The first trimester foods are very important for a notoriously tough season of pregnancy. Nausea, fatigue, cravings and aversions…the mental excitement of pregnancy, but also battling against the physical feeling of gross. Some of these discomforts, you just have to ride out until they pass. Hang in there mama! But there are quite a few ways to cope and support your body through this season, even if you are lying on the couch trying not to vomit all day. The number one way to do so, is through food.
First Trimester Foods Packed with Protein:
First trimester foods are tough to find. Something that doesn’t make you want to throw up is a good place to start! But eating enough protein is crucial for survival. Studies show that a high protein intake can help overcome that nauseous feeling that new mamas experience. The trick is to find the types of protein that your queasy stomach and sensitive nose can tolerate, and eat up!
It also helps to frontload your day with protein. The recommended amount is 80-100 grams of protein…How much can you fit in before 10am? Here are a few hacks and swaps for high level protein snacks:
Crack of Dawn Snack: Most expecting mamas find that shoving something in your mouth as soon as you wake up, can help keep the nausea down. Keeping a stash of snacks in your nightstand drawer is a great idea! But instead of a regular granola bar, with extra carbs and sugar (and barely any protein), try a Larabar instead. Clean, sweet & yummy, with 7+ grams of protein, and a variety of delicious flavors to try!
Sneaking in Eggs: Don’t have the stomach for eggs? you are not alone. A first trimester egg aversion is fairly common. Eggs are so crucially important for your body, packed with so many of the nutrients that you need as you grow your tiny human. Did you know that, aside from incredible fat and protein content, 4 eggs a day meets a pregnant woman’s DHA needs? All of those good Omega 3’s for your baby! So give them a try, any way you can. Fried, scrambled, baked or hard boiled.
That’s my trick to eating enough eggs, even when they sounds so gross. I cut up the hard boiled eggs and toss them in a big yummy green salad, where they are barely minded (think of Panera’s Green Goddess Cobb Salad). Also, just because eggs turn your stomach now, doesn’t mean they will for your entire pregnancy. My aversion lifts around the 13/14 weeks mark, and I can eat them pretty much any way again. Eggs are so important, so give them your best try!
Milkshake for Breakfast: This might sound ridiculous, but this is actually a pretty good-for-you milkshake. Take a scoop of vanilla ice cream in your blender. But then add in 3/4 C of whole milk greek yogurt. This type of yogurt is specific, containing the least amount of sugar and the most amount of protein (16g per serving!) Add in a handful of spinach for extra nutrients (don’t worry, you wont taste a thing), then add in either berries or a bit of chocolate for taste! Bonus: Throw chia seeds in there for extra nutrients and collagen.
This is packed with protein for your breakfast! And most mamas can get a milkshake down, even if all else fails. Don’t be put off by a small scoop of ice cream, if adding that to your yogurt smoothie helps you stomach it. It’s a way more protein-rich option than just reaching for a bowl of cereal!
Protein Count: Make it a game to count up how much protein you can eat. This principle really applies throughout your entire pregnancy! But it’s particularly helpful in the first trimester when food is so difficult. Prioritize protein if all else fails. Get an app that tracks your macros when you enter your food intake, to help you see which foods are best. If you manage to eat each of the snacks I’ve written out above – the Larabar, breakfast milkshake, and sneaking in two hard boiled eggs- you’ll have consumed about 45g of protein (along with lots of good fats and nutrients), all before lunch! This is a great strategy for combating that nauseous feeling.
First Trimester Foods for a Queasy Stomach:
Okay, so you are eating whatever protein you can stomach…but that queasy feeling is still setting in. First trimester foods also have to help you overcome that vomit feeling! Dealing with nausea is no fun, and can make the day drag on and on. Here are a few things to help give you some relief.
Ginger. This is my go to for nausea! Ginger can go a long way to soothe an upset tummy, and you can use it in a variety of ways. My personal favorite is ginger flavored kombucha. If you go back to my very first post on the blog, you can read how to make your own kombucha at home! This gives you lots of freedom to make your own flavors – I like using lemon and ginger during that first trimester season. Or you can always pick up a bottle of kombucha at the store. There are some great ginger options! However, I know that not everyone is a kombucha fanatic like me. Try picking up some ginger candy chews at your health food store, to keep handy in your purse. Battling nausea during your work day is a lot easier with a ginger chew to suck on.
Bone Broth. Homemade bone broth is so good for you and so very easy to make! And it can seriously soothe nausea so effectively. Plus it has great collagen, fats, and between 10-15 g of protein per serving! To make it at home, simply take leftover meat bones (from beef or chicken), and throw them in a crockpot with extra veggie scraps (like garlic, carrots, onion, celery, etc). Cover it all in water and add in a splash of apple cider vinegar (to help draw out all of the good stuff). Cook for 24 hours, adding water as needed. Then strain everything out, and ta-da! You made bone broth! Freeze what you don’t use. Reach for a steaming mug when you’re feeling queasy!
Peppermint. Unless you don’t like the smell or taste of it, most people find relief from an upset stomach with something peppermint. I love sipping a peppermint tea in the mornings, or sucking on a peppermint candies or homemade gummies. During the first trimester, I always carry around a roller ball of peppermint essential oil, to stick under my nose when that wave of nausea hits!
Real Food for Pregnancy:
Hungry for more information and tips on eating throughout your pregnancy? If you’ve enjoyed learning about first trimester foods, then you NEED this book! Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols is a book full of golden nuggets of truth when it comes to food in general, but specifically related to pregnancy. Eating your vitamins, hunting out your protein, treating common ailments through your food intake – I have learned so much from this book! I have read it cover to cover, and I keep it on my shelf as a reference guide. She lays out a meal plan sample inside if that’s something you are looking for. Best investment into this pregnancy season, in my opinion!
Give it your best shot:
There you have it, my best tips for eating your way through the nauseating first trimester of pregnancy! Eating well at this stage is very important, because baby does SO much important growing in those early weeks, and all of the nutrients, fats and proteins help! But it is definitely the most difficult time in the pregnancy to eat well. I would encourage you, to just wake up each day and give it your very best shot! Maybe you feel gross all day long, maybe you can’t keep everything down that you’re supposed to, but that’s okay mama! You are just giving it your best shot, and that is enough. That’s always enough in every stage of motherhood.
Hang in there, Mama friend!