5 Healthy and Hearty Meals for Pregnancy
I’m in my 16th week of pregnancy, and let me tell you, it can be tough to find meals that are healthy and hearty enough to sustain my appetite. I’ve found a few different meals that can be eaten as a breakfast, lunch, or dinner to keep you fuller for longer, healthy, and energized (as much as possible given all the lovely pregnancy symptoms).
Here are my top 5 highly nutritious, hearty meals to eat while pregnant:
1. Oatmeal & Eggs / Egg Whites with side of fruit
½ cup oatmeal
1 egg + ½ cup egg white substitute
Side of fruit (I tend to use blackberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries for the antioxidants)
Heat in a saucepan or microwave ½ cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of water (can also substitute almond or oat milk)
Scramble 1 egg + ½ cup of egg white substitute (with a pinch of olive oil) in a pan
Top oatmeal with berries
Eggs contain choline, which is responsible for many body processes, including brain development and health.
Berries are also packed with water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. The vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and aids in skin health and immune function. Berries contain relatively few calories and have a relatively low glycemic index value so they should not cause major spikes in blood sugar.
2. Grilled chicken and Avocado Wrap with Kale or Spinach
½ cup of grilled chicken
Handful of kale or spinach
1 wrap or 2 slices whole grain bread (I love La Tortilla low carb tortillas)
1 Tbsp mustard or honey dijon
Combine grilled chicken, avocado, and a handful of kale or spinach into a wrap and top with mustard or honey dijon
Chicken is an excellent lean source of high-quality protein and avocados contain a lot of monounsaturated fatty acids which help to build the skin, brain and tissues of the fetus. Avocados also contain more potassium than bananas, which can help relieve leg cramps.
Dark leafy greens (such as kale or spinach) contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. The fiber content can also aid in preventing constipation (which is very common during pregnancy). Dark greens are also rich in antioxidants and contain plant compounds which benefit the immune system and digestion. They have also been linked to a reduced risk of low birth rate.
3. Baked cod and Sweet Potato with side of Sautéed Spinach
6-8 oz cod filet
1 yam (sweet potato)
5 oz spinach
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp minced garlic
Bake cod in oven at 400° for 12-15 minutes
Set toaster oven to 400°, poke holes in sweet potato with a knife, and bake for 45-50 minutes (can also cook in microwave for about 5 minutes, wrapped in tinfoil, to save time)
Drizzle olive oil and ¼ tsp of minced garlic in a pan and add in spinach (add any other seasonings such as oregano, salt, and/or pepper). Toss around until spinach is wilted.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in your body (which is important for healthy fetal development). They also contain fiber, which may increase fullness, reduce blood sugar spikes, and improve digestive health and mobility.
4. Whole grain pasta or quinoa and beef meatballs