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Foods To Make You Feel Your Best During Pregnancy

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They say you are what you eat…and when you’re expecting, you’re eating for two!

Every mother wants the best for her baby, so it’s only natural to worry now and then that you are following a balanced diet that will keep you and your growing child healthy — especially if you are struggling to keep food down at all.

To get a better idea of what foods you should be eating during your pregnancy, we turned to pre-&-postnatal nutrition expert Lindsay Taylor.

Lindsay is a health researcher and doula who is dedicated to ensuring women are nourished before, during, and after pregnancy. She’s also the author of The Food Doula Cookbook, which contains easy and delicious recipes for preconception, all three trimesters, and postpartum.

Basically, she rocks!

To learn more about Lindsay and her work, you can connect with her on Instagram.

We chatted with Lindsay in our 40 Weeks to Forever - Season 2, Episode 1: Pregnancy + Nutrition 101 and learned some great info to keep you healthy and feeling your best during your pregnancy.

Morning Sickness Madness

When morning sickness is at its peak in the first trimester, it can feel like there’s no way you’ll be able to keep anything down. You’ll likely crave food that isn’t exactly the healthiest for you or your baby.

During this time, do away with any preconceptions or feelings of guilt as to what you should or shouldn’t be eating.

Obviously, the healthier your diet, the better. But if you’re struggling, it’s not the end of the world. Your body can handle a few months of eating only what you can stomach.

This change in mindset allows you to at least get some nutrients, calories, fats, and carbs that are essential for energy and curbing morning sickness.

How Blood Sugar Affects Pregnancy

When your blood sugar drops, morning sickness hits hard.

To alleviate nausea, you need to stabilize your blood sugar levels. This is done by consuming protein.

High-protein foods such as meat and fish might be the last things you want to eat when you don’t feel well. Fret not, there are plenty of other protein-rich foods you can substitute:
  • Almond flour crackers
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Protein-powder foods like protein pancakes or protein muffins
  • High-protein seeds 
  • Oat bars 
Try staying in bed for the first 15 minutes after waking (twist your arm, right!?!) and eating high-protein foods to quell that icky feeling.

Food to Fuel Your Day

Though it’s called “morning” sickness, nausea can be all day ordeal for some expectant mothers.

The best approach is to, again, consume protein-rich and nutrient-dense meals. Even if all you can stomach is a piece of toast with some nut butter spread on it.

If you’re partial to sandwiches or salads, add the following seeds to increase protein and nutrients:
  • Hemp seeds 
  • Pumpkin seeds 
  • Sesame seeds 
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds 

You may experience an aversion to vegetables during this time (which is totally normal). To compensate for this, up your fruit intake to get many of the same nutritional benefits.

Of note, protein-rich foods that can become contaminated with Listeria is of some concern during pregnancy — runny eggs, soft cheeses, deli meats, and raw fish. However, it’s important to put this into context and understand that the risk of contracting Listeria from these foods is incredibly low.

Is Caffeine Safe for Baby?

Caffeine consumption during pregnancy is a hot-button issue, and for good reason.

Overindulging in caffeine just before pregnancy and during the first trimester has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage, so it’s important to monitor your caffeine intake.

But if you love your Starbucks, you’ll be happy to know it’s perfectly safe for expectant mothers to consume up to 200 mg of caffeine daily.

For reference, one cup (or 250 ml / 8 oz.) of coffee contains roughly 100 mg of caffeine. For precise information, a quick Google search of your favourite coffee chain can tell you exactly how much caffeine is in their drinks.

Eating on the Go

Eating a well-balanced diet of nutritious food and staying hydrated are keys to a healthy pregnancy (as well as a healthy milk supply).

But what can you eat on busy days when those inevitable pregnancy cravings creep in? Aim for healthy.

Energy balls are one of the best snacks to curb cravings, as they’re loaded with nut butters, seeds, oats, and dates.

You can also add frozen foods like:
  • Soup 
  • Chili 
  • Egg muffins 
  • Egg cups 

Meatballs are a great option as well. Meat lovers can choose between beef, pork, or chicken, while vegans can substitute meats for lentils, quinoa, or beans. Pita and hummus dips are another excellent idea and allow you to add some veggies to the mix as well.

Sensible Eating for Maximum Happiness

Your appetite and cravings will likely be in flux for the entirety of your pregnancy. It’s perfectly acceptable to eat only what you can stomach during the first few nauseous months, and not shame yourself for ditching healthy food at every single meal.

While it can be difficult, try not to stress too much. Over time you’ll discover what works (and what doesn’t work) for you. You’ve got this!

For more tips and great recipes, check out The Food Doula Cookbook.

*This information was taken from the 40 Weeks to Forever - Season 2, Episode 1: Pregnancy + Nutrition 101
Guest: Lindsay Taylor