Healthy Family Recipes

As a Registered Dietitian and new and working Mom, I fully understand the challenges of feeding your family well while often having limited time.  But you can do it!  One of the keys is shopping and preparing food beforehand, perhaps on an evening or Sunday when you have a chunk of time.  You can make double or triple what you need for one meal then refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. 

When you have little ones, you may feel like a short-order cook.  You don’t have to cook something different for each family member!   The below are 10 of my favorite recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole gang.  Remember the parent/child division of responsibility when it comes to meals:  The parents decide what, when, and where to serve food, while the child decides if and how much to consume.  By preparing and enjoying family meals, you set a great example in a fun environment, offer exposure to a variety of items, and prevent picky eating.  Note that it can take up to 30+ exposures for kids to accept new foods.  Keep at it to create healthy, well-balanced, adventurous eaters.  Enjoy! 

Turkey Tacos/Salad

Turkey taco 1

This is a great low-fat alternative to red meat, filled with fiber, and fun for older kids to help create their signature dish while selecting their own toppings.  Mom and dad can enjoy a low-carb version by enjoying a taco salad.

Ingredients:  Lean ground turkey meat (97-99%), 1 chopped sweet onion, 5 stalks of celery chopped, 1 6-oz can of tomato paste, chili powder, whole grain or corn tortillas, Pam spray or olive oil

Ground Turkey Taco

Directions: 

  1. Coat pan/skillet with thin layer of olive oil or spray with Pam.
  2. In large pan or skillet brown one chopped Vidalia (sweet) onion.
  3. Add 5 chopped stalks of celery and cook to desired texture.
  4. Add 97-99 percent lean ground turkey meat (or similar percentage), cooking and stirring until cooked thoroughly and browned.
  5. Add one small can of tomato paste, more or less as desired.
  6. Add 1-2 Tbsp of chili powder to taste.
  7. The longer this mixture is simmered, the richer the flavor.  Add water if/when needed.
  8. Shells:  Try Ezekial frozen wheat or corn tortillas; heat in pan.  Otherwise select a different brand that has all natural ingredients, no sugar, and is low in fat.
  9. Add 1/2 cup turkey mixture, salsa, chopped tomatoes, and sprinkle of reduced-fat cheese.
  10. Roll up taco and enjoy! OR try turkey mixture on top of a salad.

****For kids under 12 months, skip the tomato paste and salsa.  Go easy on, or skip the spices.  Or just add a sprinkle of seasoning (garlic, pepper, etc).  Take turkey/celery/onion mixture out of the pan and move to food processor or blender.  Add full fat cheese for kids under two years old and beans as long as baby has tried them before.  You can serve with small broken up pieces of tortilla or crackers.

Lamb Stew

Lamb Stew 2Lean red meat is a healthy option when enjoyed in moderation.  Plus this hearty meal provides some welcoming warmth on a cold winter’s day.  Lamb can be one of baby’s first foods as it is easily digested when pureed.

Ingredients: 1.25 pounds of lean cubed lamb meat (choose kebob instead of stew meat for a leaner product); 1 large sweet onion chopped, 10 stalks of celery chopped, ½ pound (1/2 package) baby carrots, 1 large red pepper diced, olive oil, 6 small or 3 large russet potatoes peeled and chopped into cubes, 1 6-oz can tomato paste, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, dill, 1 bay leaf.

Directions:

  1.  Place lamb cubes and onion into large pot.  Add 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp paprika, bay leaf.  Fill with water until lamb and onion are fully covered.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low-medium heat for 1-1.5 hours to ensure meat is very tender.  Remove bay leaf after this time.
  2. Place potatoes, celery carrot, and pepper on a cooking tray.  Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp dill.  Mix to ensure all ingredients are evenly coated.  Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees, mixing at least once to ensure even cooking.
  3. Add oven mixture to lamb pot on stove after the 1-1.5 hours.  Stir all ingredients together.  Add 1 can of tomato paste.
  4. Allow all ingredients to continue simmering on stove at low heat. Continue this for one to two hours. Add a bit of water if needed.  The potatoes will burst/break apart and help make this stew thick.
  5. Add additional spice if needed.

