Pregnancy

Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

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 clean eating tips for healthy pregnancy

Even if you typically make healthy choices regarding what you eat- you’re still most likely going to need to make a few changes when you become pregnant.

You’re going to need additional nutrients in order for your body to keep up with the demands of a growing baby- and there are certain foods that will need to be cut out of your diet all together.

However, this doesn’t mean that you must be overly strict- or to deny yourself some of your simple pleasures. Still, it does mean that you must give some thought to the choices you make with what you eat.

Clean eating means that you’re choosing foods that have little to no additives and have been minimally processed. In addition, these clean foods have no pesticides, hormones, or preservatives.

When you’re eating food that has not been changed from its natural state, you are getting all of the food’s nutritional value.

Following are six guidelines that you can follow to clean up your eating habits. In addition, you will find some meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even treats!

Instead of choosing white rice or pastas, choose brown rice and whole-grain pasta. When you process whole grains, they end up stripped of fiber content as well as critical phytochemicals that offer a boost to your immunity and also prevent certain diseases.

Whole grains are good carbs, especially for women who are expecting. The fiber will help keep your energy going longer than a refined grain and will also help to keep you from being constipated.

Whenever possible, you should choose organic fruits and vegetables. Sure, it’s true that these are often much more expensive and this can be difficult if you’re on a budget.

However, it’s what is best for your baby. If you’re eating organic produce, you’re ingesting lower amounts of pesticides. If you just can’t afford organic, then at least take the time to properly wash your produce.
In addition to making sure that you’re getting organic (or at least washing) fruits and veggies, you should make sure to get a variety.

Each color offers different protections and nutrients. The deeper the color of a fruit or veggie, the more nutrients are there.

Limit foods high in salt content. Keep in mind that water retention and salt consumption are closely related- especially during pregnancy.

In addition, for some women, a high salt diet can lead to complications such as high blood pressure. The foods that are typically high in salt are those that are processed: canned, frozen, and boxed.

While fresh foods are high in the good things, the processed foods are high in ingredients that you should be reducing: salt, sugar, calories, and fat.

Avoid chemical additives as much as possible. While research seems to point to the fact that most chemical food additives are perfectly safe for a developing baby, do you really want to take a chance?

Typically, foods made with these additives are not your most wholesome or nutritious choices. When you’re looking at the food label, the more trouble you have pronouncing the name, the less healthy it is for you and your baby.

Choose grass-fed/hormone-free meats. Protein is critical to the body- and when you are carrying a baby, you are going to need a variety of foods that are rich in protein.

One of the best sources for clean protein is hormone-free poultry and meats. Of course, you can also get protein from grains, soy, legumes, beans, and nuts.

If you’re not a fan of red meats (which are one of the best sources of iron), you should make sure that you are eating other foods that are iron-rich. This includes: dried apricots, quinoa, dried figs, blackstrap molasses, and iron-fortified cereal.

Keep Hydrated: Tap Water or Bottled?

Women who are pregnant should be drinking approximately 3 liters of water each day, which is about thirteen 8 oz cups. However, does it really matter where this water comes from?

The Natural Resources Defense Council states that there is no assurance that any bottled water is better for you than your tap water. If you want to find out what is in your tap water, contact your local health department.

Whether you choose bottled or tap water, it is critical that you choose water over other beverages as much as possible.

While it’s true that juice is a great way to ensure you get the proper amount of folic acid, it is also very high in sugar content and typically doesn’t have any fiber.

If you do choose juices, make sure that you avoid those that have been sweetened with sugar and choose 100% fruit juice.

Meals for Pregnancy

Following are some suggested meals for pregnant women. Choose one of the meals for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner, two snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon) and one treat.

Each one of these recipes are single servings and are an average of approximately 400 calories more than a woman who is not pregnant will eat. These are exactly what you need when you’re in your second and third trimesters.

You need a total of 2200 calories each day. Please note that if you’re underweight, you’re going to need 2400 calories- so add an extra snack or double the size of one of your snacks.

On the other hand, if you are overweight, you’re only going to need 2200 calories each day, so choose one snack instead of two.

Recipes for When You’re Eating for Two (or More)

Breakfast Recipes

Apple-Cinnamon Oats

You may find it a bit of a challenge to remember to prepare this before going to bed- but you will definitely enjoy waking up and not having to worry about it.

What you will need:

1 cup nonfat milk
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Small apple, chopped

What you will do:

Stir the milk, oats, and cinnamon together, cover with plastic wrap, and place in fridge overnight. When you wake up, add in the walnuts and apple.

