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First-trimester nutrition: tips and tricks to get through it

The first trimester varies from person to person, but I wanted to share my personal experience and what I found the most helpful during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.

Eat what you can

I experienced nausea and food aversions off and on throughout the first trimester. For quite a few weeks, meat sounded horrendous, eggs were a no-go and most vegetables were a big ole nope. I ate a LOT of carbs but also tried to add in protein when possible. I had protein pasta, Kodiak Cakes waffles, protein smoothies, made my own protein pancakes, protein oats and I snuck veggies in where I could handle them. I also found that I felt best when I ate every hour and a half, so I kept snacks with me at work and on the go. A few bites of plain Cheerios did the trick in a pinch.

Get creative with protein

In my meat rebellion, I had protein in the form of powder, bars, yogurt, pasta and cottage cheese. It was so weird to me that cottage cheese sounded good, but my love for that never waned, and it definitely helped pack a protein punch! I didn’t force myself to eat things that didn’t sound good…because why do that to yourself? Most days, I was able to eat more than 100 grams of protein, and I was proud of that. Protein is super important for baby’s development and can also help keep nausea at bay, so get creative with how you take it in!

Not focusing on perfection

Before I got pregnant, I knew that I might experience aversions to meat, but getting grossed out by veggies was super unexpected. I imagined that I would be able to eat pretty nutritiously and work around any nausea or aversions, but there were a handful of weeks where carbs were KING. Bread, chips, popcorn…I needed the crunch and to be honest, a lot of those carbs were not super nutritious. I had to let go of the mindset that I would be able to stick to my maintenance macros and just ride the waves where I felt good. I focused on the positives, like the fact that fruit tasted INCREDIBLE, so I ate a lot of clementines and berries. I celebrated being able to eat eggs again by Week 9 and started having bagel sandwiches. Instead of freaking out about keeping my diet “normal,” I reframed my mindset and gave myself a whole lot of grace.

Managing cravings

Before pregnancy, I would lean into cravings by making “healthy” versions of certain foods, but in the first trimester, I leaned into cravings. For a few weeks, I would say I leaned in a little too much and it left me feeling pretty gross by the end of the day. But when I started including my cravings and eating something nutritious with them, I felt a lot better. A donut with eggs, mac and cheese with grilled chicken, cookies with some form of protein…you don’t have to deny your cravings during pregnancy, because that may leave you overindulging at a later point. Include them, enjoy them and then move on!

Take yo vitamins

Pre-pregnancy, I could down a handful of vitamins with a swig of water and move on, but once I started feeling naseous, I had to take one vitamin at a time with many gulps of water in between. Before my first trimester, I started taking a pre-natal, Vitamin D, probiotic, fish oil and Vitamin B complex. Do what you need to and take your pre-natals, and switch to a gummy if you need to. When you aren’t able to eat super nutritiously, the vitamins help fill in some of those gaps you may have in your nutrition.

If you’re currently pregnant or planning on getting pregnant soon, I hope my experience helps you!

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