Pregnancy Articles

BabyFit Experts Discuss Their Pregnancy Diets

What You Can Learn from the Experts

Wouldn't it be great to be inside the mind of a pregnancy fitness and nutrition expert, even just for a little while? You could learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to having a healthy pregnancy--straight from the experiences in their own lives. You could do what they did, make the same healthy choices they made, learn how they fit nutrition and exercise into their busy lives.

Now you can! Below, your favorite BabyFit experts share the secrets of their healthy pregnancies. Maybe there's something they did that you can apply to your own pregnancy.

The Experts
Sara Hambidge: Physical therapist
Becky Hand: Registered dietitian
Tanya Jolliffe: Nutrition expert
Jen Mueller: Certified Personal Trainer
Rachel Von Nida: BabyFit Senior Editor

Did you experience any weird cravings during pregnancy?

Sara: During my first trimester, mac and cheese. After the first trimester, fountain root beer!

Becky: I craved foods that turned out to help with the morning sickness. I ate a lot of tart Granny Smith apples and sharp cheddar cheese throughout the day.

Tanya: I discovered cottage cheese and tomatoes during my first pregnancy. During my second pregnancy I rekindled my childhood love of Cheez Whiz and peanut butter sandwiches.

Jen: No weird cravings really, but I used to be someone who loved sweets and didn't care much about chips and other salty snacks. Now I really like the chips and I can skip the dessert.

Rachel: No. I craved chocolate and ice cream, but for me there was not anything unusual about that!

Did you develop any food aversions during pregnancy?

Sara: The only two times I got sick were after eating bananas, and anything mint made me nauseous.

Becky: My food aversions were the smells (and tastes) of brewing coffee and fried bacon. I also had a strange texture aversion to fluid milk during the first trimester.

Tanya: I love food and even when pregnant, I could eat most of my typical foods. Bland food was better than the smell and heartburn affects of spicy foods.

Jen: YES! Before my pregnancy, I considered myself to be a very healthy eater. As soon as I got pregnant, I couldn't stand eating a lot of the things I ate regularly before--vegetables, yogurt, cottage cheese--my list is endless. I'm hoping I can get back to eating more of those things after she's born.

Rachel: I absolutely could not eat chicken when I was pregnant with my son. Luckily there are many other good protein choices.

When shopping for groceries during pregnancy, what would you head for first?

Sara: The fruits and veggies, but only because it is first in the grocery store. Honestly I do not feel I shopped much differently during pregnancy than before.

Becky: My husband did the grocery shopping. He was on shift work and shopped at around 11:30 p.m. at a grocery store that was open 24-7. I don't think the store was busy at this time of the night. I honestly think he just handed the grocery list to an employee and they did the searching for him.

Tanya: I LOVE milk, yogurt and cheese so I always filled up in the dairy aisle. My treat was Fig Newtons. Boy, were they great with a tall glass of milk!

Jen: Bread products. No matter how I'm feeling, I can usually eat carbs without a problem.

Rachel: Yummy ingredients for salads like apples, nuts, dried fruits and cheeses.

What were you favorite, healthy snacks during pregnancy?

Sara: Almonds, trail mix, Ensure shakes, and peanut butter crackers.

Becky: Air-popped popcorn with Parmesan cheese.

Tanya: Cashews and raisins.

Jen: Fruit. I love berries, bananas and apples.

Rachel: Yogurt with granola.

What were your favorite quick & healthy meals during pregnancy?

Sara: Turkey meatballs and pasta; easy Campbell's casseroles.

Becky: Canned tomato soup made with milk and grilled cheese with pickles on whole wheat bread. Add some fresh fruit and I was fine.

Tanya: Spaghetti and meat sauce.

Jen: Peanut butter sandwiches.

Rachel: Big salads or pizza toppings on a wheat tortilla.

What not-so-healthy foods did you indulge yourself with when pregnant?

Sara: Pizza!

Becky: Ice Cream. I lived next to a United Dairy Farmers store that had an ice cream parlor.

Tanya: Lots of Fig Newtons with my first--and chocolate with my second.

Jen: Cheeseburgers and fries (but only on occasion).

Rachel: Ice cream.

When pregnant, what were your main nutrition concerns?

Sara: I had to eat often or I would feel sick or lightheaded, so I tried to always have healthy foods around, otherwise I would reach for anything in sight. When you eat every three hours, it's easy to gain weight, so I was always aware of what I ate to watch my weight gain.

Becky: Calcium intake, especially since I wasn't tolerating fluid milk as a beverage. Therefore, I focused on cheese and yogurt. Also I had terrible constipation with my first child. I learned quickly that three stewed prunes every morning for breakfast with a cup of hot water and lemon did the trick for me.

Tanya: Controlling my simple carbohydrate intake and getting adequate protein intake.

Jen: I wanted to make sure I was eating healthy to give her all of the nutrients she needs, but also so that I didn't gain more weight than I needed to.

Rachel: Calcium, because my mother has osteoporosis.

Was it hard for you to eat a healthy diet during pregnancy?

Sara: I eat pretty healthy anyway so it was not to hard when at home, but we had a ton of unhealthy food at work (especially around the holidays) that was hard to resist. Luckily, if I ate too much I'd feel sick, so that helped me keep my portions under control.

Becky: It was not hard for me to continue with a healthy diet. I've always enjoyed a variety of different foods.

Tanya: It was not hard at all with my first because it was so much a part of our lifestyle and routine. My husband and I cooked and shopped together and living what I taught at the hospital was what we were all about. All that changed with my second pregnancy. I was now a SAHM of a very picky-eating toddler. Our shopping, food prep and meals were a different family priority than before.

Jen: It's hard for me because the things I used to love eating were no longer appealing. So I've had to come up with different foods that are still nutritious but don't make me feel sick.

Rachel: No. I was even more motivated to eat lots of vegetables and dairy.

What do you want other women to know about eating healthy during pregnancy?

Sara: Eating well gives you so much more energy throughout the day than when you eat poorly. With the fatigue of pregnancy, it's good to get all the energy you can. I also feel that a healthy diet helps to control excessive weight gain, which makes the pregnancy and the postpartum weight loss easier. I always remembered what you eat is what your baby eats, too, so when I wanted to eat poorly I would think about little Abby growing in my belly and it motivated me to make better choices!

Becky: Eating healthy is not that hard or time consuming. Start now, and continue with these healthy habits after you deliver. You will then be setting the perfect example for your little one to try new, healthy foods. Children eat what they see mom and dad eating.

Tanya: It starts at the grocery. If you bring junk into your home then you will eat it. If it isn't there, and only healthy snack and meal options are, you will help yourself make wiser, more controlled selections when you are under pressure or not feeling well.

Jen: It can be more of a challenge, especially if you have a lot of food aversions, but it's still possible-and very important. Your baby and your body with thank you for it later!

Rachel: It can be really easy if you stick with whole foods versus packaged ones.
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