Egg Wrap

What you will need:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 10-inch wheat tortilla
  • 1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa

What you will do:

Scramble the egg in the olive oil. Add in the spinach and sauté until wilted. Put the egg and spinach on the tortilla. Top with the salsa and cheese. Roll up and eat!

Pear/Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

What you will need:

  • English muffin
  • 1 large pear, sliced
  • 1 oz slice of cheddar cheese
  • Almond butter

What you will do:

Place 1/2 pear on 1/2 English muffin and top with cheddar cheese. Place both pieces of the muffin in the broiler until the tops are brown and the cheese is melted. Put both halves together to make a sandwich. On the other 1/2 pear, spread almond butter.

Pumpkin Spice Parfait

What you will need:

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 4 teaspoons chopped cashews
  • 4 tablespoons granola

What you will do:

Stir the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and maple syrup into the yogurt. Place half of the mixture into a glass and top with 2 tablespoons of the granola, 1 tablespoon raisins, and 2 teaspoons cashews. Next, pour over the other half of the yogurt and top with the rest of the granola, raisins, and cashews.

Bacon/Egg Frittata

What you will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 pound low-sodium bacon
  • 1 tablespoon chives

What you will do:

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, salt, and pepper and set aside. Cook the bacon in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until crisp.

Pour eggs over the bacon and sprinkle with chives. Place skillet in oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. This will give you 8 servings and can be eaten warm, cold, or room temperature. Can be refrigerated for 3 days.

Lunch Recipes

Veggie, Hummus, and Egg Pita

What you will need:

  • 6 inch whole wheat pita
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg white
  • 1/3 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • Sprinkle of paprika

What you will do:

Place all ingredients in the pita pocket and enjoy.

Crab Salad Sandwich

What you will need:

  • 6-oz canned crab meat, drained
  • 2 tablespoons light mayo
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped

What you will do:

Mix together above ingredients, spread on a slice of whole wheat bread and top with another slice of bread.

Fiesta Salad

What you will need:

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed/drained
  • 1/2 medium baked/microwaved sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup corn, frozen/thawed

Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • Salt/pepper to taste

What you will do:

Mix together salad ingredients and top with the vinaigrette and 1/4 cup Mexican cheese blend.

Pesto Veggie Burger

What you will need:

  • Veggie burger patty
  • Sliced yellow onion
  • Portobello mushroom cap
  • Whole wheat bun
  • 2 teaspoons pesto
  • Slice of Swiss cheese

What you will do:

Grill patty according to the instructions. Grill (using a grill pan), a slice of the yellow onion and Portobello mushroom cap. Place burger patty onto 1/2 of whole wheat bun. Spread other 1/2 of bun with pesto. Top with Swiss cheese, grilled onion, and grilled Portobello.

 clean eating tips for healthy pregnancy

Dinner Recipes

Stuffed Acorn Squash, White Beans, Mushroom/Wild Rice

What you will need:

  • 1 medium acorn squash, halved
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushroom, chopped
  • 1/3 cup white beans
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup brown or wild rice, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

What you will do:

Cut acorn squash and remove seeds. Place on baking sheet, cut side down. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender.

Sauté onion, mushroom, beans, and garlic in olive oil until soft- about three to five minutes. Add rice and pistachios and stir until heated through- about one minute.

Remove squash from oven and stuff with sautéed mixture. Top each half with the parmesan cheese and cook for an additional ten minutes.

Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Dipping Sauce

What you will need:

  • 5-oz chicken tenders
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

What you will do:

Mix together bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, oregano, dry mustard, and garlic powder. Dip chicken in egg wash made with egg whites and then in bread crumb mixture.

Bake chicken on a wire rack for approximately 15 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees. Serve with sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.

Pork/Pineapple Kabobs

What you will need:

  • 4-oz pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 clove garlic, chopped
  • Canned pineapple
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice from canned pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 medium onion, cut into pieces

What you will do:

Cut tenderloin into pieces. Add together lime, garlic, pineapple juice, and olive oil in plastic, zip-lock bag. Place pieces of tenderloin in marinade mixture and let sit for approximately 30 minutes.

Thread pork, pepper, onion, and pineapple chunks onto skewers. Grill over medium high flame until cooked to 145 degrees.

Nachos

What you will need:

  • 1-oz corn chips
  • 1/3 cup kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat cheese, shredded

What you will do:

Place beans, olives, and cheese on top of corn chips. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and ingredients are hot. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and yogurt.

Healthy Snacks

Crackers and Cheese

What you will need:

  • 5 Triscuit crackers
  • 2 light cheese wedge spreads
  • 1 tablespoon cranberries, dried

What you will do:

Spread cheese on crackers and top with cranberries.

Peachy-Crunchy Yogurt

What you will need:

  • 6-oz nonfat peach yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon granola

What you will do:

Mix together yogurt, flaxseed, and granola and enjoy!

