A few weeks ago, I did an interview for M Magazine to share my tips on what to eat when you’re expecting. That was a really exciting interview for me. As many of you know, it was during my own infertility and pregnancy journey with Annie that I finally went all in when it came to my diet. After working so hard to conceive, I knew that I not only wanted to eat real food throughout my pregnancy, but for the rest of our lives as well. I know firsthand that pregnancy can be a turning point for many women, so I thought it would be helpful to post some of the information I shared in the interview here as well. So here you go…my top tips on what to eat when you’re expecting!
(PS — That’s me three weeks before Ellie was born. My friends threw me a beautiful baby shower at a fancy-shmancy restaurant in Santa Monica. I felt like a total princess!!!)
Embrace the healthy fats. A developing fetus needs fat for proper growth and brain development. However, the quality of the fats is important. Work on incorporating healthy fats from foods like avocados, almonds, grass-fed meats, organic eggs, and full-fat organic dairy.
Remember that what you eat now can affect your baby’s taste for foods in the future. Unless you have aversions, try to introduce your baby to a variety of interesting flavors from the very beginning. Both of our girls’ favorite foods are very similar to what I ate during both of my pregnancies. (Goat cheese for Annie and kale for Ellie.)
Be ready when hunger pains start. We all know it’s more difficult to make good food choices when you’re starving. This is never more true than when you are pregnant and your blood sugar starts to plummet. Stock your purse, car and desk with healthy snacks that will satisfy your craving for crunchy, salty, sweet, whatever. Some nutrient-packed and tasty options are almonds and raisins, homemade granola, dried fruit, homemade vegan protein bars, apples and single serving packets of almond butter, string cheese, and carrots with hummus. (Do you remember ants on a log? That was one of my favorites with Annie.)
Eat six mini meals instead of three large ones. Especially during the first and third trimester, when morning sickness is strong, and then when your body is running out of room, it is often better to eat six mini-meals instead of three large ones. Try to get a serving of protein, produce, and healthy fat at each sitting, and you will be good to go!
Rest, rest, rest! I know that this is not really about food, but I still think it is worth mentioning. You’re body is working hard to grow another human. You may not have as much energy as you used to, and you certainly won’t have as much energy when you start doing midnight feedings. That is okay. Stock up on sleep when you can, and let go of any guilt that you are “indulging”.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. When it comes to eating healthy, go for an 80/20 rule. If you are stressing too much over what, how much and when you’re eating, you won’t be able to fully enjoy your pregnancy. Some studies even show that the stress and anxiety a mom experiences puts unnecessary stress on the baby.
Stock your freezer: As your due date approaches, start stocking your freezer with meals and snacks for the first few months. In my cookbook, Feeding our Families, 18 of the 48 complete meal plans are freezer-friendly. You can also check out all of the freezer-friendly recipes I’ve shared on Healthnut Foodie here.
If cooking is not your thing, have a freezer-friendly baby shower. Have your hostess ask guests to bring a freezer-friendly meal to your shower. To make this a win-win for all, your hostess can also ask guests to bring enough copies of the recipe to share with all of the other guests. This way, all of your friends will go home with an arsenal of new freezer-friendly recipes, AND you will be sure to have baking instructions on all of your future meals. (I suggest taping the recipe onto the freezer bag so that, when mommy brain kicks in, you won’t be wondering where your recipes are. Just saying.)
Finally, listen to your body. Women have been birthing healthy babies long before there was a whole section at the bookstore dedicated to doing it “right”. We are all unique. Just because a book says something works, it doesn’t mean that it works for everyone in every situation. Embrace the changes, listen to your body, and enjoy every flutter and kick that comes during this special time!
What one thing do you wish you would have done differently during your pregnancy?