Recently I had a request to write about prenatal nutrition. I have been thinking about this for the last few weeks now and how I can go about writing it. Unfortunately, there’s very little solid information about prenatal nutrition or about nutrition overall. I have read about a dozen books on food and it’s amazing how much of it is conflicting. I’m currently reading a book called Nourishing Traditions and I just commented to my husband how it’s so interesting that different books often quote the same studies or the same group of people but make different observations. Often this just leaves us all more confused.
Since I’m not a dietician and by no means do I eat perfectly, I’m going to basically tell you what and how I eat. If you don’t care, I certainly don’t blame you but I realize I’m actually quite curious how other people eat so maybe this will be interesting after all.
Concerning prenatal nutrition, I would say that it doesn’t differ all that much from my normal diet except that I try harder when I’m pregnant. Considering food cravings and/or adversions though, I’m not sure I eat that much differently except that I cut out the following (based on my doctor’s recommendations): deli meat, raw fish, raw meat, unpasturisted cheese, ect.
Generally speaking, I try to buy all of my fruits, veggies and meats organic. I’m less concerned though with fruits with a thick peel like pineapple, bananas, oranges, etc. I’m very mindful of how much diary, meat, and gluten I eat. Instead of regular milk, we all (including Brooks) drink almond milk. (For Brooks, I add coconut milk and UltraCare for Kids for nutrients missing in almond milk. I found this recipe in the book Cure Your Child with Food). I do eat cheese and greek yogurt but I’m mindful of how much cheese I eat in a day. Basically the same goes for meat. I’m not against eating it but I try to buy good quality, grass-fed meats and I probably eat them 3-4 times per week. It wasn’t until recently that I started to pay attention to the wheat/gluten in my diet. A year or so ago, my friend recommended that I read Wheat Belly which I really enjoyed but never finished because I honestly wasn’t ready for that big of a change. More recently, my acupuncturist suggested I try to limit it in my diet and because I’ve found some really great recipes (Against All Grain.com) and product replacements, I’ve been doing better with it. Overall though, I’d say I practice the 80/20 rule (or maybe somewhat better). I eat really well most of the time- generally during the week at home, and eat whatever I want (with in reason) on the weekends or when we are traveling. I don’t believe that perfection is the goal but I do know that I feel better when I eat real, clean food as opposed to junk. With the exception of Subway (which I’ve been boycotting since the Food Babe informed us of the toxins in the bread) , I haven’t eaten fast food in years and Brooks has never had it. I try to stay away from sodas but I will have one occasionally (even though I think they are terrible for me). I love sweets and have something sweet daily. Usually the craving is satisfied by dark chocolate covered almonds which we almost always have on hand. I also stock almond milk chocolate pudding and plenty of fruit. I buy ice cream probably twice a month and I buy it in small containers because I absolultely love it and I have no self control over a container of Ben & Jerry’s. I can literally eat a pint at one sitting so I know I can’t keep it in the house.
Since I’m a creature of habit, I eat a lot of the same foods. This is a basic breakdown:
We start every morning with a smoothie that has carrots, greens (usually kale or spinach), whatever fruit we have on hand, coconut water, ice, and usually spirulina, flaxseeds, chia seeds, or macca.
Most days start with scrambled or fried eggs cooked in grass-fed butter or oatmeal with flaxseed oil, maple syrup, and sometimes walnuts & banana. Many days these are accompanied by organic chicken sausage. Days I don’t have eggs or oatmeal, I’ll have gluten free blueberry waffles with Brooks or very rarely cereal.
I also have coffee with soy creamer (I adore my coffee and have tried to kick the habit several times but I love it too much)
Often lunch is leftovers from dinner but other days it’s a veggie sandwich or PB&J on gluten free bread, a veggie burger, soup (leftover or sometimes canned), a salad, or occasionally eggs. Many days Brooks and I have a combination of whatever is the in fridge. For example, I’ll serve saurkraught (which Brooks loves), hummus with pita and/or carrot sticks, sweet potato with butter, and cheese. I’ve found that Brooks eats better when he has a lot of options and as long as I load his plate up with healthy foods, I don’t care which parts he eats or doesn’t eat that day. Brooks and I almost always eat the same thing. I know he pays attention to what I’m eating.
Yogurt, fruit, hummus, hard boiled eggs, gluten free homemade muffins (from Against All Grain), kombucha
Although it takes up some time I almost always plan my dinners out for the week. You can find many of our dinner options if you follow me on Pinterest. Here’s what our menu looks like this week:
Sunday: Chris made homemade sauce and meat balls (from grass fed beef), salad
Monday: Kale & broccoli quinoa with sweet potato and (fermented) sauerkraut (confession, we had gelato & Ben & Jerry’s FroYo for dessert after Brooks was in bed)
Tuesday: Homemade veggie pizza on gluten free crust. (Called Greek Goddess Pizza)
Wednesday: Vegan Lentil Soup
Thursday: Annie Chun’s Curried Shrimp (gluten free noodles)
I rarely cook on the weekends and if I do it’s a game time decision. You may notice that I have mentioned sauerkraut a few times. I buy brands that are naturally fermented. Brooks loves them and I’m a big believer in eating fermented foods. We all regularly consume GT’S Kombucha for the same reason.
As for supplements, I take a prenatal vitamin (prescribed by my OB), probiotics (Metagenics), fish oil (Green Pasture) , chewable vitamin C, and vitamin D (5,000 IU in the winter) daily. I also regularly consume flaxseeds, spirulina, chia seeds, and/or macca in our smoothies.
Overall, I’d say that I focus on eating real foods, getting veggies in each meal, and trying to eat foods that will make me feel better. I feel that whatever is good for me is good for my growing baby (with a few exceptions). Life is of course about balance. If you go on vacation with me or hang out with me on the weekends, please don’t judge. We can’t eat perfect all the time. 🙂