How To LOVE Your Pregnancy: FOOD + FITNESS
This post goes out to all my fellow preggos and future preggos. Now that I am officially entering the 3rd trimester…WOWZERS…I wanted to provide you with my new series: HOW TO Love Your Pregnancy. This 5-part series will include healthy eating tips and exercise tidbits, MUST HAVE products to keep you comfortable, answers to my most frequently asked questions, Pregnancy Style 101, AND a survival guide for each trimester! Keeping things as normal as possible was top priority for me. And as I look back, pregnancy has been a LOT of fun and something I have truly enjoyed. Trust me, I was one of those that completely DREADED the day I got pregnant. BUT, it does not have to be miserable and is something we should all embrace!
HEALTHY EATING TIPS
Ok, I know a lot of you are going to not like what I have to say here, but it will benefit YOU and YOUR BABY and help you feel great. Remember, I am not a dietician or doctor. PLEASE consult your physician or a nutritionist before changing your diet!
1) You are NOT eating for two. I know, I know. We have grown up waiting until the day we get pregnant and can eat whatever we want. I tried this for 2 weeks. It was MISERABLE. Yes, it was fun eating food I would normally not eat, but I felt SO SO bad the whole time. You know those early pregnancy symptoms we all hear about? Bloating, gas, skin breakouts, weight gain, nausea, exhaustion, etc? I felt them…for 2 straight weeks. Week 5-7 had me on the couch, feeling terrible, and dreading the rest of the process. Then, I had an epiphany: why am I eating like this when I haven’t eaten this way in YEARS? Y’all my body just couldn’t handle it. So, I stopped. I went back to my normal diet, which is Paleo-ish. I don’t recommend you start a new diet regimen but instead, find [and eat] what works for you. Make healthy choices, instead of justifying a McDonald’s hamburger for every meal. I increased my calorie intake (300 calories per day is what the doc recommended) and ate cleanly. And bam! I felt normal again!
2) Check your daily nutrient intake. Y’all, I am NOT a dietician nor do I claim to be, but this is something that is important. Getting the proper nutrients each day is crucial for you and your baby. I knew eating Paleo may limit some of the nutrients, so I added in a few things to make sure I was getting enough of the required nutrients. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to a nutritionist or ask a friend. There are SO many resources out there to help you.
3) Cravings in moderation. Yep, I get it. There are times where you literally cannot live without a chocolate chip cookie. I have been there. I urge you not to give into them every time they pop up. Can you splurge? Absolutely! Set boundaries for yourself and only splurge once a week or for special occasions. Everything in moderation. My CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT craving was grapes. Now, I know what you are thinking…shocker, this is a healthy craving. But honestly, anything that is over-consumed has it’s negative effects. Grapes have a ton of sugar, so I made sure I was only having 1 serving per day. YES, go ahead and splurge!! You deserve it…but limit your splurges, so splurges do not become daily occurrences.
4) Eating Schedule. Figure out a schedule that works for you. I found that eating small meals throughout the day helped curb my nausea, but I have heard others say the opposite. Find what works for YOU and stick to it.
5) Whole foods versus Processed. Again, I realize this sounds terrible, but it can be a lot of fun, ESPECIALLY in the summer. Think of all the fresh veggies and delicious fruits you can consume right now! If you have not been down to Pepper Place, you are missing out. You can read my post from last year HERE. There is an abundance of organic fruits and veggies, meats, desserts, fresh flowers, etc. And the best part? You can support local farmers, eat seasonally, AND avoid processed foods. I guest posted on my friend Heather’s FABULOUS blog last month (My Life Well Loved). The post was all about HOW to EAT SEASONALLY (find it HERE). I provide some great tips on how to plan your meals and truly eat seasonally. No matter what eating plan, diet, lifestyle, etc that you follow, they all say to AVOID processed food. It will honestly change your life. You know those 2pm slumps you get in? Or that tired feeling after you had a large meal? That will go away! My challenge to you is to visit Pepper Place and try it out for one week. Let me know how you feel afterwards! I mean, look at how relish these veggies look…nom nom.
