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Eating for Two

January 29, 2013

The basic premise behind the pregnancy diet is to avoid any foods that could be contaminated with bacteria or which could otherwise harm the baby’s development:

  • No alcohol
  • Limited amount of caffeine (no more than 300mg or 1 cup of coffee a day)
  • Only pasteurized dairy, juices, and honey
  • No raw meat, fish, or eggs
  • No processed meats such as deli meats or hot dogs
  • Limited amount of liver, to avoid overconsumption of vitamin A
  • No fish that could be high in mercury like shark, tuna (canned tuna is ok and so is salmon)

At a first glance, these rules seem fairly simple to follow. So you give up sushi (not a problem when you live in Texas). You store away your wine glasses and avoid breweries. But then the food cravings hit, and all you can think of is a hot dog from a street stand after a night out in Seattle or a chopped liver sandwich from a Jewish deli. The trickiest part is eating out when you can’t be certain of all the  ingredients or preparation methods. That’s when I turn to google and find out, for example, that Hollandaise sauce, Tiramisu, and Buttercream frosting are all off limits as they use raw eggs. Lox sandwiches are made of smoked salmon which falls under undercooked processed meat category – a no-no for now. So what can and should I eat to keep my baby healthy and strong?

  • Calcium (loads of it, especially in the second trimester as the bones are starting to develop). At least 4 servings of dairy, spinach, almonds, sardines.
  • Fruits and vegetables that are washed to remove pesticides.
  • Lean protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, red meat for iron)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, cereal). Grains contains folate which is essential for preventing neural tube defects.

Eggs, salmon (limit to 12 ounces per week), legumes, walnuts, brown rice are all considered pregnancy super-foods as they are rich in nutrients.

So here is what my typical day looks like:

On weekdays, I have the same breakfast every morning before I head to the gym: Kashi Go Lean cereal (my favorite cereal as it’s high in protein, fiber and fortified with vitamins and minerals), 1/2-1 cup of berries (anti-oxidant powerhouse), 1 cup of low fat milk (organic, of course, to avoid growth hormones). I finish off the meal with a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice and a prenatal vitamin. Breakfast takes care of two calcium servings right off the bat.

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On weekends, I usually make scrambled eggs and pancakes (Kodiak whole wheat mix has no added preservatives) or omelets with toast.

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After a morning workout, it’s time for a protein snack – hard boiled egg, cheese and some cucumber slices. Another 2/3 of a calcium serving.

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Lunch varies but the nutrient breakdown is always the same – whole grains (either bread or pita or wrap), lean protein (turkey breast, hummus, chicken), and a bunch of veggies. Since I can’t have deli, I roast my own turkey breast and slice it for sandwiches.

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Afternoon snack is another calcium fix of either yogurt or cottage cheese.

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One of my favorites these days is cottage cheese pancakes—something my mom and grandma used to make on a regular basis when I was little. The little pancakes are high in protein and calcium. I health-ify my recipe by using whole wheat flour and replacing some sugar with raisins (which are high in iron and fiber). The traditional Russian way is to serve the pancakes with sour cream. Plain yogurt makes for a good sour cream substitute.

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Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 16oz tub of low fat cottage cheese (I like Nancy’s organic as it has less liquid and small curds).
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • handful of raisins

Mix all ingredients with a spoon. Fry on a well-greased frying pan. The pancakes will be thick, so use very low heat and cover, flipping when golden brown on each side.

Dinners are similar to lunch composition – lean protein (like my homemade turkey meatloaf with kidney beans and sweet potato or sockeye salmon), veggies (either fresh salad or steamed) and sometimes I add whole grains ( like rice or pasta) if I am really hungry.

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I also eat loads of fruits (at least 5 servings) throughout the day. Fruit is plenty sweet and juicy.

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Surprisingly I have not been drawn to sweets. On contrary, when a craving strikes, I reach for a salty snack, like pistachios or some pretzels with cheese.

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They say pregnant women should only consume 300 extra calories, but I say it’s more important what you eat rather than how much you eat when pregnant. I don’t count calories, instead I try to fill up on nutritious items that are good for me and the baby. If I teach my baby to eat healthy from day –157, hopefully, we can avoid “eat your veggies” battles in the future.

[Jane Asks]: What are the most absurd food cravings you’ve had?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristin permalink
    January 29, 2013 6:42 pm

    Craziest with Max was saltine crackers, TJ’s white light cheddar with whole grain mustard. I also had an egg sandwich avocado addiction & I think I spent a great deal of Max’s college savings on the fruit & protein platter from the club.

  2. January 30, 2013 7:22 am

    That’s awesome! I think you’re doing a great job of making healthy, nutritious choices.
    Those cottage cheese pancakes… Slightly more interesting than scary. I only remember trying cottage cheese once in my teens and not really liking it. My grandfather used to buy snack packs with half cottage cheese and half fruit (to mix?). I didn’t get it. I kinda wanna try that recipe though.
    Oh! My friend from Belarus used to make pancakes for me. Very big and flat/thin, and she served them with sweet milk. So bad! Haha. Is that a Russian thing too?

    • January 31, 2013 5:14 am

      If you are not a fan of cottage cheese, you might not like the pancakes. My mom used to force feed me cottage cheese when I was little because it’s so good for you, and but once I got older I stopped eating it until a few years ago. It’s very good with fruit, like canned peaches or pears. I think the pancakes your friend used to make are crepes. They are very common in Europe, originated in France. I like them plain with a bit of sugar on top, or sour cream, or jam. They are good with Nutella, but than everything is good with Nutella 🙂

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