****For kids under 12 months of age, do not add tomato paste.  Remove portion of lamb stew prior to adding tomato paste or additional spices.  Blend or puree in food processor for your little one.  Enjoy!

Healthy Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parm 3

Who doesn’t like cheese and tomato sauce?  This is a healthy alternative to the regular version, which is often heavily breaded and fried, made with full fat cheese and served with white pasta.  Offer this version early in your little one’s life, and they will prefer your version to the original.

Ingredients:  Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) pounded thin with meat tenderizer.  4-5 egg whites in bowl, 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or whole wheat panko, spices as desired (see below), 1 can tomato sauce (choose one without added sugar), olive oil or Pam (or other) cooking spray, part-skim mozzarella and/or grated parmesan cheese, 1 box whole wheat pasta.

Directions:

  1.  Dip thin or pounded chicken breasts in egg whites.
  2. Next dip in organic whole wheat Italian bread crumbs. (Whole Foods has a great one, or you can add garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, etc. as desired to plain whole wheat bread crumbs.)
  3. Place on oven tray or pan sprayed in Pam or lightly coated w/olive oil and cook for 25-40 minutes at around 425 degrees, depending on oven and chicken thickness.
  4. Once chicken is fully cooked (check by cutting open and making sure there is no pink color), top with tomato sauce and sprinkle lightly with part skim mozzarella and/or parmesan cheese.
  5. Change oven to broil and cook until cheese browns/bubbles.
  6. Serve with a side of or on top of whole wheat pasta, and don’t forget to add a green vegetable!

****For kids under 12 months of age, dip chicken in olive oil instead of egg whites, or use egg yolk only.  Skip tomato sauce as well for the little ones.  You can add full fat cheese for kids under age 2.   The chicken can be pureed for younger kids, or chopped into smaller pieces.  For older kids, cut into strips and try sauce on the side for “chicken fingers” and dipping.  For infants, cook the pasta way past the box-recommended directions and cut up into small pieces.  Add olive oil and sprinkled mozzarella and/or parmesan, if desired.  This can be great for a finger food (for example rigatoni cut up into “O’s”) for babies starting around 9 months.  Apples, pears, or other fruits can always be added to puree chicken to add moisture and sweetness for your infants.

Baked Apples

Baked Apple + Apple SaucePerfect for a snack or even with oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast, this sweet treat tastes like the apple pie without the pie.  For those who prefer the crunch, they can enjoy their apple topped with a couple tablespoons of graham cracker crumble or granola.

Ingredients:  apples with core cut out, 2 Tbsp raisins, peaches, apricots or other fruit per apple, 1 tsp cinnamon per apple

Directions:

  1.  De-core apples, but do not cut all the way through to the bottom, just cut enough to fill apple with additional fruit.
  2. Peel apples to be served to babies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place apples in shallow baking dish, then sprinkle apple with cinnamon.  Fill baking dish with a thin amount of water at bottom.
  5. Bake for 15 mins or until apples are tender.
  6. Halfway through, remove dish and spoon water/apple juices over top of apples.
  7. Puree apple for infants.  Dice in pieces for an easy, soft, sweet finger food.

Peach Sauce

Peach sauce 1Have you ever wondered why those trendy baby food diets are so alluring?  If you have ever made or tasted fresh, delicious foods like this one, you will see why!  This is a fun alternative to typical apple sauce, and is amazing when the fruit is in season.  Using frozen fruit is an option.  You can also substitute other fruits: plums, nectarines, and mangos all work well too.

Ingredients:  Fresh peaches (or other fruit), plain Greek yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg

Directions:

  1.  Peel peaches (or other fruit), dice into pieces, and place in a pot on the stove.
  2. Add enough water to cover fruit.
  3. Boil until tender.
  4. You may want to cool in the fridge before pureeing, or keep warm.
  5. Enjoy your plain peach sauce OR add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (0% for you, full fat for your little one under age 2) and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Serve warm if desired.

