Healthy Eating While Pregnant

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was beyond busy. I was working two jobs: one that kept me on my feet for 8 hours at a time, the other that kept me working out the entire time. I lived 20 minutes from one job, 30 minutes from the other, and was renovating a house nestled in the mountains between my two places of work. I was overworked, underpaid, and exhausted. I ate out a LOT. When I was eating at home, I was so tired that I turned to quick meals: frozen dishes filled with sodium. This led to me gaining unhealthy baby weight, what I call "pounds without a purpose."

I'm 23 weeks pregnant with Baby Girl #2 and started to notice that I was heading down a similar path of weight gain, but I wasn't eating out, so I took a look at what I was putting in my body here at home. I noticed some basic things:

  1. I was turning to "healthy" options that aren't all that healthy when consumed in large amounts (cottage cheese, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, etc).
  2. I was turning a blind eye to "indulgences," using the excuse that I was pregnant to justify them (Ben & Jerry's mini cups, pizza rolls for a "fun lunch," etc.)
  3. I was letting my exhaustion from being a stay-at-home Mom keep me on the couch instead of being active.
I take full responsibility for my choices and am determined to shift the course. I want to be clear: gaining weight during pregnancy is a necessity. How I do it, however, is entirely up to me. I've started shifting my diet and am shocked at the differences I see in my daily life. Is it easy? No, especially when I'm trying to incorporate kid-friendliness into the mix (I try to feed T the same food I eat because I'm not a short-order cook). Here's a week in the life, though, to share how I'm making shift toward healthier options while still recognizing that my body needs more than I usually eat:

Day 1:
Breakfast: organic granola with organic vanilla yogurt
Snack: nectarine
Lunch: tomato, avocado, and mozzarella on bread
Snack: apple w/ peanut butter (split 50/50 w/ T)
Dinner: homemade chicken & rice soup (chicken breast, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, low sodium chicken stock, rice, salt & pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper)
Dessert: yogurt w/ frozen berries
Workout: Chisel Workout from Clasique Pilates (be gentle with your core--modify to your knees for planks, etc. if need be)

Day 2: 
Breakfast: raisin bran w/ whole milk
Snack: plum
Lunch: leftover chicken & rice soup (save that money)
Snack: 'ants on a log' (celery stick 'boats' filled with peanut butter and raisins)
Dinner: taco salad (sautéed chicken+onion+garlic+bell pepper+corn+black beans on a bed of lettuce, plus salsa, homemade guac, and plain greek yogurt as sour cream)
Dessert: frozen strawberries
Workout: 30 min. light cardio (keep that heart rate at a safe level) followed by 3 sets of 25 each: regular squats, modified pushups, wide-leg squats, step-forward lunges, tricep dips on a chair (keep your core engaged!)

Day 3:
Breakfast: oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and almond butter
Snack: apple
Lunch: leftover taco salad (save that money)
Snack: nectarine 
Dinner: pan-roasted pork chops, oven-roasted brussels sprouts, brown rice
Dessert: frozen fruit medley (peaches, strawberries, pineapples, grapes)

Day 4: 
Breakfast: Berry Smoothie (These days I add raw kale and vanilla whey protein to this, while also substituting 12 oz apple juice for the almond milk)
Snack: I don't eat one on smoothie days because it fills me up so much--thanks oats!
Lunch: raw kale salad w/ tomatoes, avocados, carrots, bell peppers, and organic ranch dressing
Snack: plum
Dinner: homemade poke bowls (sushi rice, imitation crab (it's low mercury fish, so you're safe), avocado, carrots, edamame, sesame seeds, sriracha mayo)
Dessert: yogurt w/ frozen berries
Workout: Body Pump @ the Y

Day 5:
Breakfast: raisin bran w/ whole milk
Snack: apples w/ peanut butter
Lunch: veggie wrap (whole wheat tortilla, mayo, lettuce, carrots, avocado, tomato, salt n peppa)
Snack: single-serve cottage cheese
Dinner: giant fruit salad (apples, bananas, nectarines, plums, blueberries)
Dessert: more fruit salad
Workout: Long walk in the 'hood

Day 6: 
Breakfast: leftover fruit salad
Snack: freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joe's
Lunch: avocado toast w/ tomatoes
Snack: plum
Dinner: pan-roasted chicken, roast zucchini, whole wheat pasta (make enough for 2 nights, save 1/2)
Dessert: cherries
Workout: 30 min. on the elliptical, low-impact strength workout

Day 7:
Breakfast: whole wheat waffles w/ sliced apples and almond butter
Snack: carrots & celery
Lunch: raw veggie salad (whatever is in the fridge + black beans + lettuce)
Snack: nectarine
Dinner: Greek Pasta Salad  (a few caveats: make sure the feta is pasteurized, I like to add artichoke hearts and hearts of palm, and finally I don't make my own vinaigrette because I'm lazy--Trader Joe's makes a great organic version.)
Dessert: make yourself some brownies because GIRL YOU ARE MAKING A BABY AND TREATS ARE OKAY SOMETIMES. Just, you know, don't eat a whole tray.
Workout: 1-mile walk/run and booty/core work


In case you couldn't already tell: I don't follow a specific diet plan. There may be a meal that is in line with a diet plan like Paleo, Keto, etc, but I will never follow an exact regimen. That's by design. I strongly believe that the healthiest diet is one that involves moderation, not consistent denial. 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed medical professional. These suggestions are from personal experience and may not work for you or mirror your experience. Use your best judgment to decide what will work for you. You use any workouts suggested at your own risk. ALWAYS consult your doctor before you begin any new diet or exercise routine. Please remember that pregnancy is often not the best time to make a big life shift, especially in terms of fitness. Follow your doctor's orders first and foremost!


Lindsay Sweeting was in the world of Marketing and Publicity in her previous life. These days you're more likely to see her running after her toddler than running a meeting, but she does her best to find time to create new recipes, come up with fun activities for her daughter, and write about the craziness that is life in the Sweeting house.

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