Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Just because you are taking a boat load of vitamins does not mean you can eat like crap. Prenatal vitamins are to be taken in ADDITION to eating healthy foods during pregnancy. Fresh foods are best. I stayed away from highly processed foods; they weighed me down throughout the day and I was tired enough as it was in the first and last month of pregnancy. I was instructed by my OB to increase my caloric intake by 300 calories a day. Now, don't take that as a free ticket to gobble up 2 snickers bars or eat that extra piece of cake. Those extra 300 calories are to nourish your body and your growing baby's body! If you breastfeed you get to increase your daily caloric intake by 500, because you burn a lot of calories breastfeeding. I would say it's ok to eat a piece of cake then...once in a while. But anyway....Listen to your body and what it wants to eat. Sometimes a certain craving you might have could be your body telling you that you are lacking a vitamin or mineral and the food you are craving has that. Below are some power foods to eat during pregnancy:


Monounsaturated fats: Avocados, nuts, olive oil and almond butter are good examples of good fats

Polyunsaturated fats: Some cold-water fish, flax seeds, canola oil. If you are questioning how much fat you should eat each day during pregnancy, then check out this article. It lists various foods that contain good fats and how much you can eat.


Beans: black beans, garbanzos, soy, kidney and northern beans are a great source of protein and fiber. Throw some on a salad, make some soup or even bake garbanzos! Toss them in olive oil and kosher salt and spread them out on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 350. You will have a crunchy, protein-fiber packed treat!

Chicken, Pork, Beef: I didn't eat a lot of meat when I was pregnant. I'm not really a big meat eater, but when I did I made sure that it was cooked to temperature...and then some!

Eggs: I ate a lot of eggs too when I was pregnant. Boiled, scrammbled and fried. If you like eggs, try hard boiling them and throwing some on a salad. Eggs are loaded with protein and good fats. If you prefer to eat them fried, make sure they are cooked all the way through to avoid any bacteria.

Fish: Salmon is the only fish I would eat during pregnancy. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids (or DHA) to help with eye and brain development for your baby. If I ate 2 servings of fish a week I didn't have to take the DHA vitamin. You can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish a week during pregnancy.


Whole grain and whole wheat bread and cereal: I ate a lot of cereal when I was pregnant. Whole grains have folic acid, iron and fiber that is much needed throughout pregnancy. Stay away from white bread and other highly processed carbohydrates. Those types of carbs are harder for the body to breakdown.


Fruit: Blackberries, bananas, mandarins and raisins. These all have much needed vitamins and minerals that you are your baby need, such as potassium, vitamin C and fiber.

Refined Sugars: Don't go overboard with the sweets. You want to maintain your blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Remember, everything you eat during pregnancy, your baby eats.


Yuck. During my first 3 months of pregnancy I could not eat any type of vegetable without gagging. This was terrible, because I love big leafy greens and veggies from the cabbage family. It wasn't until month 4 that I was able to eat them again.

Spinach and Kale are both loaded with vitamin A, D and calcium. Kale has just recently been named a power food so eat up! Toss some purple, or other types of kale with olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder and spread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven at 350 for 12 minutes and you have crunchy kale chips!

I recently invented a new snack! Carrot crispies! It can be made sweet and savory or just sweet and sweet. To make the sweet and savory kind, peel 2 entire good sized carrots all the way down to the core onto a baking sheet. Then, toss with olive oil and kosher salt. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Let cool 5 minutes to crunch up. 

For the sweet and sweet, toss with olive oil and brown sugar onto a non-stick or greased up baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Let stand 5 minutes for the carrot shreds to caramelize, then enjoy!  Check out the recipes section for more!

