My Fit Pregnancy Nutrition + supplement Plan
Pregnancy is hard. There are so many changes–mental, physical, hormonal–that really take a toll on you. Don’t get me wrong–I am extremely grateful to be pregnant and it is absolutely a miracle. But it in’t exactly a walk in the park, either–especially when it comes to staying fit during pregnancy and nutrition!
As I write this, I am 15 ish weeks pregnant. While I haven’t been perfect, I have done my best to strive for a fit pregnancy and stay on top of my nutrition. Of course, this is my personal experience, so take what you want from it. My diet might not be what’s best for you, so always talk with your doctor about your specific nutrition needs. Nevertheless, I want to share what I eat in a day–including the not-so-healthy choices, too–to give you ideas of what you can do to give your body and your baby adequate nutrition.
The basis of my fit pregnancy nutrition plan
I haven’t changed a whole lot about my nutrition since becoming pregnant. My diet is mostly plant-based, and I follow the Plant Paradox Program (but I do allow myself a cheat meal here and there). I have eaten this way for a while, so I know it works for me and how it is providing me with optimal nutrition. My post about My Experience on the Plant Paradox Program goes into more detail about my nutrition.
Because I took the time to focus on my nutrition these past several years, it’s been fairly easy for me to eat healthy throughout my pregnancy, even with nausea and food aversions. I’ve done it for so long that it is just second nature to me. Plus, I feel my best eating this way and I know that my baby is getting the nutrition he or she needs (we find out the gender next week!).
That being said, all the things I have been eating during pregnancy (and even before) are primarily plant-based. You could, of course, add meat to any of the meals I suggest. And that’s just what these meals are–healthy suggestions, not a prescribed plan for how you should eat. This is just what’s worked for me!
How nutrition during pregnancy affects you and your baby’s health
That being said, I want to make a point to give grace to all my pregnant readers–we will all have nutrition fails here and there. Sometimes you just need that ice cream sundae–I get it!! But I also want to present the evidence that shows that our nutrition during pregnancy can have dramatic affects on our babies for years to come.
Studies show that women who eat poorly during pregnancy not only gain more than the recommended amount of weight, but also affect the health of their baby long term.
This particular study showed that a poor pregnancy diet (one high in processed fats, sugar and salt) resulted in a higher likelihood that the child would become obese and have elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This study followed the subjects (it was done on rats, in order to be deemed ethical) into adulthood and found that compared to those whose mothers ate a healthy diet during pregnancy, they were more likely to be overweight and have hormone imbalances. Poor maternal nutrition can also lead to metabolic deficiencies in children later on, as well as affect their ability to respond to stress, and may even have mental health implications.
On the other hand, this study on the importance of maternal diet during pregnancy showed that good maternal nutrition was associated with better cognitive development for the child. Furthermore, good nutrition means that the mom will gain an appropriate amount of weight and have a healthier pregnancy overall, including reduced risks for preeclampsia and pre-term labor, plus improved placental health, and sometimes an easier labor, delivery and recovery.
Plus, a healthy diet can also help reduce uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms like nausea, heartburn, constipation and fatigue. Although I’ve experienced these symptoms to a degree, I have overall felt generally good during pregnancy. I could just be lucky, but I believe that my fit pregnancy nutrition plan has definitely helped!
What I eat in a day
Before pregnancy, I practiced a type of intermittent fasting called Time Restricted Eating. I go into more detail about in my post about How TRE Changed My Health. But, I once I realized that I was pregnant, I knew that I needed to consume calories more regularly to promote healthy fetal development. Thus, I stopped practicing TRE and therefore I never went more than 12-14 hours without a meal (and those hours included sleep, and lots of it!) I also felt that I needed to eat first thing in the morning–if I didn’t, I would feel nauseous and lightheaded.
For breakfast, I often eat whatever sounds good to me, striving to make it a healthy choice, of course. Being pregnant, I find that smaller meals more frequently helped ease my nausea and keep my digestion going. During pregnancy, your digestion slows down to help your body absorb more nutrients from your food. So, eating smaller meals can help with feeling bloated and avoiding constipation (ugh). In every meal, especially breakfasts, I make sure to include a balance of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. Carbs are key for AM meals because they can help ease nausea. In addition, I always drink a large glass of water before each meal (in throughout the day). This is especially important during pregnancy to keep your body hydrated and your digestion regular. Some of my go-to breakfasts include:
- 2-3 Trader Joe’s gluten-free crispbreads with 1/2 mashed avocado (or more) + Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning and 1 TBS hemp seeds.
- A protein smoothie with whatever fruit I had on hand. Usually, this included berries and mango plus 1/2 an avocado and greens like spinach or kale. I use this hemp protein powder. I’ll be honest, it does not taste good, but because it is high protein+ fiber and the only ingredient is hemp seeds so its nutritional content is optimal. There are some great why protein options out there as well, but I do not consume dairy regularly. I sometimes add this paleo granola on top to make it a smoothie bowl.
- Breakfast quinoa with pecans, diced apples, cinnamon and maple syrup. I cook the quinoa in my Instant Pot and top it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Add-ons: In addition to these main meals, I also typically eat a peach or an apple, a spoonful (or 3) of almond butter, some mixed nuts, and of course, crackers, for those days when nothing else would curb my morning sickness. I sometimes have a small cup of coffee with unsweetened coconut milk and this monk fruit sweetener, too.
On the other hand, pregnancy smells and food aversions got the best of me, especially during weeks 8-13 of pregnancy. Some days, I’d eat breakfast/brunch out with my husband. Other days, I’d eat random things out of the fridge–whatever I could stomach. I did the best I could! And that’s important to remember–it’s easy to be hard on yourself for “failing” at pregnancy nutrition. But, usually the first trimester is the worst in terms of nausea and food + smell aversions, so there is hope! Eat what you can during these tough times and know that you still have 2/3 of your pregnancy left. Plus, it helped me to remember that God is in control and will give my baby what he or she needs to develop!
