So we have talked about eating smaller meals, eating when you are hungry, stopping when you’re full, and staying away from distractions. These are all great tips to help us pregnant women this time of year when we can’t diet but we are looking for healthier ways to eat. Today, we are going to look at what our lifestyles have to do with having a healthy pregnancy. Let’s look at some of the extra things we can do to help us eat better and feel fuller longer.
Drink up, baby!
Yes, I wish I meant wine, too. But I actually mean water….. One of the first things I’m going to recommend is making sure you are getting enough throughout the day. Drink lots, that’s what I’m gonna say. When you think you have been drinking a lot, drink some more. Take a water bottle with you everywhere. Fill it up whenever you can. Drink whenever you have a few moments to actually think about it. Or if you find that you forget about your water bottle, try drinking a glass of water every hour or so. Just chug it and you are hydrated for the next hour!
I have this amazing giant cup that I got when I was in the hospital with my first. It holds like 32oz! Woot! I have noticed that whenever I fill it up and have it next to me all day, I tend to sip on it throughout the day. It’s almost like it keeps my mouth busy. I even eat less when I tend to have it near me. I am trying to get into a routine of cleaning it every night so I can make sure it is filled with fresh water in the morning. When I get lots of water, I tend to have more energy throoughout the day, eat less, and crave sugary foods less. Ummm, who needs a magic pill?
Eat more protein
Little did I know when I went to one of my last prenatal checkups that I needed more protein as a pregnant woman! If only that was what I was craving…. But I have been trying to get in more protein, and I’m realizing that the more protein I have throughout the day, the fuller I feel. I definitely notice that when I have scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon crumbles, I haven’t needed to eat for hours! Protein takes longer for the body to break down and digest. Plus it has so many more nutrients in it than your breakfast bagel.
I know that breakfast bagel is delish, but maybe every few days you can make an egg scramble, an omelet, or a protein breakfast bowl instead of filling up on carbs first thing. Hey, we’re pregnant, not perfect. Do as much as you can to eat well. I can’t say that I choose the right foods for myself every day, but I can say that I notice a big difference in my energy level and my mood when I choose sugars and breads before proteins, fruits, and veggies. If you aren’t very hungry in the mornings, try a small bowl of yoghurt with fruit or a cheese stick with a hard-boiled egg. There are tons of ideas out there for delicious protein breakfasts that will keep you and baby healthy. Try them out!
Get those zzz’s
I don’t know which trimester you are in, but I just entered into my third. Sleep is beginning to feel non-existent. I think God removes these memories from our brains when we want to have more children because it can be so hard to get 8 hrs! Especially if you have a toddler, you may be continuing to wake up in the middle of the night. Or if you are like me, you may suffer from the dreaded and disastrous restless leg syndrome. Every night it is a fight with the pillow! My legs have to move, shimmy, and shake before I get my pregger butt out of bed to stretch them out. So yes, it may be really difficult to get those 8 hours, but still, try to do it.
Make your room as comfortable as you can possibly get it. Drop that temperature, even if it freezes your hubby out. You are the one carrying his child, remember? Do what you need to get the rest you deserve! Leave your electronics in your main room, so when you finally decide you are going to try to settle down for the night, you can enter your peaceful room. Think about investing in some black out curtains, if you don’t already have some, to keep that dreaded daylight out of your early-morning eyeballs. Fill your room with light, relaxing scents like lavenders, vanillas, and jasmines. Tell your hubby to give you a nice massage with oils or lotions. Just make sure they know that your massage is for rest only…
If you can’t sleep at night, designate some naptime during the day. Yes, those dishes and laundry piles can wait an hour after your kiddo goes down for a nap. If you can’t nap, leave some time for peaceful reading, listening to music, or even taking a bath to get some rest for your body. All of this delicious sleep will keep those sugar cravings at bay. Ever look in freezer for food when you are tired? You notice that frozen pizza next to the beef you could pull out to make veggie spaghetti. Before you know it, that pizza is in the oven and you are trying to rest your eyes on the couch. We tend to choose foods that are better for us, even if they involve a little prep work, when we are well-rested. Do what you can to get what you need!
When you have had a really rough day, it can be super difficult not to come home and grab some chips, plop down in front of the TV, and go to town, am I right? I may text hubby while he is on his way home from work saying, “Rocky Road ice cream is really calling my name today. Could you pick some up?” Different levels of stress also create hormones and various neurons in our bodies which tell us we need sugar!
When dopamine levels are low from lack of energy and stress, our bodies crave sugary, creamy foods which can increase dopamine stores and make us feel better. But don’t forget that these times of ecstasy are often temporary and can create habits of eating sugary foods to help relieve our stress. Dopamine can be raised to normal levels through exercise, relaxation, and even deep breathing as well so don’t always give in to temptation. Sometimes, our bodies just need a healthier habit to get us through those rough times. Plus, we don’t have the icky guilt that is left behind from the 6 bowls of ice cream we ate.
The next time you have had a stressful day, try taking some deep breaths before you eat. See if you still want to eat that bowl of ice cream or if something healthier will suffice. Try doing some yoga to get rid of the tension built up in your body from the day. This will give your body more energy to spend with your family. Take a walk and get some fresh air with hubby. This will distract you and build those dopamine supplies to take away those sugar cravings!
Your best doesn’t have to be perfection
There are so many ways to keep our bodies healthy in pregnancy that don’t just revolve around the food we eat. It can be difficult to find the time and energy to eat well, but making sure we are getting enough water, protein, and rest can set us up for successful eating throughout the day without even trying. Try some of these methods today to get your head out of the chocolate pies and into healthier foods to help you and baby feel your best.
Please don’t forget that our goal is to eat as healthy as we can and take on habits that give us energy. Pregnancy is a time to enjoy life, not fret over how many calories we have eaten or how much junk food we have indulged in. The holidays are a tricky time to eat healthy, but the more we do, the better for our babies. Try your best and have a healthy pregnancy this holiday season! The perfect gift to your kiddo, right?