Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Breakfasts for Pregnant Women

This post is the first of a new Wednesday series about nutrition during pregnancy. I figured it'd make sense to start with breakfast!

When I was pregnant the first time, I had to be out the door by 6:40am so I could be at work (I was a high school teacher) between 7 and 7:15. I've never been a morning person. I've never enjoyed eating as soon as I get up - I'd much rather have breakfast after I've been up for an hour or so. Well, I found that when I was pregnant, sleep was very, very precious. In order to sleep a few minutes longer, I was sacrificing breakfast time. Turns out, that made me feel nauseous: morning sickness!! And, it turns out, the threat of morning sickness was very motivating to me - breakfast became the most important meal of the day because having it (or not) affected how I felt the rest of the day.

With baby #2, I knew I was pregnant way before the positive pee stick - one of the first major signs was breakfast. Without it, I chased a toddler and a puppy (whose bright idea was that combination??) all day feeling queasy & exhausted. With it, at least I was just exhausted. I would've been exhausted anyway!

I decided to check back on the weeks of food journaling I did with baby #1 (not so much with baby #2), to see just what I did have for breakfast. Here are some of the meals:
Mozzeralla cheese stick + fruit/veg muffin (x5 school mornings)
Yogurt, apple salad, 1 slice carrot bread, juice
2-egg souffle + 2 pieces of bacon; OJ and milk
Banana bread + milk
Cream of wheat with dried apricots and pecans
2 slices of whole wheat bread toasted with cheese; 1 apple; dill pickles and milk (what??? I was pregnant!)
OJ; yogurt with granola and blueberries
Cottage cheese with pineapple; OJ
Cottage cheese eggs; whole wheat toast; milk; OJ
These breakfasts were from my second trimester - first trimester breakfasts were different, mostly a can of ginger ale and those skinny pretzal sticks. By mid-morning I was usually feeling better and so could sneak in a snack before lunch. I did find that if I made a smoothie in the blender and slowly sipped it (again with the pretzals!) on my way to school, that also worked.

Here are some smoothie ideas to play around with:
Fresh or frozen fruits: banana, berries, peach slices, melon
Low-fat vanilla or plain yogurt or soy milk
Orange juice
Ice, if you want
Non-fat powdered milk (to increase protein)
Combinations I like:
yogurt + banana + small scoop of peanut butter
yogurt + frozen strawberries + banana + 1T powdered milk
soy milk + banana + frozen strawberries
yogurt + banana + OJ
yogurt + mix of frozen berries
I know some people swear that putting a few handfuls of spinach or a big kale leaf doesn't change the taste of a breakfast smoothie while adding great nutrients... I haven't personally tried this, but if you have (or if you do), I'd love to hear what you thought.

If you noticed a theme of a low-fat dairy source (skim milk, low-fat cheese stick, or low-fat yogurt) plus fruit/veggie bread or muffin for the second trimester breakfasts, that's because that's what I usually would grab on my way out the door. For my second pregnancy - when I was home, there was a lot of yogurt + fruit + homemade granola.

I'll be posting more recipes each week - here are a few to get you started:

Morning Glory Muffins - from Cooking Light

1 1/4 C Flour
1/2 C Packed Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 C Carrot -- Shredded
1 Small Cooking Apple (Rome) – Shredded
1/3 C Raisins
1/4 C Pecans – Chopped
1/8 C Flaked Coconut
4 Oz Crushed Pineapple In Juice – Drained
1/3 C Vegetable Oil
1/3 C Apple Butter
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Egg White

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups. Combine flour and next four ingredients (flour, brown sugar, soda, cinnamon, salt) in a large bowl.

Shred or chop apples and carrots and pecans (in food processor is easiest). Add to flour ingredients with raisins, coconut, and pineapple.

In separate bowl, combine oil, apple butter, vanilla and eggs. Stir well with a whisk. Add oil mixture to flour mixture; stirring just until moist.

Spoon the batter into a 12 muffin cup pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pans immediately to cool on a wire rack.

Pregnancy modification: all whole-wheat flour or half and half whole wheat & white; and/or a few tablespoons of wheat germ mixed in with the flour to add protein. Cooking Light lists the muffins as having 2.6 grams of protein each with just white flour.

These muffins keep very well in the refrigerator. My kids also really like them.

Sweet Potato Bread - from Cooking Light

1/3 cup flaxseed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place flaxseed in a clean coffee grinder or blender; process until coarsely ground. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flaxseed, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Beat cream cheese and the next 5 ingredients (cream cheese through egg white); stir in sweet potato. Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Note: To freeze bread for up to 1 month, place in an airtight container, or wrap in heavy-duty plastic wrap or foil. Thaw at room temperature.

Pregnancy modification: Again, I used half & half whole wheat & white flours. I also used sweet potatoes from a can - mashed what I needed and put the rest in the freezer for the next time I made this. With just white flour, Cooking Light lists the protein grams per slice as 3.6.

This is really good with low-fat cream cheese spread on it.

And last, my favorite yummy, yummy granola:

Maple Pecan Granola - from Cooking Light

2 cups regular oats
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine oats and next 5 ingredients (through salt); spread on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

My note: it can also be frozen. I love it with fresh berries and/or banana and plain low-fat yogurt. Also good with pumpkin butter swirled in during the winter when fresh berries are harder to find (or afford!).

Cooking Light lists the protein grams as 2.2/serving.

If you're looking for more ideas about the specifics and benefits of healthy eating during pregnancy, click on the nutrition label below, or here. Enjoy!

Christina @ Birthing Your Baby
Independent Childbirth Classes for Central Maine

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