For lunch, I eat meals similar in substance and calories to breakfast, all depending on my hunger levels, of course. Even more in pregnancy, I try to listen to my body and eat when I am hungry. I want to ensure that I am fueling my body to do what it needs to do–plus, you know, grow a human!
While in the first trimester you don’t necessarily need extra calories, you do need to eat consistently to promote healthy fetal development. However, in the second and third trimesters, your body requires 100-300 extra calories. This will ensure that you gain an appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy. Weight gain varies from woman to woman, but is usually around 25-35 pounds. Of course, you should consult your doctor on how much weight you need to gain. Wondering where all the extra calories and pounds go? This graph helps give you an idea (because I ha no idea, ha).
When it comes to eating lunch, I work close to home, so I almost always go home for lunch. If I don’t have time to do that, I’ll stop by the Whole Foods close to work and grab something from the salad and hot food bars. Some of my go-to fit pregnancy lunches include:
- Lentil or chickpea pasta with whatever veggies I have on hand: mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, etc.
- Quinoa with whatever veggies I have on hand: tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, beans, avocado, etc.
- Soup (lentil, cauliflower–Dr. Gundry’s recipe is amazing!, Trader Joe’s Thai carrot and sweet potato) + this easy-to-make bread
- Tempeh and veggie fried rice + salad with any of these salad dressings
- Salad with diced apples, candied pecans, diced avocado cranberries, and pepitas with apple cider vinaigrette
I often eat a salad or piece of fruit with lunch, too, an sometimes a few snacks, depending on how hungry I feel. Since I teach fitness classes 4-5 days a week, I make sure to eat a meal higher in protein and calories (usually my largest meal) after I teach or exercise. Sometimes this is in the morning, and sometimes it’s the afternoon or evening. My schedule varies. Therefore, I bulk up my post-workout meals with extra snacks or just eat larger portions, no matter the particular meal or time of day. So, you can do the same, depending on when you exercise.
- These healthy cheeto-like puffs
- Plantain chips
- These tortilla chips + guacamole or salsa
- These vegan protein shakes (the keto ones are also delicious but gave me some digestive discomfort, tbh)
- Marcona (skinless) almonds, roasted pecans, or hazelnuts
- An apple + this almond butter or this almond butter
- these gf crackers + hummus
- Go Macro protein bars
- See my Instagram stories for more snack ideas!
Oftentimes, I eat the same thing for both lunch and dinner. I’m one of those people who could eat the same meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes even all week. Again, I tried to keep my dinners satisfying but not overly large because I didn’t want to feel excessively full before going to bed. And I didn’t want to be constipated the next day, ha. Here are some of the things I like to make for quick and filling dinners:
- Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi with pesto (I make my own, but you can use store-bought!) + toasted pine nuts
- Tacos with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, red onion, and sliced avocado on these tortillas.
- Quinoa salad with roasted asparagus and lemon vinaigrette
- A veggie burger with sliced avocado. I like these veggie burgers or these cauliflower and mushroom burgers.
- Pizza with sauteed mushrooms or other veggies on cauliflower crust.
A don’t eat out very often, but when I do I usually like to make it a cheat meal where I’ll eat real bread or pasta, chips and salsa + Mexican food, or Thai food. But, I try to limit cheat meals to one or two meals per week.
I try to keep my sugar intake to a minimum in general. In pregnancy, I have been fortunate to not have any crazy sugar cravings. Plus, having learned about the detrimental effects sugar (not just in desserts, either) can have on a developing fetus and even after the baby is born, I am determined to keep my sugar intake low. However, I do not deprive myself and allow for a sweet treat once or twice a week. I am human, after all! Oftentimes I like to save up for a bigger indulgence on the weekends, like a piece of pie from my favorite bakery. But, sometimes I just want a little something sweet that won’t put me into a sugar coma. Here are some of the healthier sweet treats I have been enjoying:
- Healthy raw brownies (recipe on my Instagram!)
- A handful (or several) of enjoy life chocolate chips
- These muffins (the have other flavors, too!)
- These chocolate covered almonds
- Medjool dates stuffed with almond butter and dipped in chocolate + sprinkled with sea salt
Another critical piece of my fit pregnancy nutrition plan is supplements. Since I am mostly plant-based, some of these are specific to my dietary needs to compensate for the nutrients that I do not get from food. I did a lot of research and spoke with my doctor, both of which I high recommend. Every women’s supplement needs will be different. However, every woman needs supplements throughout pregnancy to foster healthy fetal development and also to avoid postnatal depletion. All of these have clean ingredients and are plant-based.
Moreover, I highly recommend researching the ingredients in the supplements you take. At worst, they may contain harmful chemicals and dyes. Moreover, they may not even contain the right combination of nutrients to be properly absorbed. Even the prenatal vitamin samples my doctor’s office gave me contained blue dye, sucralose, and soy (Yikes!!). All the more reason you need to do your own research. Here are the supplements I take daily:
- Ritual essential prenatal vitamin (2 capsules daily at bedtime)
- Raw calcium + D3, K2 and magnesium (4 capsules daily with breakfast or lunch)
- Vegan Omega 3 EPA +DHA supplement (1 capsule daily with breakfast or lunch)
- Vitamin B12 spray (1 spray daily with breakfast or lunch)
If you made it this far (I could write for ages about this), that’s the basis of my fit pregnancy nutrition plan! I hope this gives you some encouragement/serves as a practical tool to help you navigate pregnancy nutrition. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection, so do the best you can.
Have more questions about my fit pregnancy nutrition? Let me know in the comments!