Strong momma, strong baby, right? It can be VERY tough to exercise in the first trimester. You are tired, STARVING, and nauseous. But try to get out there an get moving. The summer is great time. Take walks in the park, go for a swim, DO something you enjoy…just get moving. Even on my tiredest days, I would try to do SOME form of exercise, and every single time, it made me feel a million times better. Remember, take it easy, watch your heart rate, and make sure you can hold a conversation while exercising. Even a 10 min walk around the block after dinner will make a world of difference. Another idea? Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
I absolutely LOVE any sort of group fitness. I currently do Irontribe and Orange Theory (when I travel), but there are SO many options out there: Spin, Zumba, Bootcamp, Water Aerobics, YOGA (I MUST start this!), Pure Barre, etc. You name it. These types of classes are an awesome way to hold yourself accountable, go at your own pace, and most importantly, HAVE fun. Most gyms offer free group classes with their membership, so check it out. As always, check with your doc before starting ANY form of exercise. Here is an article that The Bump posted TODAY about pregnancy-safe fitness classes: Fast Pass To Fitness: The Best Classes To Take If You’re Pregnant.
MEAL + RECIPE IDEAS
Keep in mind, I am about 85% PALEO, so this are just IDEAS. You may want to incorporate more whole grains if you are not gluten-free. Also, lentils and beans are excellent sources of protein. It is VERY important that you get all your nutrients and calories each day, so again, these are just ideas to give you some inspiration. I LOVE “healthy-ish” desserts on the weekend. You can find 2 of my favs HERE and HERE. Also, dark chocolate (aim for 70% or higher) is an EXCELLENT choice. My fav brands are Alter Ego Dark Blackout (Whole Foods) and THEO Organic 85% Dark Chocolate (Whole Foods). Very important: make sure you read the ingredients. If not careful, dark chocolate can go from healthy-ish to down right NOT healthy. And hell, all you non-preggos can take ideas from this chart as well! This is pretty much how I ate before pregnancy with smaller portions and less caloric snacks.
[table_cell]2 Eggs cooked through
Half an avocado
Blueberries[/table_cell] [table_cell]15 almonds
10 grapes[/table_cell] [table_cell]Grilled chicken salad (use leftover chicken from dinner): quinoa, local greens, carrots, avocado (important for calorie intake), nuts, and snap peas[/table_cell] [table_cell]Hardboiled egg and a banana (if you didn’t have eggs for breakfast)[/table_cell] [table_cell]Rotisserie chicken (Whole Foods makes a “naked” organic chicken or you can get one at Pepper Place and throw it in the crockpot)
Roasted veggies (whatever you find at Pepper Place)
Basmati Rice[/table_cell] [/table_row] [table_row] [table_cell]Frittata (comment if you want my recipe)
Organic Apple Sauce (100% apples…found at whole foods)[/table_cell] [table_cell]Veggies and Hummus (check the label to make sure it contains only whole foods. I LOVE The Hummus People…website HERE)[/table_cell] [table_cell]Leftovers from dinner!!![/table_cell] [table_cell]Greek yogurt, nuts, and fruit (if you eat dairy)[/table_cell] [table_cell]Wild-caught salmon
Roasted potatoes (olive oil, salt, and pepper)
Side Salad with balsamic vinegar
2 pieces of 85% cacao dark chocolate (see suggestions above)[/table_cell] [/table_row] [table_row] [table_cell]Scrambled duck eggs with asparagus, garlic, and mushrooms (again, let me know if you want my recipe)
Local, organic blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries[/table_cell] [table_cell]Apple with Almond butter[/table_cell] [table_cell]Gulf shrimp + avocado (recipe HERE)
Side of basmati rice or quinoa[/table_cell] [table_cell]Veggies and guacamole (homemade if possible)[/table_cell] [table_cell]Lean pork (tenderloin, shoulder cooked in crock pot)
Zucchini noodles (amazing recipe HERE)
Bok choy, kale, onions, garlic, and mushrooms
85% cacao (see suggestions above)[/table_cell] [/table_row] [/table_body] [/table]
I hope some of these meals help give you some ideas. As I mention in the menu suggestions, leftovers are an AWESOME choice! You can prepare a lot of meals on Sunday, so you do not have to cook during the week. Also, give yourself a splurge meal or 2 during the week. The hubs and I usually go out to dinner on Friday night and out to lunch on Saturday, and it is something I look forward to every week. By splurging occasionally, you will truly feel better and appreciate it SO much more! What are some of your favorite HEALTHY things to eat during pregnancy? I would love to hear from you!