Being pregnant is weird for a lot of reasons (your body changes, you feel like there’s a little alien moving inside you for most of the day and night, etc.), but one of the weirdest changes for me has been the modifications I’ve had to make to my diet while pregnant. First of all, I have never really been able to eat a lot at one time. While I’ve always loved to eat, I’m much more of a grazer than a 3 large meals kind of gal. Since becoming pregnant I still graze most of the day, but the amount of food I can put away in one sitting now is, frankly, pretty impressive. (Um, one night I made a giant pot of soup and ate four giant bowls of it. Like, large, cereal-size bowls.)
Also, when not pregnant my diet is usually veggie-heavy with not a lot of meat. In fact, I eat vegetarian probably 80% of the time, if not more. Not because I’m opposed to eating meat, but more just because the recipes I tend to make lean more on veggies and grains than on meat. (Not to mention that I like to buy quality, sustainable meat, which is not cheap; and I’m not exactly rolling in money over here.)
Most of the literature I’ve read about eating while pregnant recommends shooting for 72 grams of protein per day. For me, this is A LOT of protein. To break this down, 20 grams of protein is: 5 egg whites; one chicken breast; 2 servings of yogurt; about 2.5 cups 2% milk; or 3 eggs. So you basically need to shoot for 3.5 servings from that list every single day.
I, by no means, have a perfect diet when not pregnant, and I certainly don’t have one since getting knocked up. (Hi, I love sugar in all its forms.) However, I realized that I needed to focus more on getting the recommended amount of protein more than on cutting or tracking calories (since my weight gain has been on the normal-to-low side so far), so that’s where I’ve been focusing my energy most days.
The fact that I literally want to eat my weight in fruit (most notably citrus), is just kind of a fun and weird side-effect. (Um yeah, I’m eating 14+ oranges a week over here…)
So here’s a rundown of what I’ve been eating most days, in case you’re curious (I have to admit that I’m very nosy and love to know what people are eating and also what’s in their purse. But I guess that second one is a post for another day…)
Breakfast: cereal (usually Cheerios or high-fiber Trader Joe’s Oh’s) + banana + 2% milk
Snack: Grande decaf 2% mocha with one less pump of syrup
— the milk from breakfast + the coffee = about 20g protein
Lunch (Let’s use the term “lunch” loosely, because I basically just snack on this stuff all day long): peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat, probiotic yogurt smoothie, 1-2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 oranges
— peanut butter + yogurt + eggs = about 30g protein
Snack: hummus and pretzel thins or Think Thin Lean Protein bar
— about 10g protein for either choice
Dinner: this is where things vary the most, but I’ve switched up my cooking a little to make sure that I include protein in dinner (something I don’t always do when not pregnant), so usually we’ll have a big salad with chicken or turkey and/or beans added, a veggie-heavy soup, or something I can put together on the fly (which, last night was homemade BLT’s). I’ve got sausage sandwiches and maybe breakfast burritos planned for later this week.
— I usually shoot for about 20g protein in whatever I make for dinner
Dessert: lately it’s been my go-to organic dark chocolate bar with almonds, but last night it was half a pint of Haagen Dazs, soooo… y’know.
— 2-10g protein depending on what I eat (and how much…)
PS: I’ve yet to do my glucose test, so all of the above is obviously non-gestational-diabetes related. (And, sadly, if things don’t go as planned in the test, I think my 14-orange habit will need to go away. Fingers crossed it all comes out normal!)