As you well know, one of my challenge goals was to eat as healthy as possible. At moments, I have found this almost impossible. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.
While on the road we’ve made a valiant effort to plan our meals out in advance so that we could find a Panera or a Jimmy Johns to stop at. However, as you well know, those aren’t always an option, or when you have cravings, not always what you want. Lucky for us, most fast food restaurants have at least one healthy option. We also spent quite a bit of time stopping at grocery stores for the salad bar or picked up some quick and easy snacks like veggies and hummus or fresh fruit. What I’m trying to say is that you can always find something healthy to eat, even if it isn’t the easiest option.
Moving has also been a challenge. Now that we have finally settled into a new apartment, we finally have a stove, some cook wear, a NutriBullet, and an InstantPot. I can finally cook! Yay! Now the challenge is finding the time to make some really healthy meals during our busy days.
With all of this going on, I have tried my best to stick to the healthy eating aspect of the Challenge and this is how I’ve done it. . .
3 Secrets to Eating Healthy When Strapped for Time
Let’s be honest, do any of us really feel like we have the time to eat healthy? It’s a huge commitment. It takes time, a lot of planning, and dedication. But it is all worth it, especially when you are pregnant. According to the American Pregnancy Association, eating healthy is important to make you feel healthy during your pregnancy, give you more energy, set you up for an easier labor, and of course, provide countless benefits for your baby. I wholeheartedly agree! It is clearly apparent to me that if I stop eating well, I immediately feel the effects. I often get lethargic, unhappy, bloated, and sometimes experience swelling. While I notice all of these symptoms when I’m not pregnant, they are so much more apparent when I am.
So we know it is important to eat healthy, but some days it can feel almost impossible to do so. We had a long day at work, didn’t have time to stop by the store, have a little one running around that needs to be supervised, or even worse insists that they need to be held while you are trying to make a meal. Some of us luck out by having a partner that can help, but that isn’t always the case. We all seem so busy these days.
With little time on your hands here are my top 3 recommendations for eating healthy in a time crunch:
1. Make a Green Drink
I swear by Green Drinks! They are super quick and easy to make AND everyone in my family absolutely loves them! If you aren’t familiar with green drinks, you need to be. They are basically smoothies with a ton of nutritional ingredients that revolve around dark leafy greens.
In each green drink that I make, I always add the following ingredients:
- Several handfuls of dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.). These should make up about 2/3 of your container.
- Fresh or frozen fruit (my favorites are a mixed frozen fruit bags, pineapple, bananas, apples, etc.)
- Optional add-ins: protein powder, peanut butter, nuts, flax, chia, broccoli stems, cucumbers, carrots, avocado, etc.
This is my favorite - How to Make the Best Pregnancy Green Drink.
You then throw these ingredients into a blender, NutriBullet, or other type of mixer to make the most delicious, nutritious drink. They are our go-to for breakfasts, snacks, and on some nights, even a part of dinner. This is my top choice for getting the vitamins and minerals I need during pregnancy when I am short on time.
2. Stick to Simple Meals
When I have the time, I often enjoy cooking. However, when I am racing around trying to tend to my toddler or make sure that I get a meal on the table before bedtime, it can be really stressful. No matter how many years I have been cooking, I still underestimate the amount of time it takes to make a meal. I always get a good laugh out of the time estimates on recipes because I am neverthat fast. Don’t get me wrong, I have found some amazing recipes but they are often so much more time consuming than just ad-libbing.
That is why I recommend tossing the recipes, until you have more time on your hands, and making simple, healthy meals.
For breakfast, I love cooking eggs over medium and place them on a bed of tomatoes and sautéed kale or spinach. Hard boiled eggs are also another fantastic option. You can always add some cottage cheese or yogurt with some fresh fruit and you have a delicious, healthy breakfast. Another favorite in our family is our Incredibly Delicious 3 Ingredient Pancakes.
Stick to left overs for lunch. Give yourself a break.
As for dinner, some of my favorites are beef & broccoli, grilled chicken and roasted veggies, veggies and dip with a side of protein, and sliced tomatoes with pan fried fish.
3. Avoid sugars and processed foods
I don’t know about you, but when I am tired and hungry and need something quick to eat, I go for something sugary and processed. It often quenches my hunger, for the time being, and makes me feel satiated. But it is far from your best option.
Not only are sugars and processed foods fillers, which make you think that you are full even when you aren’t, but they don’t provide you with the nutrition that you need when you are pregnant. On top of that, they cause blood sugar spikes which can be challenges throughout your pregnancy, but definitely during your first trimester when you are experiencing fatigue and nausea.
Sugar specifically has been linked to pregnancy weight gain and can cause some serious problems for your child later in life. According to Today’s Parent, the sugar you consume while pregnant can lead to obesity in your children, increase their risk for allergies, and impact the placenta and growth of the fetus.
As for processed foods, I recommend avoiding them as much as possible primarily because of the amount of sugar that they contain. Take a second to look at some of your favorite processed foods in your pantry. Are you surprised by just how much sugar they contain? I definitely was.
So rather than turning to some sweet snack or processed food, consider picking up an apple or other fruit to satiate that need instead. Kicking the habit can be challenging at first, but within a few weeks you will notice that you no longer crave those sugars and processed foods, and you will have a healthier pregnancy for it.
My 5MinuteBack Pregnancy Challenge Update
I must say that this week has been more challenging than the last few. I have been exhausted! I really think much of this fatigue is just the residual lack of sleep and energy after moving into our new apartment last week and sleeping on our 2” camping air mattress. I think I’m just trying to keep up with it all. On top of that, we have been trying to find a new routine of activities to keep little C busy and I’m figuring out how to balance his needs with mine – rest.
Even with the fatigue, I have managed to complete my 5MinuteBack Pregnancy Program every day. At least that bit of time helps me feel rejuvenated and energized. Without that little pick me up, I don’t know what I would do. As for the other common pregnancy symptoms that The Bump says I should be experiencing at this point – swelling and back pain – I have had none of it :-) . My body is feeling incredibly strong and healthy.