Although I’m a little obsessed with meal planning, pregnancy has thrown me for a loop. I’ve written down what to eat, but so many days I just don’t feel like it. That leads me to wander into the kitchen everyday around nap time (because I like to eat my lunch in peace while doing a little work) and think, “What can I eat today?”
Since tomorrow’s grocery shopping day, it was pretty slim pickings today. I ended up getting a slice of sourdough bread with butter, and a glass of raw milk with chocolate in it (yes…I said raw). Hey…at least it wasn’t junk food, right?
Which, let’s face it…sometimes, when you’re pregnant, junk food is all you crave. It’s easy, it’s familiar, it’s even kind of comforting, in a strange way. When you feel sick, don’t you crave a can of soup, or a bag of pretzels or box of crackers? I know I do.
The problem is, a steady diet of these processed foods isn’t really good for us. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional splurge, but we shouldn’t be eating them everyday. It’s especially crucial while pregnant.
Nutrition in general is one of my passions, and pregnancy nutrition especially so (remember I said I’m into real/traditional foods?). What we eat during pregnancy has a huge effect on our baby’s future health. More than we even realize right now, I think. The exact nature of the effect on baby’s health is something I’ll discuss another day. For now…food.
I’ve found many popular pregnancy books to be quite confusing on the subject. They name various food groups, including separating fruits and vegetables by color. That means you’re really counting like 8 to 10 different groups! And some overlap, plus you’re supposed to count protein, and overall calories and….
It’s just too complicated.
Never mind that you’re also supposed to eat quite a lot of each of these. Three to four glasses of milk? Three servings of yellow vegetables and five of green? Six servings of whole grains? If you really ate all that, you would be eating all.day.long. Of course, in the first trimester you might be so nauseous that you can’t eat much of anything anyway.
I say, toss it all out.
Yes, I’m serious. Pregnancy nutrition does not need to be that complicated. You have five million things on the brain anyway, just trying to get ready for the baby (I have to pick a doctor…or a midwife? Where will I have the baby? Who should come? Should I take a birthing class? What kind? Where? Is the baby a boy or a girl? What if the baby doesn’t like me? What if it never sleeps? What if I’m a terrible mother and I screw him/her up for life…?!) Yeah, so, food shouldn’t be that complicated!
My approach is a little bit simpler. It’s based on the general guidelines set out by the Weston A. Price Foundation, which is a group that promotes traditional foods, like raw milk (there it is again!!), whole eggs, butter, pastured red meat, traditionally prepared grains (I’ve got a sourdough starter going now!), organic produce, fermented foods, and so on. Even their outline was a little much for me.
(Those of you who are now saying…”You must be gaining a ton of weight and shooting your cholesterol through the roof with all those fatty foods!”…rest assured. That is not the case. I’ll address that later, too. But for now, my husband’s cholesterol has stayed the same — quite low — after almost 2 years of eating this way, and he LOST 60 lbs. This is not uncommon.)
So you have two rules: 1) Don’t eat junk food (just don’t!!). 2) Eat super foods.
That’s it. You get to pick which super foods you want, and you can stick to the same three if that’s all you can stomach (which, believe me, was the case for me in the first trimester…). They’re super foods because they have a wide range of vitamins and minerals in them, so even if your diet is limited due to nausea, you’re still getting excellent nutrition.
Here’s a brief list of super foods:
- Whole milk (preferably raw)
- Pastured meats
- Leafy greens
There are a lot more. I actually wrote a book on it, Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods. There’s a full list of 20 or so super foods there, along with recipes, and sneaky ways to eat the ones you don’t like so much.
See, but, these are all basic, healthy foods. If you stick with these, it just doesn’t matter how you prepare them, or if you don’t eat much, or if you only can eat a couple foods for awhile. It doesn’t. You’ll still know that everything you’re consuming is excellent, and you’re still giving your baby excellent nutrition.
(And by the way…at this time, I only eat traditionally prepared sourdough, about a slice a day. I don’t eat any other grains, and for awhile I was even grain-free! Yes, while pregnant….)
What do you eat while pregnant? Do you struggle with pregnancy nutrition?
Top image by ayes