I had a bit of a gestational diabetes scare this week which turned out to be fine (thank goodness!) but really motivated me to take a closer look at my diet. I have always been proud to declare myself a healthy eater – eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and home cooked meals. After taking a closer look this week, I was shocked to realize how much sugar I consume (natural and otherwise) and how out of whack my portion sizing it.
I had a lot of people saying things like:
“You have to eat for two now”
“Eat as much dessert as you want you have an excuse now”
“Now is when you can eat whatever you want”
and so on…
The reality is that is totally not true! When you are pregnant you don’t all of a sudden need double the calories each day. During your first trimester you actually do not need any additional calories but want to focus on eating healthy nutritional food that supports little baby’s development. The second trimester’s calories only gets bumped up by 300-350 calories per day which is not as much as it seems. Finally in the third trimester you only need an extra 500 per day (only 150-200 more than the second trimester).
(for more info check out http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/calories-diet/)
Prior to getting pregnant I was a much healthier eater – no dairy or red meats and rarely wheat. I was really mindful about restaurant food and how many fruits and veggies I ate each day. I was also running nearly everyday which always keeps me motivated me to make healthier food choices. Once I became pregnant I threw a lot of that out the window! I wasn’t running anymore and didn’t feel the same motivation to eat clean and keep the desserts to a minimum. It definitely didn’t help that I was super exhausted and just wanted to eat fast and easy meals.
A couple weeks back I went to an amazing presentation by Melissa Greenwood who is a local Holistic Nutritionist (check out her beautiful site: Wildwoods Nutrition). She is a plant-based vegan and talked about the benefits of eating plant-based meals and nutrient dense foods. There were snacks she made of oil free hummus and cashew cheese spreads and chocolate truffles for the sweet tooth (vegan, gluten free, and oil free). She also provided the attendees with a beautiful Plant-Based Food Pyramid to use as a guideline and inspiration in our own kitchens.
It is now happily hanging in my kitchen so I can be inspired everyday!
If you are not sure where to start, she has some deliciously healthy recipes on her blog as well as book and documentary recommendations! I made her Rustic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and they were super easy and a crowd pleaser!
While I am not quite ready to take the plunge to a purely plant-based vegan diet, I left the event with a renewed excitement about food and motivated to start eating more consciously again. Although I imagine I will continue eating meat (primarily chicken and fish) throughout the remainder of this pregnancy, I am taking the time on Sunday evenings to plan out meals/groceries for the week with a focus on making sure we are eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables as well as protein from various sources.
A couple of my favourite cookbooks I use for meal planning are:
I am now 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant and starting to feel the effects of my food choices. While I have only put on 21lbs to date I did put on about 10 in the few months before getting pregnant. Carrying around an extra 30 odd pounds is not going unnoticed. I have already made the switch to being more conscientious of my food choices and portion sizes – more veggies for sure! – I want to make sure I maintain a healthy weight gain through the last trimester. Healthy baby, healthy mom 🙂