Keeping it Healthy During Pregnancy

Blog Post
20 weeks pregnant here

First, I want to start off by saying that I am no health professional by any means, and If you’re uncertain about what you should do (in terms of exercising while pregnant)… I recommend talking to a health care professional for some clarity. These are things that I do, because they personally work for me and hopefully motivate you too 🙂

Yes, there’s a cap as to what women can do when they’re pregnant, but there’s also no “one size fits all.” This is my very first pregnancy, and I’ve always been an active girl. Especially in the last five to six years of my life when my now husband introduced me to mountain biking.

Throughout my pregnancy journey, I’ve learned to really listen to my body, and take it easy as needed for me and baby. I’ve vowed to stick to the trainer and walking if I ever feel like I’m unbalanced on my bike but that hasn’t happened at all yet. I really think this is because I ride every week and the adjustment is gradual. Staying active and healthy has been crucial for my mental and physical well being. I feel like it’s something that a lot of pregnant women can benefit from during and after labor/ postpartum. Here are a couple of things I feel have helped (because I know that ‘will power’ and motivation can be a little hard when you’re pregnant). And some of these can also apply to you even if you’re not pregnant ;).

Drinking lots of water and stay hydrated:

I love starting my day with a big glass of cold water. It’s no news that drinking water upon waking up is super beneficial! Think about it, you’ve spent all night without hydrating your body…it’s THIRSTY. So the first thing I do when I wake up is drink a big mason jar full of cold water and pair it with my prenatal vitamins. I want to keep me and baby as hydrated as possible. I use a large mason jar throughout the day and refill it so that I’m constantly drinking it. I aim to drink as close to a gallon a day, and sometimes it’s more (especially while exercising).

I tend to stay away from artificial sweeteners. Water is my main source of hydration. Pre-pregnancy (In my early 20’s) I used to drink cranberry juice, orange juice with a ton of sugar, soda, or pre-made smoothies. I was pretty overweight. Once I stopped depending on sugary drinks, I noticed a HUGE difference In my body. I also stopped craving it, and now it’s too sweet for me. Small steps go a very long way!

Limiting Caffeine:

I cut caffeine cold turkey during my first trimester. I just didn’t think it was worth the ‘miscarriage risk’. I noticed that I was super tired all throughout my day. I would take two hour naps constantly, and really struggle to get anything done. My energy was little to none, and that’s so not like me! During the second trimester, I reintroduced a cup a day and I was feeling much much better, actually energized to move around and motivated to get a bike ride in. I really really miss my two to three cups a day but I find that one cup is better than none. I also drink tea if I feel like I want something to sip on slowly and It also seems to help.

Pregnancy really changes your taste buds though…it’s WILD so I don’t crave my old favorite teas unfortunately. I’ve really liked orange, and ginger teas though!

Staying active every day:

I touched up a little bit on this topic above but whether it’s walking two to three miles, walking my dog, a light jog, or riding my bike. I like to keep my body moving. It really helps me sleep at night, helps my mental and physical health, and helps keep things regular. Staying active everyday also helps during labor, and in recovery after baby is born.

My weight gain is gradual so far, and In the normal range. I really think that staying active is a huge part of it. Food aversions suck…one day you wake up and hate what you used to LOVE. It does fade away though, at least for the most part. I still can’t do the smell of cooked chicken, eggplant hummus is still meh, and I don’t eat salads everyday like I used to.

Spending some time outside

Studies show that adding a little sunshine to your life by getting outside can relieve anxiety, and reduce depression along with other benefits! I’ve worked from home for the past year, and it’s easy enough for me to just stay in all day…but I really make it a point to enjoy the outdoors at least once a day. If I’m not riding my bike that morning, I’m taking a long walk and listening to a podcast, chillin’ in my backyard eating my lunch or bathing in the sun for a few minutes, or walking my dog.

My point is, for you to try to get some time outside everyday…it will help boost your mood 🙂

My mom’s famous chicken soup

Incorporating vegetables into every meal

I’m not eating salads everyday (like I used to) throughout my pregnancy. It’s way harder than I thought because my idea of a tasty salad is not what it used to be….now, in order to eat a “good” salad…it needs cheese and tons of dressing. However, I still try to incorporate my old favorites into my diet like my Creamy Spinach Salad, my Harvest Salad or my Kale Salad with a twist by creating “healthier dressings.”

If I’m not eating a salad- I eat a scramble with tons of spinach and light mozzarella on top, or a wrap with tons of fresh veggies and spinach, soup with veggies, or pasta with veggies like broccoli, green beans, spinach etc. I also enjoy adding veggies to my enchiladas, or buddha bowls! Yum!

I even like to incorporate veggies when I’m having a snack. For instance, after a quick morning bike ride I’ll refuel with my scramble with veggies and a carb like toast with peanut butter. I am a huge fan of avocado muffins, spinach pancakes or spinach muffins as well. I also love smoothies when it’s super hot outside or a snack plate with apples, peanut butter, celery, and crackers for a savory sweet combo. You can also add cucumbers, hummus, or carrots too!

Listening to positive podcasts

I admit, I’m not reading as much as I used to. I think it’s partly because I haven’t made it as part of my routine. I’ve found that a great alternative is listening to podcasts. I find them super convenient when I’m going for a long walk in the morning, or getting some work done around the house. Some podcasts are super informative and I feel like I’m learning something new every week. I highly recommend listening to something that maybe feels relevant for you. Nowadays, there are so many topics you can choose from.