Blueberry-Almond Smoothie

What you will need:

  • 3/4 cup soy milk, unsweetened
  • 3/4 cup blueberries, frozen
  • 2 teaspoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey

What you will do:

Blend all ingredients together and pour into a glass.

Parmesan/Black Pepper Popcorn

What you will need:

  • Fat-free microwave popcorn
  • 2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper

What you will do:

This is a great substitute for greasy potato chips when you’re craving something salty. Take 1/2 bag of the popcorn and toss in the parmesan cheese and black pepper.

Peanut Butter Crackers

What you will need:

  • 7 (healthy) snack crackers
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

What you will do:

Peanut butter is a great way to get the protein you need- but it’s also full of fat, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re consuming the right portion.

Spread the peanut butter evenly onto the 7 crackers. Then, top each one with another cracker to make sandwiches. Enjoy!

Cashew Trail Mix

What you will need:

  • 2 tablespoon cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole grain cereal
  • 4 chopped/dried apricot halves

What you will do:

Mix together the above ingredients and enjoy.

Homemade Hummus

What you will need:

  • 1- 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce pretzels or veggies

What you will do:

Puree together the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, water, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor. Serve 1/4 cup with the pretzels or veggies. This is a much healthier option than dips and dressings.

Soup and Bread

What you will need:

  • 1 cup ready-to-eat minestrone soup
  • 1/2 whole wheat English muffin
  • 1/2 teaspoon whipped butter

What you will do:

Warm the soup, toast the muffin and top with butter. Then, force yourself to sit down, relax and enjoy your meal instead of always being on the go.

Treats

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a great way to take a break from all the prepping for baby. Since dark chocolate is full of natural antioxidants, you don’t need to feel guilty.

Creamy Strawberry Mousse

What you will need:

  • 1-1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 10 ounce strawberries, frozen

What you will do:

The night before you plan to serve, place the yogurt in a strainer to drain. Then, place strained yogurt in a large bowl.

Add honey, orange juice, and vanilla. Stir together well. In a blender, puree strawberries until smooth and fold into yogurt. Taste for sweetness- if necessary, add more honey.Divide between four bowls or glasses. Save extras for two to three days.

Clean eating is a good idea, whether you are expecting or not. However, if you are expecting, it’s even that much more important. You only want to give your baby the best, right?

You should be doing everything you can to ensure that you’re not getting any poisons in your body. Whenever possible, choose organic fruits and veggies.

If that’s not possible, be sure to thoroughly wash all produce with water and a produce brush- never use soap. Some grocery stores do sell a produce wash that effectively kills all bacteria and is safe to consume.

Sources:

http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/nutrition/prenatal-meal-plan/#page=1

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/nutrition/prenatal-nutrition/detox-your-diet

Pregnancy Update: 26 Weeks

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7 Comments

  • I love how easy these recipes are, especially the overnight oats, i’ve always been a huge fan of overnight oats…but I always put the nuts and apples in overnight with the oat, never occurred to me to try putting it in the morning instead. Will definitely try this this weekend! It does make sense…how did it not occur to me?!?

  • Thanks so much for sharing this! Will absolutely be helpful when i get pregnant with baby #2. I will certainly go more for organic food as i do not want contaminants to harm my new born. Your suggested recipes are great too, egg wrap has always been my favourite for breakfast.

  • I understand firsthand the importance of eating well-balanced and healthy meals during pregnancy. When I was pregnant, everytime I skipped a meal or didn’t eat for a while, I’d get horrible nausea and stomachaches. These recipes are really creative and sound so delicious! Even if you’re not pregnant! Im really enjoying the articles on this website. Good job!

  • For the past year, I have been preparing my body for pregnancy, and I noticed how bad I was eating even thinking it wasn’t the case. we have doubled the food budget, bought only fresh vegetables and fruit, starting every day with a smoothie mixing supplements, vitamins and veggies.
    I didn’t lose weight so far but the changes within my body are amazing and I feel better every day !
    great article content and thanks for the recipes I’ m gonna try them soon 🙂

  • This is why I’ve been worried about the most, but I love the recipes your posted. I plan on trying them all…but not in one day 😉 I was also told to drink a glass of milk a day. Do you recommend this as well? I don’t see the harm in it.

  • This is what I worry about the most, so thank you for the great recipes. I will definitely try them. I was also told to drink a glass of milk a day. I don’t see any harm in that, just not sure what kind of milk to drink.

  • Yay! Not just nutrition advice, but recipes to go with it. I really appreciate that. I think pregnancy is a great incentive to eat healthy in a way we should really be eating all the time. Thanks for the tips!

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