Are you finding it hard to keep on top of all of the nutritious foods needed for a healthy pregnancy? Check out the first two instalments of Eating for Two, arm yourself with the Shopping List and follow this simple meal plan for the week. Meal planning has many benefits including; keeping on track with healthy eating, saving money, saving time, and trying new recipes.
The following Meal Plan offers you a well-rounded week of eating with a focus on the nutrients needed to keep mom and growing baby healthy and strong. For those of you with food allergies or intolerances, or who just can’t fathom eating octopus (or can’t find it to buy anywhere), switch out ingredients for something equally as delicious and nutritious. Find links to recipes, spice it up your way, and fill your body with great food!
Below are some meal ideas and recipes and you’ll find a meal plan at the end. Try to work out your own meal plan with this printable template.
Overnight oats: A great way to start the day with lots of fiber, iron and calcium. Soak 2/3 cup of rolled oats in 1 cup of any kind of milk and ¼ tsp of cinnamon overnight in the fridge. In the morning, add any combination of fruit and nuts to round out the meal. Try apples and walnuts or berries and almonds. You can also add chia seeds with a bit of extra liquid to sneak in some healthy fats.
Mini omelets: try out this recipe to feed a big family quickly.
Prepared cereal: Find a boxed cereal that offers a low-sugar, high-fiber combination to get folate and calcium in. Look for multigrain blends and be sure to steer clear of mini marshmallows – you never know what is in those! For a healthy, homemade granola, try this recipe and toss some on your yogurt with some frozen berries.
Smoothies: These are great for busy mornings and they are portable. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. Using Greek yogurt will boost the protein content, add almond milk and some good basics like spinach or kale, chia seeds and a bunch of frozen berries or other fruit for sweetness. Our family hides as many veggies as possible in smoothies like carrots and peppers.
Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese: This is a classic and can be topped with so many nutritious options; mashed avocado, smoked salmon (heated to ward off listeria), switch out cream cheese for nut butters. The possibilities are endless.
Pancakes and bacon: This is a Sunday morning tradition in our house and pancakes are really easy to make from scratch. Mix 1.5 cups of flour (we mix whole grain and white), 1 tbsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Whisk in 1.5 cups of milk (any kind will do) and 1 tbsp of oil (coconut, safflower, sunflower). For a really easy, gluten free version, soak 1.5 cups of buckwheat groats in water (to an inch over groats) overnight. In the morning, drain off a bit of the water and blend, adding water back in to the right consistency. That’s it! Pour the batter on a hot griddle and flip away! We top our pancakes with yogurt and berries and a little maple syrup (and sometimes chocolate chips).
Quinoa salad: This is easy to make at home on the weekend or a quiet day as it keeps well in the fridge. Cook up some quinoa, when cool add chopped veggies, cooked beans or peas, some fresh herbs to your taste and either a salad dressing from your fridge or an easy oil/lemon juice mix. This meal can be as packed with nutritiously dense food as you want. Take a look at the list of important nutrients and pick your favourite.
Broccoli Crunch Salad: Check out this recipe for a deliciously crunchy meal. Pair it with some leftover lean meat from dinner and you’ve got a balanced meal.
Green salad: Lots of salads on this list, because they’re easy and you can load them up with healthy choices. Start with your favourite greens to get a good dose of folate, add protein with beans or lean meat, add veggies for fiber and vitamins, and top with nuts as a healthy fat. Sprinkle with your favourite dressing, et voila!
Mexican Inspired Wrap: Avocado, black beans, cilantro, lime, aioli, tomatoes, whatever else catches your fancy, all rolled up into a whole wheat or gluten free corn tortilla. If you’re taking this off to work, bring it separately and wrap it at work to ward off a soggy wrap.
Hamburger: Good Ole Burger… Make your own with lean ground beef or treat yourself out. You’ll get a decent dose of iron from the burger and some yummy sweet potato fries. Add a salad on the side for a fiber and folate bonus and it’s a pretty well rounded meal.
Leftovers: Let’s not forget leftovers… A great way to enjoy your dinner again. Plan to make a little on your favourite weeknight dinner to pack away for a quick lunch.
“Scentilentil” Journey: A family favourite in our house, this dish combines the goodness of lentils and spinach with a tasty spice.
Octopus: Why not? Think of it as an adventure for a great dose of iron. Check out this recipe.
Chicken: Especially the livers for iron, zinc, folate and protein. You can hide the livers well in this recipe. Pair it up with roasted Brussel sprouts and some brown rice.
Pizza: Everyone loves pizza, right? Throw on some sardines to boost your vitamin D this winter. This recipe includes a whole wheat crust for fiber. You can even throw in some flax seed for the added omegas.
Salmon: Full of DHA for the developing baby’s brain, salmon is so versatile and easy. Bake it, grill it, steam it, lots of ways to enjoy this nutritious food. Paired with asparagus. Mmmm.
Vegetarian chili: Here is a great recipe full of beans. Top with some cheese and enjoy with some whole wheat toast. Many of these recipes can be done up in your crockpot for those long days, to be sure that you’re not missing out on healthy food.
Quiche: We have very busy chickens at our house so this meal is a staple and we love to make our own spinach crust from one of our favourite cookbooks, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. We throw whatever we have trailing in the fridge in with the eggs and cheese. Quiche is also a great leftover lunch because it can be just as delicious when cooled.
Don’t forget about snacks! Graze throughout the day to keep the nausea down and energy up. Try to include a balance of nutrients in your snack like protein and fiber. Pair fruit with nut butter or cheese, veggie sticks with hummus, toast with mashed avocado and feta cheese…… I think it’s snack time here. Enjoy!
Becca Raper is a Registered Midwife with Generations Midwifery Care. Learn more about Becca here.