I hope this title didn’t scare you away. If you’re a normal human (aka not growing another human inside your tiny body), you might not need this post. This one is for the pregnant ladies out there struggling to find something to eat, let alone something semi-nutritious to feed their little one within themselves.
My first pregnancy I was super lucky. I only had a little bit of nausea my first trimester. There were a few things I didn’t really want to eat but no crazy aversions or vomiting. This time around was different. I finally knew what it meant to have “morning sickness”.
Hint: it’s not just in the morning.
A close friend of mine got pregnant around the same time as me. She told me she was concerned she wasn’t eating healthy enough for her baby through all of her nausea. I am a bit more relaxed than her about eating intuitively (or so I like to appear, sometimes I’m less chill than I seem and I’m secretly freaking out on the inside), but I took some time and thought about it… and decided I have a few tips on eating (mostly) healthy(ish) throughout your first trimester.
- Make it at home! When pregnant, the bottom line is that you just need to eat. If you’re truly getting sick from many foods, you’ll have to eat what your stomach can take. If there’s something that you crave from a restaurant, try making a similar version at home. Home cooking is almost always healthier and you can control what goes in it, so go ahead make that knock of Chipotle.
- Try to sneak some nutrients in to whatever you’re craving. If you’re like me and love bagels, just give in and keep them on hand! If you’re seriously craving it or truly averse to many other things during this time of your pregnancy, you’ll end up going out and buying it anyways, so you might as well have it in the house. Try adding in some different ingredients to sneak them in and fool your stomach (much like you might do with your kids). For example, with my bagels I like to add tomatoes and cucumber with the cream cheese. I might be eating a bagel, but at least I got in some veggies too!
- Take your vitamins, of course. This is an easy one and you probably know this already, but I just have to say it because if we’re not eating the most nutritious food during our first trimester, at the very least we will have our prenatal vitamins in our bellies. If you’re nauseas already, do not eat these on an empty stomach. I usually wait until I have eaten lunch or even dinner, then take mine and my stomach can only handle gummy vitamins- even still in my third trimester.
- Water gets boring, so make it a challenge. Okay, this one isn’t exactly about food but I am including it because I struggled with it at first during my pregnancy. Oddly enough, I was slightly averse to plain water. I wanted carbonation (maybe partly because I liked caffeine from soda) and I was so frustrated with no food sounding appealing to me, that I would sometimes just not eat or drink enough. I have gotten a lot better about it by making myself drink an entire water bottle full of water in the morning and with each meal after that. I also allow myself my guilty craving: Sprite (Gasp, soda? Sugar? I know, I’m horrendously imperfect). I do this, but only after I drink my entire bottle of water. You can also add fruit and lemon to water. I like warm water with lemon and honey at night too, especially when I’m not feeling my best.
- When in doubt, just eat. Bottom line: you and your baby need food. The aversions, nausea and cravings will subdue with time. I promise, it feels like it’ll go on forever, but later in pregnancy you will likely be able to get more nutritious food down. If you can’t even keep down the healthy meals that you would normally eat pre-pregnancy, then they’re not doing you or the baby any good. You need food. Just do your best. I promise, it’ll get better.
Here are some meals that worked for me!
- Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Pasta – throw in whatever you have. One great way to get some protein and veggies in is to cover them in sauce and carbs.
- Knock-off Take Out Chinese – like this amazing (healthier) shrimp & chicken with peanut sauce
- Bagels with various toppings – try cream cheese and veggies on an everything bagel or natural pb and apple slices on a blueberry bagel
- Spruced up Greek yogurt – I love chocolate raspberry – it feels like dessert – with granola and fruit. It’s really important to get your calcium in, in fact, I’ve heard we should be eating yogurt more than once a day while pregnant.
- Salads with whatever you’re craving (even if they’re less nutritious) – this might sound obvious, but in my first trimester the salads that I wanted weren’t my usual dark, leafy green, superfood filled salads that I typically make. I recreated a simple salad that my family used to get at our favorite pizza place (romaine, tomatoes, croutons, black olives, caesar dressing) and it worked for me for weeks!
- At-home Chipotle burrito bowls – like this one that I made recently!
- Homemade”DQ” blizzards – my husband jokes about this (aside from sushi) being my #1 pregnancy craving. Buy your favorite frozen yogurt (or try Arctic Zero), add graham cracker crumbs, milk (if you want), fruit, etc. Definitely healthier than the real thing!
- Shepard’s Pie (or other comfort foods) – this is always comforting and the healthier version I make using sweet potatoes is just as satisfying as the traditional recipe. I haven’t blogged about it yet, so try Sophia Bush’s recipe I saw recently on Tasty, it looks sooo good!
- Breakfast hash – eggs are my nemesis while pregnant. Potatoes on the other hand, are right up my alley. Try a breakfast hash with diced potatoes and whatever veggies your stomach can handle. I was even able to sneak in a little bit of egg with the hash. There’s a video of me making it the other week on Instagram (where you should be following me).
- Restaurant-style chicken wings – because you can’t always go to Buffalo Wild Wings, try these.