For most women pregnancy is expected to be a free pass.

Phrases like “I’m eating for two” or “baby wants ice cream” are often the norm.

However, dietary choices while pregnant can affect your child’s IQ and can influence if they become picky eaters.

Suddenly what you place in your mouth has a bit more importance.

Unfortunately, the far majority of prenatal nutrition advice told to women is outdated. We still fear fat, survive on saltines, and consume far too many carbohydrates. Although I always advocate listening to your body – pregnancy is a time to look at science on what to put on your plate.

What you eat while pregnant matters.

less processed food

It’s easy to snack your way through pregnancy. It’s easier yet to fill yourself up on convenient ready made foods because girl, I know you don’t have that much energy.

But it’s a slippery slope you might be sliding into.

Processed foods and refined carbohdyrates are a recipe for distaster in your pregnancy. The majority of women in the US are eating way to many carbhydrates while pregnant. This leads to unnesseary weight gain, post birth ________. When we consume sugar ________ happens to us. _______ happens to baby.

To avoid getting stuck in a snack cycle have a few meals planned you know you are going to eat every week.

Cold water fish + vegetable + salad + cheese + whole grain

Everyone has done it. No need to feel ashamed.

The smell of something cooking in the kitchen might make you neasues let alone sitting down to eat it.

However, it’s important to audit yourself.

eat nutrient dense foods

It’s daunting to think of changing your entire diet. Add the stress of growing a little human and it would overwhelm anyone.

I understand that sometimes you won’t be able to keep anything down and you actually might have to rely on saltines. However, on those moments you can feel like you can eat, nutrient dense foods will give you the best bang for you buck.

What are nutrient dense foods? Salmon, spinach, berries, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, and vegetables. Whole foods that pack a punch in the nutrient department. This should make up the majority of your daily diet.

Obviously that’s a detailed enough description of what you should actually eat – so I’ve broken it down by each macronutrient.

carbs, fat, and protein

There are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. All three are essential to the human diet and an imbalance of any of those three can lead a host of health issues.

Too many carbohydrates will quickly lead to weight gain, not enough fat in your diet means you will never feel full, and a lack of protein can lead to anemia in mothers during pregnancy.

It’s no surprise that every woman’s body is different resulting in individual nutrient requirements. The following information is mean to be a loose guideline to give you an idea of how to create your own pregnancy plan. Using this macronutrient plate structure will not only energize and nourish you, but your growing baby as well

dark leafy greens

spinach
kale
swiss chard
collard greens
arugula
mustard greens

I’m starting with one of the most nutrient dense foods that should make an appearance on your plate. Dark leafy greens have a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants. They are also a good source of folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, beta-carotene, B vitamins, fiber, and trace minerals. This is what we call a nutritional powerhouse.

Read my three tips on eating more greens in your diet. 

carbohydrates

vegetables
fruit
grains
legumes

Carbohydrates are essential for human growth and development – along with being a major source of energy for mom. The healthiest carbohydrates for a whole food pregnancy are vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes are all important carbohydrates. They deliver fiber, vitamins, and minerals in every bite.

Even when eating whole foods it’s easy to consume too many carbohydrates. In the United States pregnant women consume ______ amount of carbs. That doesn’t leave enough room for an adequate amount of protein and fat on our plates. When you look at my plate method below, you will see that carbohdyrates do not take up 60% of the plate because _______ science.

To learn more about carbohdyrates and which types you should be consuming in your diet click here to get my full carb breakdown.

fat

dairy products
nuts
seeds
eggs
oil
fatty fish
avocados
coconut

Ever had a salad and felt full after you ate it – only to feel a pang of hunger fifteen minutes later? It’s likely you didn’t have enough fat.

Without fat it’s hard to feel full. Even with protein we can lack the feeling of satiation without the presence of fat with a meal. Fat is also important for absorbing fat soluble vitamins in vegetables. Many nutrients and antioxidants found in vegetables are better absorbed by your body when eaten with fat.

Just like carbohydrates, there are several types of fats that can be consumed in our diets. A quick way to know which ones to eat and which fats to avoid comes down to a simple concept. Choose fats that naturally occur in foods and avoid trans fats whenever possible. Here is a list of my favorite fats to consume in your diet.

I know this goes against everything you’ve likely heard for your entire adult life. Instead of taking this article at face value read the research here in this post to have a deeper understanding of fats importance in our diet. If you want to know more about the types of fats and benefits for our body read this post.

I’ts time to get over your fat faux pa.

plant fat

olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconuts, cold pressed extra virgin oils derived from these foods

dairy fat

butter, ghee, heavy cream, half and half, sour cream, cream cheese, whole yogurt

animal fat

salmon, cod, chicken skins, beef, pork, duck fat from grass fed pasture raised animals

fats to avoid

Avoid trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils such as margarine. For high heat cooking choose avocado or coconut oils over oils high in omega-6 such as corn, soybean, peanut, canola, safflower, and cottonseed oil.

protein

fish
eggs
meat
poultry
legumes
quinoa

Protein is widely accepted as an essentail part of the human diet. Our protein requirements increase throughout pregnancy and are crucial to fetal development.

putting it all together on your plate

Ready for the formula?

Protein + Fat + Dark Leafy Greens + Non Starchy Vegetables

Plain and simple. Nutrient dense whole foods should be the feature of every plate.

Pick something from each of the following categories and make a meal. Let’s try it together.

putting it all together on your plate

Ready for the formula?

Protein + Fat + Dark Leafy Greens + Non Starchy Vegetables

Plain and simple. Nutrient dense whole foods should be the feature of every plate.

Pick something from each of the following categories and make a meal. Let’s try it together.

putting it all together on your plate

Ready for the formula?

Protein + Fat + Dark Leafy Greens + Non Starchy Vegetables

Plain and simple. Nutrient dense whole foods should be the feature of every plate.

Pick something from each of the following categories and make a meal. Let’s try it together.

Protein

Salmon
Egg
Chicken
Beef
Cod

Fat

Nuts
Seeds
Avocado
Full Fat Yogurt
Cheese
Butter
Oil

Carbohdyrates

Non-starchy vegetables
Berries
Legumes
Whole Grains

Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach
Kale

Building a meal can be broken down into a few basic components. The most important being protein, fats, and greens. If you start your meal with the base being whole foods you’re already off to a good start. I find this plate guide easy to pull together any meal. Pick the protein, add some non-starchy vegetables, top it with some fat and you’re on your way to feeling full.

Let’s do an example.

Pick a protein: salmon

Dark leafy greens: spinach

Carbohydrates: brown rice, asparagus

Fat: oil, feta cheese, walnuts

Let’s pick apart some meals together to identify each of the necessary components.

Watch a video that shows building five meals with this concept