Mini-Meals for a Mega-Me

So, I haven’t been posting lately as much as I used to or as much as I would like. The reason why is that I’m pregnant, and for the first trimester, all I’ve been interested in doing is lying on the couch and watching TV. My energy level has been so low that I haven’t wanted to cook or write or do any of the other things I normally like to do. (I haven’t wanted to work either, but I haven’t had a lot of choice about that.) I’m moving into the second trimester now, and I hear I’ll get my energy back soon. I can’t wait!

I have wanted to eat, though, and I have been eating a lot. My body has been wanting a lot of fruit, yogurt, eggs, cheese, beans and carbs. I could pretty much eat breakfast all day long and be happy. What I haven’t wanted are strongly flavored or spicy foods, acidic foods and raw vegetables — and unfortunately, strong garlic has been turning me off completely. So even when I can get myself off the couch to cook, I’m afraid the dishes I’ve been turning out haven’t been all that interesting.

I have also had to completely change the way I eat. I can no longer sit down to three squares per day. If I eat too much at one sitting, I end up feeling bloated and heavy. But if I don’t enough, and I don’t eat often enough, I get nauseous or really, really cranky. So I’ve switched to a grazing eating style, eating five or six small meals (200-400 calories) each per day.

I really like this style of eating, and I’m going to try to keep it up after the baby’s born. In fact, it may help me lose the pregnancy weight. Grazing keeps my energy level even, rather than a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys, which has helped some with the fatigue. I also like feeling comfortably satisfied without getting over-full.

There are some drawbacks to this way of eating, though. For one thing, it takes a lot of planning. I can’t graze on whatever I find in the vending machine, so I have to always carry good, healthy food with me. Which means that I have to keep my refrigerator better stocked than I’m used to, and when I do cook, I have to be in the habit of making extra and packing it up into small, on-the-go servings. I figure this is all good training for motherhood.

This style of eating can make you rather obsessive about calories, as well. When eating that many meals a day, it’s too easy to go over a reasonable calorie count. I have made up a cheat sheet of calorie counts in various foods so I can estimate what each meal contains and stick to 200-400 calories per meal. And I try to keep to nutrient-rich foods, reserving sweets and the like for occasional snacks. But I don’t worry about precise calorie counts as long as I feel I’m in the ballpark. (I may have to get more rigorous about this when I’m trying to lose weight rather than gain it.)

I love the way being pregnant has made me so much more aware of what I’m eating and how my body is responding to it. If I listen to my body, I tend to get what I need in the right amounts. If only I was this attuned to my body all the time, I’d probably never have to diet!

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5 thoughts on “Mini-Meals for a Mega-Me

  1. Marty 17 September 2007 at 11:33 am

    I thought the pasta last night was VERY flavorful and I enjoyed it a lot!

  2. jolynna 18 September 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Congratulations on the future addition to your family.

    It is wonderful that during this time you are becoming more aware of what you are eating and making sure the calories you consume are ones that will benefit you and the baby, both. By the time the baby is born, I bet it will be second nature.

    Congratulations, again.

  3. cooknkate 27 September 2007 at 8:31 am

    Congrats! That is great news.

    I loved your photo of your cantaloupe. I sure hope it tastes good. My volunteer carnival squash are close to harvesting. I hope they aren’t just a whacked out gourd.

  4. […] Mini-Meals for a Mega Me. Read about the way this newly pregnant woman has shifted her eating habits and her approach to nutrition. […]

  5. […] Mini-Meals for a Mega Me. Read about the way this newly pregnant woman has shifted her eating habits and her approach to nutrition. […]

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