Nutrition and Meal Prepping

This time of year at our house football takes over our every Sunday. While I enjoy watching football, it seems I really enjoy napping while everyone else is cheer our team on. The games typically fall during my son’s nap time and when I sit down for 5 minutes without a little one to chase. The downfall of Sunday’s however, we typically have several people over for the game and they bring lots of chips, dip and junk food. If it’s not consumed during the game, it normally stays my house tempting my very pregnant taste buds. I love my husband and our friends dearly but I don’t normally keep chips and cookies around the house.

Nutrition is very important for you and for your baby. Many times I hear women giving in to the fact that they are going to gain weight and eat mindlessly on junk foods. While a treat here and there isn’t bad for you, it is extremely important to consider what foods your are “feeding” your baby.  Sure they give you a list of the foods you need to avoid during pregnancy, excess fish and seafood, lunch meats, unpasteurized cheeses, alcohols, herbal teas and caffeine, but what about the foods you should be eating? Making sure you have a balanced diet of proteins, vegetables, fruits and complex carbohydrates can keep you going all day long and provide the needed nutrients for your growing baby.

One of the best ways to keep up with your nutrition is to make sure you are meal planning. My husband and myself always prep our meals for the week on Sunday. Yes, sometimes it is a pain because we get busy, but I find that if we don’t prepare meals a head of time we are scrounging around for food or headed out to eat. When we prep our meals I try to make something for breakfast that is quick and easy like an egg bake, lunches for each day, snacks to get us through the week and I plan out most dinners. When I am talking snacks I don’t just mean things for us to take to work, but also items for home while we are cooking dinner. (This is the time many of us, especially pregnant women, eat mindlessly on unhealthy snacks).

I always start by making a list of what I will prepare for breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks. I will then use that list to build my grocery list. This way I have a pre-made list to ensures I have all ingredients I need for my meals and it will help eliminate adding unneeded and unhealthy items to my cart.

This plan has worked great up to the point in which I became pregnant! Now food either sounds amazing or like the worst thing in the world. And it never fails to sound horrible when I am making my shopping list. I make sure to still build my meals like I would when I am not pregnant, but stick with items I know I will eat regardless of how they sound today. Many women, myself included, crave more carbs or tend to eat more carbs because they are lighter on the stomach. Choosing the right carbohydrates can play a key role in how your feel for the rest of the day. While I wake up some morning just craving a dough nut, I know that if I don’t get some protein in I will be starving an hour later and feel more nauseous because my blood sugar is all over the place. My best advise (to keep it simple) is to make sure you have both protein (meat/eggs/seafood) and carbs (vegetables/fruits/wheat bread/sweet potatoes/brown rice) at the same time. This will help you feel full longer and will provide your body and baby nutrients you need.

Bottom line is regardless of how you feel it helps to plan a head. Don’t feel like you need to make gourmet meals every time, you can make a healthy and nutritious meal just by keeping it simple. Try out my easy Crock Pot Mexican Chicken Soup below.

Mexican Chicken Soup

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Ingredients:
4 Chicken breasts
32 oz Chicken Broth
1 can organic black beans
1 package Cream Cheese
3/4 cup green chilis
1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn
1 green pepper sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 onion sliced
1 large tomato
Grape seed oil

Directions:
Coat inside of the Crock Pot with small amount of grape seed oil. This is to make cleaning easier at the end. In the bottom place the onions, green and red peppers and the chicken breasts on top. Cut cream cheese into chunks and place randomly. Add chicken stock, black beans drained, tomato, corn and green chilis. Stir lightly. Place on medium heat for 6 hours.

When it is done take chicken breasts out and shred chicken. Return chicken to crock pot, serve and enjoy!

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