Mom Talk: Healthy Pregnancy Lunch Routine
By Erin Rinehart, Avera Marketing Coordinator
As a first-time expecting mother, I’m very cautious, especially when it comes to what I eat. Don’t get me wrong, I indulge in those typical pregnancy cravings, but it’s all about balance. I am committed to eating healthy lunches so when those late-night ice cream cravings hit, I don’t feel so bad. My baby’s receiving ample vitamins and minerals from my meal choices earlier in the day.
When it comes to healthy meals, I make it a priority to plan ahead. Meal prepping is the key to being successful. Not that many expecting moms want to get up and cook a chicken breast before the 8 a.m. work grind – and I’m certainly in that camp – hence my planning.
I have found a lot of success by preparing my grocery list and shopping on late Sunday mornings, followed by meal prep those afternoons. A typical grocery list for my lunch needs will include protein, fruits, vegetables and fats. My favorite protein is chicken, so most of the time I’ll buy bulk frozen chicken breasts, a variety of bananas, strawberries and apples, some carrots, broccoli or celery for my vegetables and then add humus, peanut butter or ranch for dipping as my fat. My prep work consists of washing and cutting the fruits and vegetables and cooking the chicken.
Portioning my lunches is also a conscious decision I make when prepping meals. After cooking, I check to see the chicken breast I packaged is roughly the size of my palm. The raw fruits and vegetables are portioned into half- or 1-cup servings and the fats are properly portioned into these convenient 2-ounce containers I have. So when meal time strikes during my work day, I simply walk to the break room, heat up my protein and I’m set: I enjoy lunch knowing my meal is properly portioned.
I’ve also committed to eating healthy snacks throughout the day, and I can prep those snacks right along with my lunches on Sundays. I typically have mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks of almonds, a protein bar or additional fruits and vegetables.
Another way I stay committed to having a healthy pregnancy is by drinking a lot of water, especially between meals. I’ve never had a problem fulfilling the daily water recommendations, so being pregnant and having to drink a little more hasn’t been an issue. Knowing that giving up a few hours every Sunday will help me keep myself and my baby healthy is worthwhile. It’s really rewarding knowing I’m giving my baby the proper nutrition he needs to grow big and strong!
Here's what I have learned over the last few months:
- Plan ahead by getting your grocery shopping done before the work week starts.
- Prep and portion properly every time – consistency counts!
- Eat a variety of proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
- Pack healthy snack options to have between meals.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep you and baby hydrated.
To learn more, view the top 10 hints for great nutrition during pregnancy from Avera Dietitians.