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

We all hear stories from our older generation of women, "I ate whatever I wanted when I was pregnant and all my kids turned out just fine!", and we just smile and nod.  Times have changed and science is always evolving; therefore certain foods are NOT ok to eat during pregnancy for those exact reasons. So, why is everyone making a big stink about not being able to eat lunch meat and sushi?  Because when you are pregnant, your immune system is down from where it is when you are not pregnant.  Your immunity lowers the moment that fertilized egg burrows itself into the uterus lining.  Therefore, you are at greater risk for foodborne illnesses or bacterial food poisoning than you would be if you weren't pregnant.  It is now your full time job to protect you and your baby and it starts with food. I followed all the rules during pregnancy, instructed by my OB.  If there was anything that I could do right in my life, it was growing a perfectly healthy baby boy while managing my health.  And to do that, I had to start from the very beginning with what kinds of foods I put in my mouth.  Below are some food guidelines to help clear up what you should avoid during pregnancy.
Raw Meat and Uncooked Seafood:  Rare or undercooked beef, chicken and eggs could be contaminated with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.  These types of bacteria cause food poisoning.  Uncooked seafood should be avoided at all costs, because of the chance of those bacterias being on them.  Uncooked seafood includes sushi, raw clams, raw oysters and lox.  It's ok to eat smoked seafood as long as it's cooked with another food item, in let's say...a casserole or another type of hot dish.  So, cook your meat and seafood to temperature!

Lunch Meat: Let's face it...lunch meat sits all the time. Lunch meat is just waiting to obtain a foodborne illness just sitting in the deli case at the grocery store.  The more I think about it, the more I am ok with not ever eating salami and ham every again.  Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found on lunch meat that contains 10 types of species. That's gross.  Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to become infected with listeria than non-pregnant women.  Miscarriage, premature delivery and infection to the newborn.  22% of cases of prenatal listerosis results in stillbirth. (American Pregnancy Association, 2013).  If you absolutely cannot live without a ham and cheese, make sure you put the ham in the microwave until it is sizzling.  Heat kills the listeria bacteria.  Hot ham and cheese sounds better, anyway :)
Unpasteurized Dairy:  Any product that contains unpasteurized milk should be avoided during pregnancy.  Why?  You guessed it, bacteria and foodborne illness.  Some products that contain unpasteurized milk include: Feta cheese, brie, blue cheese and Mexican style cheese (queso blanco, queso fresco and panela).  The difference between unpasteurized and pasteurized is that pasteurized foods are cooked at a higher temperature that kills off bacteria.  If you eat out and are not sure if the cheese on your dish is unpasteurized or not, then ask your waiter.  Dear husband and I were at a Mexican restaurant and I got authentic tacos and forgot to tell the waiter no cheese.  Well, the damn things came with cheese on them.  Without being rude, I asked the waiter to bring me the package that the cheese came in so I could look at the ingredients instead of sending the dish back for them to just pick the cheese off.  Turns out, the cheese was pasteurized.  I found that a lot of restaurants, including Panera Bread, had pasteurized cheese.   Which was nice, because I basically lived off the Mediterranean Veggie sammaches at Panera.  But, I'm a freak and still got no feta on it.  Milk: I would only get the Ultra-Pasteurized milk throughout my pregnancy.  Regular pasteurized milk is completely fine to drink during pregnancy, but I just wanted to be extra careful.  If you are a big fan of fruit juice, take a gander on the back of the bottle to make sure that the juice is pasteurized.  If it is not, then you will need to avoid that juice during pregnancy.
Unwashed Fruits and Veggies: See above reasons...yup...bacteria.  You should also avoid any kind of raw sprout (alfalfa, clover, mung beans and radish). Sprouts are dirty to begin with.  If you eat them, make sure they are cleaned well and then cooked!
Caffeine: Excess amounts of caffeine should be avoided.  I was told by my OB that 1-2 cups of a caffeinated beverage a day during pregnancy was ok.  To make it easier, there are 8oz in a cup and 12oz in a can of pop.  So, I would have a can of pop and a half a cup of coffee and that was my caffeine intake.  Avoid caffeine altogether during the first trimester.  If you make it through the first trimester without caffeine, then you can make it the rest of the way!
Alcohol: No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.  If you are drinking alcohol during pregnancy...check out this link and then venture on over to this one.
Herbal Tea and Artificial Sugars: There is little data that herbal teas and artificial sweeteners have effects on the fetus, but just to be sure, don't drink them unless your OB says it's ok.  This table below lists the different artificial sugars, sugar alcohols and novel sweeteners that should be avoided during pregnancy.  The last column is a list of sugars that are good to eat, in moderation, during pregnancy:
Artificial sweetenersSugar alcoholsNovel sweetenersNatural sweeteners
Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One) Erythritol Stevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia) Agave nectar
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate Tagatose (Naturlose) Date sugar
Neotame Isomalt Trehalose Fruit juice concentrate
Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low) Lactitol Honey
Sucralose (Splenda) Maltitol Maple syrup
Mannitol Molasses


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