First and foremost, I must clarify, by “diet” I in no way mean actually dieting. I know the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy. I use the term loosely as simply what I ate during my pregnancy and how I maintained a healthy weight. Fortunately, I only gained around 20lbs in my pregnancy with Jude. I contribute half of that to genetics (my mom also did not gain much weight) but the other half includes; nutrition, diet and exercise.
I will split my “diet” into 3 categories: Vitamins, Food and Exercise
- A daily prenatal multivitamin: I probably went through around 5 different kinds until I settled on the one that worked for me. Some made my stomach ache, some I had to take 3 tablets at a time and others didn’t have all the things I was looking for. The one that I love and am still currently taking to this day is by Rainbow Light. Not only does it have all of the essential vitamins, it also has a prenatal blend of herbs and a digestive support blend. Best of all, it is reasonably priced. It is called Rainbow Light Prenatal One. I got mine at Whole Foods. You can find more info here.
- DHA: DHA are essential fatty acids that are good for eye, brain and heart health. Most of them come from fish, however the taste that would linger after I tried them made me sick! This may sound weird but the ones from fish would make me burp and I could taste fish! No way. I found some from a company called Spectrum that are “fish free” and didn’t taste bad at all. I also got them at Whole Foods and took one a day. You can also find them here.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are the good bacteria that your body needs in order to maintain a healthy digestive system. Taking these has honestly changed my life. Most pregnant woman suffer from constipation during pregnancy but I found that when I took probiotics, I never had any issues with going to the bathroom. Also, I noticed from having a healthy digestive system my skin was clear and I just overall felt better. Yes, they can be expensive but they are worth every penny. You can find some here. I take around 5 billion (one capsule) once a day.
Prior to becoming pregnant I was always a healthy eater. However, with each trimester my body went through different cycles. My biggest advice is to listen to your body. This is a lifestyle change, not just a “maintain your weight during pregnancy.” In order to maintain a healthy weight you must be consistent with your diet. Over the years I have become pretty in tune with what affects me in a physical way. I have found 3 culprits that make me gain weight, so knowing this prior to becoming pregnant I ate each of them in moderation.
- Sugar: For me sugar is the root of all evil. Every time I over indulge in sugar I break out, get moody and gain weight. It is like my body uses the sugar for fuel and stores the food calories as fat. So the minute I cut excess sugar out of my diet I immediately lost and also maintained my weight. It is also important to familiarize yourself with what food has sugar in it and what turns into sugar. I could spend all morning talking about sugar but that is a whole other blog post. So rule number 1: be careful with sugar! Sugar = fat.
- Bad Carbs: Carbs are a big part of my life and I couldn’t live without them but I’ve come to realize there are certain ones that will make me gain weight, fast! I am not gluten intolerant by any means but I have found that when I eat wheat in excess, I gain weight. So I try to limit it as much as I can. When I have the option I will try gluten free but if I am at a restaurant and they bring bread to the table, I will eat it (in moderation!) For my source of carbs I opt for things like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and other “gluten free” options. I am also cautious with how many carbs I eat in a day. If I eat a lot a breakfast, I’ll make sure for the rest of the day I try to stick to more protein, vegetables and healthy fats. I usually eat carbs with two meals a day and let one be purely protein, veggies and fats.
- Alcohol: Prior to becoming pregnant I loved my wine! I enjoyed a glass of wine a day and maybe more on the weekends. But alcohol does have sugar and yes, it will make you fat. Now this is a very touchy subject when it comes to pregnancy and I am going to be completely transparent here. I think most women are scared to admit it or even talk about it because of the social stigma associated with being called a “bad mother.” Yes, I did have an occasional glass of wine while I was pregnant. I never had more than one glass at a time and can honestly say, I thoroughly enjoyed it! This wasn’t something I did often, maybe once every other week but at the end of the day it was my decision and I don’t regret it at all. Like I said, moderation is everything.
Examples of breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Van’s gluten free waffles with organic maple syrup (more info here)
- Oatmeal with stevia, butter and almond milk
- A protein shake with blueberries, spinach, chia seeds and almond butter (Or any fruit/nut combo)
- Chicken breast with salad
- Any protein with veggies / brown rice on the side
- Whole wheat sandwich with fresh fruit on the side
- Crock pot dinners are our favorite. Especially when both of us are working. Any protein with veggies cooking all day is so savory and delicious. Just add some quinoa or brown rice on the side and yum! We also love adding these.
- Gluten free pasta with veggies and/or protein. My favorite gluten free pasta is Tinkyada.
- Grilled/sauteed protein (steak, chicken, fish) with brown rice/ quinoa and steamed veggies.
- Mozzarella cheese stick
- Granny smith apple with peanut/almond butter
- Popcorn (SkinnyPop is so good!)
- Greek yogurt (I get one’s with low sugar, less than 12 grams)
*There are days where I did splurge. Yes I went on “Dunkin Donut” runs, ate cookies or ice cream and vegged out but this was not something I did consistently. And when I did, I never let myself feel bad about it. I sent a lot of love to my belly full of Pizza and just continued to eat healthy the next meal. Don’t torture yourself! I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and when I look back now, I definitely did.
I didn’t drive myself crazy over exercise. Let’s face it, pregnancy can be exhausting! My primary source of exercise was prenatal yoga. Prior to becoming pregnant I was a hot yoga fanatic but 100+ degree heat did not agree with me and pregnancy. I went once a week to Yoga Fairy Prenatal Yoga. I can’t say enough good things about it. Elizabeth, the owner is the sweetest person and her classes are so fun! Attending Yoga Fairy also had a lot of other benefits. For example, before we did yoga each class, we would sit in a circle, go around and catch up with each other. We would talk about our week, what our bodies were going through or just tell funny stories of things that happened to us. Through those circle times, with other mommies to be, I learned so much about pregnancy and birth. Go Yoga Fairy!
On another note, I also walked a lot at work. Working in the hospital includes making rounds on patients and visiting different floors which in turn = a lot of walking. Definitely take time to walk each day. Even if it’s just a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner.
Well, that’s it!
Please remember, this is what worked for me! Every person and body type is different. I just wanted to share with you what I did (and still do) to maintain my healthy lifestyle. Feel free to ask any question’s that I may not have answered in the comment’s section!
Photo credit Breathe J Photography