Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pregnancy Nutrition

It is overwhelming to even think about all of the nutrients you are supposed to make sure you eat every day when you're pregnant.  There are tons.  After much research on the internet and in my books, as well as from the information my doctor gave me, I have come up with a comprehensive list of what I should be eating each day:
  • Dairy Products - Calcium: 4-5 servings
  • Meat and Alternates - Protein: 3-4 servings
  • Vitamin A Fruits & Veggies: 1 serving
  • Vitamin C Fruits & Veggies: 1 serving
  • Other Fruits & Veggies: 2 servings
  • Grains, Breads & Cereals - Carbohydrates: 4-6 servings
  • Fats, Oils & Sweets: use sparingly
Of course you're only supposed to have fats, oils & sweets sparingly, since that's normally all I want to eat. 

In addition to those listed above, I am supposed to drink 8-10 cups of fluid each day, and 6 are supposed to be water.  Then there are prenatal vitamins to be taken daily, and let's not even get started on what I'm not supposed to eat/drink.  It's enough to make you crazy just trying to keep track of it all!

Out of all of the above listed requirements, the two I'm having the hardest time meeting are the dairy and carbohydrates categories.  I'm not really a dairy person, and I'm not sure why.  I don't hate yogurt, and I like cheese, but I do not typically drink milk.  I know it's terrible and I should drink it, but I really just never have - until I got pregnant.  I now try to drink a glass each day (normally with dinner).  I struggle with carbs only because it's the total opposite of how I normally think.  You know, "carbs are bad, eat them sparingly or else you will have a large ass."  It's also hard to wrap my head around the fact that I'm supposed to eat all of this each day and still only consume roughly 300 extra calories.  Oy!

Anyway, figuring out what to eat has been my biggest challenge to date particularly since all I want to eat is ice cream.  I've found that I do a lot better if I go ahead and make menus for myself and grocery shop at the beginning of the week.  I am a planner, and I've found that this makes it much easier to make sure I'm getting all of the nutrients that Baby Geronimo needs each day.  I've decided to post occasionally on things that I've found that are particularly healthy and packed with nutrients and that are also delicious.

I am normally running late in the mornings, partly because it takes me a long time to get ready, but mostly because I hit the snooze button a lot (at least I did until it broke this week, which is beyond annoying).  This means I am normally grabbing something quick on my way out the door for breakfast and eating it in the car on the way to work.  Lately, my breakfast of choice has been a glass of orange juice (with extra calcium, of course - calcium and Vitamin C all in one serving!), yogurt (1 cup = 1 serving) and granola (typically somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 cup).  This breakfast is quick and easy, and satisfies several nutrition requirements.  Although I have been trying to make myself eat the greek yogurt that is so much better for you, I do not love it, so I've been sticking with Dannon Light & Fit vanilla.  It is higher in sugar than I would like, but until I can bring myself to choke down some Chobani, it will do.

Granola can be so expensive, which is silly because it's so easy to make on your own.  My sister-in-law, Meredith, turned me onto this recipe (recipe and all photos in this post courtesy of Chow) and I absolutely love it!  So easy, delicious and nutritious.  I hope you'll enjoy it as well!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, stir together three cups of old-fashioned rolled oats, three tablespoons brown sugar, a quarter teaspoon kosher salt, and a half teaspoon cinnamon. 
  2. In another bowl, stir together one-third cup honey, a quarter cup canola oil, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Dump this over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Get your hands in it to mix everything well, and to coat the oats evenly with the honey mixture. Heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spread the mixture in a thin, even layer on a baking sheet and place on the center rack of the heated oven. Bake, stirring after 15 minutes, until the granola is a very light golden brown. It should take 20 to 30 minutes. If you like your granola crunchier with a toastier flavor, bake it a little longer, keeping a close eye on it—if it gets dark it will taste burnt.
  4. Cool the granola completely, stirring it around so it doesn’t stick together. (It hardens as it cools.)
  5.  Once the granola’s cool, get creative: Now is the time to stir in all your extras like dried fruit, raw or toasted nuts and seeds, toasted coconut, etc. Store in an airtight container (this is very important—the granola goes stale easily) and eat within two weeks.
Some notes from the pros (Meredith & Mikey):
  • She and her husband like to grate a huge clove (is that what you call it?) of ginger (they said fist-size, normally) into their granola (they leave out the cinnamon).  They grate it into the brown sugar mixture, and when adding ginger, they only use half of the oil that the recipe calls for.  I have not yet tried this - I followed the recipe exactly when I made it - but I have eaten it when they've made it and it does not disappoint.
  • When baking the granola, be sure your pan is foiled and well-greased.  It's a good idea to cover your pan in tin-foil and then grease it up well with cooking spray for easier clean-up.
  • Their two favorite ingredients to add are sliced (shaved) almonds and raisins.  You have to be careful with dried fruit and extra ingredients because a lot of them have a ton of sugar in them.
  • They've found that it's better to bake the granola for 12-15 minutes three times instead of two, but to watch it closely on the 3rd time so it doesn't burn.  They suggested to let it dry for half an hour so that if it's not crispy enough you can put it back in the oven without burning it in the process.  This step really depends on your oven, because in mine it only took two rounds of 12 minutes.
I hope you'll try this recipe and that you'll enjoy it as much as we do!  Happy cooking!

Sarah

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