Over the past few years, I’ve become much more conscious about eating real, whole foods; so when I began my research on preparing for pregnancy and a well-balanced, healthy diet kept popping up, I already felt somewhat prepared. I still listened to podcasts and read more on what exact nutrients I needed to ensure I was incorporating them into my day to day regimen, because diet is SO critical to fetal development.
I focused on including good fats, lean proteins, and carbohydrates low on the glycemic index, along with foods rich in iron, fiber, and antioxidants. I also began heavily cutting back on alcohol, caffeine and anything that might have high levels of refined sugar.
I introduced this way of eating about 2 1/2 months before we started trying. I did this in part because I wanted to be in great physical shape and also because I wanted it come as second nature once I was pregnant. I didn’t want to shock my body with the introduction or removal of any foods. Eating this way also always makes me feel great, not just physically but mentally too. I feel as if I can think clearer and my energy levels are through the roof. While this all sounds well and good, in theory, you might be asking what exactly does this look like in practice.
I, unfortunately, don’t have all of these recipes uploaded to the blog just yet, but will be sharing a few of these in the near future, so keep an eye out. At the very least, I think this list will give you a good idea of what my daily food diary looks like and hopefully provide you with a little meal inspiration (pregnant or not). I also want to quickly caveat that while this is what 90% of my weekly meals look like, I’m still listening to my body and eating whatever I please (burgers, pizza, sausage egg & cheese bagels, and ice cream included). As with everything, it’s just all about balance 🙂
I have been extremely lucky to have not gotten physically ill throughout my pregnancy. There was, however, a 3 week stretch early on, where I did have bouts of nausea. It would hit me first thing in the morning when I woke up but thanks to a tip from Dr Mom (mom’s really do know best) I tested eating something before I even got out of bed, and bam! problem solved. I found that foods high in protein seemed to work best, so Tim (being the sweet husband he is), started bringing me breakfast in bed. My go-to’s quickly became either eggs or yogurt and it made such a big difference those first few weeks.
Once I hit week 10, I was pretty much back to normal, but still found a well-balanced breakfast to be key.
A typical breakfast on any given day looks like this:
- 2 eggs, hard boiled or fried on whole wheat toast with avocado and a side of fruit
- Baked eggs, with sausage/prosciutto, and cheese, side of toast or fruit
- Overnight oats with almond or skim milk, peanut butter, chia seeds, cinnamon
- Hot oatmeal, with pumpkin or peanut butter
- Green smoothie: kale, spinach, almond milk, frozen mango, frozen banana, dates
- Yogurt (Icelandic or Skyr), Purely Elizabeth granola, blueberries/strawberries/banana
Nutrition notes: eggs are high in choline, oats are rich in fiber and iron, dark leafy greens (spinach/kale) are also high in iron and essential vitamins – using as a base for smoothies is not only an easy way to sneak in a full serving, but also keeps sugar levels lower than heavy fruit based alternatives
We are very fortunate at Etsy to have lunch catered twice a week and our team is very conscious to ensure each meal is sustainable and nutritious. Ingredients are generally all locally sourced and organic, with lots of dairy-free, gluten-free options for those with sensitivities. It makes a huge difference having access to real, whole, foods and I’m so thankful to work for a company that promotes these healthy values.
Example ‘Eatsy’ menus include:
- Chicken shawarma with green salad and naan
- Beef and root stew with seasonal salad
- Miso soup with beef-scallion rice balls
On non-Eatsy days I’ll either pack my own lunch or grab something near my office. My favorites are:
- Braised or roasted chicken with sweet potato mash and broccoli
- Salad: romaine, grilled chicken, beets, dried cranberries, sprinkle of parmesan, walnuts
- Salmon with brown rice and roasted veggies
- Tuna salad (whole wheat wrap, pasta or on lettuce)
- Juice Press Acai Bowl – I love their Blueberry or Almond Butter bowls
Nutrition notes: salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, broccoli is rich in folate, fiber and antioxidants, chicken is a great source of protein
My hunger levels have definitely varied throughout pregnancy so while I’m not usually much of a morning snacker, it’s honestly been hit or miss these days. If I do start to get hungry before lunch, I love to grab a banana with peanut butter or hard boiled eggs (if I didn’t have eggs for breakfast). I also have weirdly craved baby carrots throughout my pregnancy and in those first few weeks would easily eat half a bag at 11am at my desk.
In the afternoon I usually eat a more substantial snack (I generally hit the gym after I get home from work) but a few of my favorites regardless of the time of day have been:
- Apples- plain or sliced with peanut butter or yogurt (as pictured)
- Baby carrots
- Banana with peanut butter and jelly
- Bjorn Qorn – I like the salt version
- Bone broth – I love Bonafide Provisions
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Mush overnight oats
- Nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts)
- Yogurt (Icelandic or Skyr)
Nutrition notes: bananas are rich in potassium, including peanuts or peanut butter in your diet is linked to decreased allergy rates, blueberries are high in antioxidants, nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats, yogurt is a great source of protein
Dinner has also been hit or miss. Some nights I’m in the mood for full-blown meals and others I just want a yogurt or avocado toast. While, I have a few of my own recipes to upload to the blog still, the ones linked below are some of my absolute favorites. I discovered both The Defined Dish and Nom Nom Paleo when I was doing my first Whole30 and they are two of my favorite food bloggers out there. Every single one of their recipes that I’ve tested is amazing and I’ve tested quite a few.
- The Defined Dish: Sloppy Janes with sweet potatoes (Whole30 approved)
- Nom Nom Paleo’s Stir Fry Sauce – I love this on baked salmon, but it’s also great with shrimp, beef or chicken. Add some veggies and rice and be sure to make a lot because you will want leftovers!
- Pistachio crusted chicken tenders with roasted cauliflower or sweet potatoes
- Beef Chili
- Chicken fajitas with tri-color peppers and Siete Food Cassava Flour tortillas
- Any kind of soup – Tim makes my favorite Instant Pot Chicken Noodle soup and the Bonafide Provisions Broccoli Cheddar is beyond incredible
Nutrition notes: sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, bell peppers are high in vitamin C, beans are high in protein
While I’ve been trying to keep my sugar intake in check, the craving for all things sweet is real. In order to not overindulge, I’ll usually have a bite of something either in the afternoon or post dinner. Outside of adding dates or maple syrup to oatmeal or smoothies, I’ll try for some fruit (like an apple in the afternoon), but sometimes you just need the real deal.
- Chocolate covered banana bites
- Chocolate clusters
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Hu Cashew + Vanilla Bean Hunks
- Hu Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Dark Chocolate
Nutrition notes: dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and soluble fiber plus it’s delicious!