Smart food choices for pregnancy and beyond

I’ve been a healthy eater for the majority of my adult life.  Salads, grilled chicken, broccoli, quinoa, fruits, oatmeal – all of these were the main staples of my diet.  I made good choices, but I really didn’t focus on why these choices I made were good.  But being pregnant has made me look at why certain foods are good for me (and why certain ones are not).

Since I’m not only eating for two, but eating to decrease the many unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy, each bite of food has more meaning to me.  A few of the things that have helped me throughout my pregnancy, and that I will continue throughout my life, are:

  • Eat at least 2 servings of a good fiber source food every day.  Pregnancy slows down your digestion which can lead to some uncomfortable symptoms.  So getting enough fiber is essential to maintain a relatively normal digestive process.  Oatmeal in the morning, whole grain bread at lunch, and broccoli at dinner are great choices to increase your fiber intake.
  • Probiotics are your friends.  Again, they help with digestion but also help ease any other tummy issues I may have (i.e. nausea).  Yogurt is a great way to get in natural probiotics.  Make sure you read the label carefully when buying yogurt.  Many have lots of artificial sweeteners (which you should avoid while pregnant – and when not).  And those that don’t have artificial sweeteners may have a lot of sugar.  I go for plain Greek yogurt and add flavorings myself to keep my sugar intake low.
  • Protein, protein, protein!  Protein helps me feel full, fight crazy pregnancy cravings, and helps me maintain my energy levels.  I try to eat protein at every meal and for at least one snack.  Eggs for breakfast, cheese at lunch, chicken for dinner, and peanut butter for a snack.  Getting lots of protein and iron to keep me (and baby) strong!
  • Vitamin C is a wonderful thing!  Not only has making sure I have enough Vitamin C helped me survive cold and flu season (so far – fingers crossed!), but it also helps your body absorb iron.  So having some Vitamin C with your protein is a great combo to keep your body strong.  Drink a glass of OJ with your eggs at breakfast, have broccoli at lunch, and eat strawberries with dinner.

My day to day eating is definitely not perfect, but it’s helped me stay healthy throughout pregnancy and I’ve definitely skipped out on some of the unpleasant symptoms I hear many suffer from.  Here’s a sample menu of my typical preggie diet:

Breakfast: Oatmeal made with milk, mixed with 1 tbsp. of peanut butter and a glass of OJ.

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Lunch: Amy’s Broccoli Pot Pie (for some reason I’m loving pot pies right now!)

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Dinner: Grilled chicken with a mixture of veggies (red pepper, broccoli and zucchini are my go-to’s right now) with a whole grain (brown rice, whole grain tortilla for a quesadilla, etc.)

chicken

Snack Options: Full Fat Plain Greek yogurt with banana or raisins, Whole Wheat crackers smeared with peanut butter (and sometimes topped with sliced banana), Chunky Apple Sauce, Sliced Apple with peanut butter, Granola Bar.

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