As of lately, I’ve been listening to Sonya Looney’s motherhood series because it kind of resonates with my pregnancy and fitness journey. I find her podcasts inspiring, and motivating as a pregnant cyclist. She also touches up on other things like mindset for athletes, nutritional tips, boosting confidence, training the pelvic floor, training in general and so much more!

I hope you really enjoyed this blog about keeping things healthy! I highly encourage you to check out other healthy recipes, and my meal prepping blog post.

Check out these posts:

Meal Prepping!

Blog Post

I’ve meal prepped for just about 6 years, and found that it helps keep me motivated to stick to my healthy eating habits throughout the week. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Even cutting up some vegetables, and fruits makes the world of a difference. I find that it really saves so much time since as for me- I’m busy working from home all week.

I felt that this was the perfect opportunity to share different ways that you could meal prep at home. The beautiful thing here is that you can customize this whichever way you’d like.

A couple of tips to help you get started (not required but highly recommended):

  1. Create a grocery list of the food you’ll need. This helps minimize waste.
  2. Make sure you have plenty of clean, air tight containers or zip lock bags
  3. Once you have all your ingredients create a quick strategy such as cooking/ baking what ever takes the longest to cook first. That way we use time wisely.
  4. Make sure you have plenty of storage in the fridge or freezer. I have a tiny fridge/freezer so I have to make sure I make plenty of space.

Meal prepping in bulk:

This method of meal prepping is my current FAVORITE. Why? because it takes no time at all and it still allows me to eat what I want- just with healthier choices. If I feel like making a salad, I throw it all together. If I feel like eating a sandwich, I throw it all together in my sandwich, pasta, etc. You catch my drift, right? It’s so easy.

  1. GRILLED VEGETABLES: asparagus, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant etc.
    • The char these veggies get from the grill gives them so much flavor in bowls, sautes, scrambles, soups, salads, and pizzas. I like to slice em up, coat them with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then throw them on the grill for about 6-8 minutes until they get nice grill marks. I then transfer them into my airtight container and they keep well in the fridge 4-5 days.
  2. ROASTED VEGETABLES: potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli.
    • I drizzle some olive oil, top potatoes with salt & pepper, and roast them in the oven at 450 for about 30 minutes. Broccoli is seasoned the same, but takes about 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on those).
  3. GRILLED CHICKEN
    • I like to marinate the chicken breast overnight with lemon, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil. If I don’t have time to marinate overnight, I marinate at least 30 minutes then I grill them up about 8 minutes per side or until the temperature reaches about 165 degrees F.
  4. FRESH FRUIT: sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
    • A great way to clean your berries is by putting all of them in a big bowl, covering them with cold water and 1 tsp or so of apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar (not too much) and letting them sit for up to 5 minutes. No more – or else they’ll get soggy. Drain them, dry them up with a cloth or paper towel just a little bit, then transfer them into an airtight container and put them in the fridge.
    • It makes it so easy to just grab these clean berries, put them in cereal, oatmeal, or just as a quick snack!
  5. FRESH VEGETABLES: cut celery, cucumber, carrots
    • I typically just cut the ends off of celery hearts, peel cucumbers and slice them into coins or strips, and rinse them along with the celery and baby carrots and place in airtight containers and put them in the fridge.
    • They make such a great snack with hummus, or guacamole!
  6. BAKED GOODS: Healthy muffins, donuts, snack balls/bars
    • I make baked goods every week, or every couple weeks to make sure I satisfy my sweet tooth 🙂 I have a few recipes on the blog you can check out!
    • They are excellent for a snack, dessert, or breakfast.
  7. GRAINS/LEGUMES: cooked quinoa, brown rice, black beans, lentils, chickpeas
    • Cooked grains are amazing in burrito bowls, buddha bowls, or in a saute. I even add them to salads to add a bit of satiety.
    • Cauliflower rice is also an amazing alternative even though it’s not considered a grain/legume but rather…a veggie!
  8. SAUCES/DIPS/SPREADS: guacamole, tahini sauce, pesto, peanut sauce, hummus
    • Store bought hummus is excellent, but sometimes I like to switch it up and make my own sauces like my avocado sauce. I put this on everything! This is a great way to add flavor to your veggies, or dishes.
  9. EGGS: Hard boiled eggs, frittatas, egg muffins
    • I find eggs to be such an essential source of protein! To make perfectly hard boil eggs, fill your pot with water and leave about 3 inches of space, bring the water to a boil, then carefully place the eggs into the pot and boil on high for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain the eggs, and run them in cold water or an ice bath until cool enough to peel. Peel them up, then store them in airtight containers. It’s an amazing snack, breakfast, or amazing in my tuna salad recipe!
    • Check out my this Kale Frittata you can make ahead and store in the fridge 4-5 days! Just warm up in the microwave or oven until it’s warm and delicious.
    • Egg muffins are also delicious for a quick grab and go breakfast! Just spray muffin tins with cooking oil, beat eggs with some milk, and pour into muffin tins, sprinkle cooked bacon, turkey, or sausage, and cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes and ta-da! Let them cool, then store them in the fridge 4-5 days.

I hope you found these meal prep ideas super helpful! Sometimes I do more, sometimes I do less. This just gives you an idea of how much you can do for the week ahead. It saves so much time, and you’re able to customize the meals as much as you want.

Cheers!

-Hilda ❤