Let me start by saying this: I like to consider myself a pretty tough chick! I work hard, workout harder, and pride myself on being a Type-A New Yorker, always on the go. As @NYCfitfam, my life is about staying active, taking on physical challenges, and taking care of my family… so it’s hard to slow me down!
That said… the first trimester of pregnancy took me down HARD... both times!! People told me my second pregnancy may be “completely different than my first.” Nope… for me, they were very similar. Both times, my first trimester made me feel like I had a full-blown flu… for THREE STRAIGHT MONTHS.
To break it down further, here are three reasons why the first trimester is the the pits:
1. “Morning sickness”
This should really be called all-day sickness. All I could stomach were carbs. I craved pasta with butter, toast with butter…. basically anything you could put butter on. Needless to say, for a fitness influencer, this posed a problem.
2. No working out.
Between doctor’s orders to “cool it” and the morning sickness, I was relegated to the couch.
3. The mind games.
You don’t “look” pregnant yet, but you are gaining weight and it starts to mess with your head… especially since you can’t tell the world at large yet (it’s recommended women wait until the 12 week mark).
In my mom’s era, women used to carry around a box of saltines during their first trimester… yuck! That’s not exactly appealing to me, and as we know, not all carbs are created equal. It was super important to me to “nourish for two,” consuming things like plant-based solutions and 100% organic whole grains that break down slower, keep me feeling full longer, and provide plenty of fiber.
Here are my top three simple swap-outs that saved me during my pregnancy:
1. Swap traditional pasta for veggie “noodles”
You guys, this one is actually so simple it’s ridiculous. Once I discovered Mann’s Fresh Veggies rices and “noodles” I couldn’t figure out why I ever ate real pasta in the first place.
This is SUCH A SIMPLE SWAP and it quelled my pasta cravings in an instant. The Sweet Potato Fettuccine from Mann’s tastes just like the real thing, and it’s all-natural, preservative free and gluten free. It comes in a steam bag for quick prep and can be easily integrated into stir-frys, soups, and casseroles.
Here’s one of my favorite recipes:
- 1 pound ground turkey, lean
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 clove elephant garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon pink salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
- 1 small box crushed tomatoes
- 2 tblsp EVOO
- 1 tblsp shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 bag of Mann’s Sweet Potato Fettuccine
- In large pan add 1 tblsp evoo cook turkey until it's white
- Turn off and let stand
- In a saucepan, add 1 tblsp of EVOO and the rest of the ingredients except Fettuccine
- Simmer for 15 min and add turkey. Mix well so all is covered by sauce cover and turn off
- Microwave fettuccine in bag according to instructions
- Take one helping of fettuccine and cover with a scoop of turkey mixture, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy.
Tip #2: Sneak in protein where you can
George (bless him!) worked tirelessly in the kitchen to try and design meals that satiated my palette, curbed my nausea, and remained aligned with my nutritional ideals.
When I hit my first bout of morning sickness, I could hardly function, and the LAST thing I wanted were my traditional protein sources (lean meats). Pretty much all I could stomach were pancakes… so George created a simple & delicious pancake recipe using whole wheat flour and protein powder, and I’d top it with cottage cheese for a little added protein boost.
This allowed me to feel good about the choice I made, and I didn’t spike my blood sugar level too much first thing in the morning.
Tip #3: Enjoy frequent snacks, but make your carbs are COMPLEX (like your emotions right now, you hormonal babe, you!!)
Like most moms-to-be in today’s world, I worked through both of my pregnancies and remain very much on-the-go, so I also needed to figure out snacks that aligned with my nutritional values and also fit in my purse.
When I walked into a convenience store one day and saw a display full of Bobo’s bars, I knew I found my saving grace. I craved “real food” and Bobo’s delivers on that, with wholesome ingredients and a fresh-baked taste.
The Chocolate Chip and Lemon Poppyseed flavors became by go-to, as did the autumnal seasonal flavors since my first trimester this time around was during the fall.... and yes, I was even nice enough to share with Mason (I’m a giver, what can I say).
Overall, my biggest tip is to do what you can to NOT FEEL LIKE CRAP. Yes... indulge and satisfy your cravings! But on the other hand, eating crappy food will only increase lethargy and make you feel bad about yourself. By making these simple swap-outs, you’ll also ensure your blood sugar levels remain consistent instead of bumping up and down.
I’m grateful to these swap-outs for getting me through my pregnancy (I’m in the home stretch now, just 5 weeks to go!) and grateful to my hubby for helping me work through it all. I’m lucky that my partner in crime is as much of a nutrition geek as I am!
Want more pregnancy-friendly recipes… stay tuned. We have a big announcement at the end of March for y’all. ;)