The health of a mother and baby is influenced not only by diet during pregnancy but also by diet before conception. Eating a healthy diet before pregnancy will give your body a good store of nutrients for the baby to draw upon during pregnancy. The fetus is most susceptible to nutritional imbalance during the first few months of pregnancy because this is the time of most rapid development.
So you want to eat well, stay healthy, and make decisions about food that are supportive of our planet; great news. Here are some meal plan guidelines to help you along the way.
General: Consume meals that include high quality fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Spend more time preparing your meals so you know exactly what you’re getting and you can cut down on disposable packaging.
Breakfasts: The most important meal of the day because it sets the tone for metabolic function. Start of the day with seasonal fruit and yogurt, maybe top it off with chopped organic nuts and seeds to slow down the burn of the sugars from the fruit. If you are experiencing nausea during the first and second trimesters, make sure that you boost your diet with high protein meals and snacks. You could try oatmeal and stir in flax seeds or hemp seeds, cinnamon, and your choice of a light sweetener (maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey).
For snacks: In between meals and on-the-go its important to have a mobile pantry. Some foods on hand for when you need a quick bite to eat. Buy healthy trail mix or try making your own trail mix at home, you can buy mixed nuts and seeds of your choice, add some dry fruit and store in portable reusable containers. Nut and seed butters are a great way to get protein, just carry an apple and spread some almond, cashew, or pumpkin seed butter on it and you’ve got a tasty treat. Not only are nuts and seeds high protein, but they are high in zinc. Zinc is also an important mineral that will help stave off morning sickness. Sliced veggies and bean spreads are also a great option.
Lunch: When you are busy, lunch time is a great time to have an all-in-one meal, for you can pack in a variety of nutrients and flavors. For instance, a wrap with beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, arugula, with a nice pesto or tapenade is a wonderful way to get a balanced all-in-one meal. Unless you have access to refrigeration, be cautious about packing animal protein for lunch.
Afternoon Snack: Its important to have a diet that contains adequate high quality fats during pregnancy. Use this snack as an opportunity to pack in some high quality fats, in a small portion. A serving of marinated olives is a great way to be sure you are getting some good fats and its boosts your “good cholesterol”. In the mood for something on the sweeter side, try an acai palmberry smoothie. Acai is full of antioxidants, Omega 3s and 6s, and protein. This is a wonderfully fatty fruit that won’t pack the pounds. You can make it at home or buy packaged and take with you.
Dinner: Use dinner time to eat lightly so you don’t feel full or have too much to digest before bed. If you eat too much and too late its likely that you will experience indigestion, constipation, gases, or other discomforts. Be kind to yourself. Have a nice seasonal soup, like butternut squash or a miso veggie soup, a salad of seasonal greens, mesclun, arugula, mizuna, etc. If you are in the mood for cooked greens have the dark upward reaching leafy greens like kale, mustards, swiss chards, collards. The darker the greens the better they are for you. Take advantage of the seasonal root veggies and have roasted sweet potatoes or beets. Decide on a protein of your choice, plant-based options might include tempeh, beans and quinoa. If you make enough food for dinner, store in containers to bring delicious leftovers to work the following day. This will save you tome time, energy, money, and its good for the environment too.