and nut butters (I advise you to grind your own nut butter from whole foods that has no additive), tofu, edemame, leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach, chia sesame sunflower seeds and the list goes on.
Some great resources of fat: nuts (minus peanuts), avocado, natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, organic butter (stay away from corn oil, margarine, vegetable oil, sunflower oil etc)
For your vitamins and minerals stick with eating lots of vegetables and control your fruit intake since you do not want to spike up your sugar levels.
During my pregnancy, I really enjoyed reading and learning more from Mark Sisson’s Primal Blue Print book, and Primal Blue Print Cookbook as well as Quick and Easy recipe book. If you want to learn more about nutrition, making better food choices and how to make healthy food in seconds, these books are treasures that are definitely worth checking out.
I would like to hear about your perspective. What do you think? Please comment and let me know!
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