“Home Fries”(Breakfast Potatoes) / Potato Scramble

Homefries 2Make your own “fries”, which are just as delicious, and way more nutritious, than deep fried potatoes.  Plus these have added fiber from the vegetables. Enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Ingredients:  1 medium diced white, red, or Yukon gold potato, ½ cup chopped onion, ½ cup chopped red and/or green pepper, eggs, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp paprika, pinch pepper to taste, cheese as desired.

Homefries 1
Eggs + Potatoes 2

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place all ingredients in baking dish and stir to mix ingredients so all are moist with the oil.
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender to fork and crispy on edges, making sure to stir potatoes every 10 minutes.
  4. Serve as a dinner side dish, or with an egg white omelet for a healthy balanced breakfast.
  5. OR place ¼ – ½ cup of potatoes into a non-stick pan or one coated with cooking spray.  Pour egg yolks or whole eggs (for those over 12 months of age, or just the whites for those who are watching cholesterol) over potatoes and move around skillet with spatula until eggs are fully cooled.
  6. Voila: Egg, potato, and vegetable scramble!
  7. Sprinkle with cheese and/or add other vegetables (broccoli, spinach) as desired.

Herbed Chicken and Rice

Herbed Chicken CookingThis is just good old chicken and vegetables.  The marinating and slow-cooking are the secrets to full tender flavor.

Ingredients:  1 pound raw chicken breast, 1 sweet onion-chopped, 1/2 bag baby carrots and/or 2 chopped yellow or orange peppers, 10 stalks of celery-chopped, olive oil, dill, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, brown rice (or wild or basmati)

Herbed Chicken Ground

Pureed chicken, squash, avocado

Directions:

  1.  Prepare rice as per package directions.  Set aside
  2. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to deep cooking/fry pan.
  3. Add onion and cook on medium heat, stirring often until onions brown.
  4. Add celery and continue to stir until celery begins to look a bit clear.
  5. Add carrots.
  6. Cut chicken into small chunks.  Add to bowl with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, ½ tsp garlic, 1 tsp dill.  Mix so chicken is thoroughly coated with spices.  Add more or less spices to your taste.
  7. If time permits, place the chicken-herb mixture in a plastic Ziploc or bowl and refrigerate from an hour to overnight.  This marinating enhances flavor!
  8. Add chicken to pan with 1 cup of water.
  9. Simmer mixture for an hour or more adding water if needed as it boils off.
  10. The longer the chicken cooks, the more tender it becomes.  It can be easily broken into pieces which is great for the young ones.
  11. Add portion to blender or food processor to puree.  The rice can be added or served separate.
  12. Use the puree for babies or serve like a chicken salad or pate on bread or crackers.
  13. Serve cooked chicken with or over rice for a hearty meal.

Banana Blueberry Smoothie

Banana Blueberry  (1)Give your baby yogurt without the added sugar of the store-bought brands.  Or add a straw and some ice to create a frozen protein-packed treat for yourself or your budding athlete.

Ingredients:  Greek or nonfat plain yogurt (Greek yogurt is thicker and higher in protein), fresh or frozen banana, fresh or frozen blueberries, protein powder

Banana Blueberry  (3)

Directions:

  1.  Combine 6 oz yogurt with 1 fresh or ¾ cup frozen banana, ¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  2. Add to blender or food processor to puree.
  3. Use full fat yogurt for kids under 2, low-fat or non-fat for older kids and adults
  4. For older kids and parents looking for extra protein, add a scoop of whey or other protein to the shake. 

Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Vegetable Macaroni servedThis white/yellow dish will appeal to those picky eaters who don’t love their vegetables! It is a high-fiber, lower-fat version of the always-favored mac and cheese.  Serve with a salad or green vegetable to balance out the meal.

Ingredients1 cup uncooked whole wheat or rice pasta (over-cooked for the little ones; diced penne, rigatoni or elbows work well for finger foods), 1 cup fresh cauliflower finely chopped and steamed, 1 cup yellow squash (or acorn or butternut squash) cubed and steamed, 1 yellow pepper diced and steamed, 1 cup mild shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 1 Tbsp olive oil

Vegetable Macaroni

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta as per package directions.  I love using the brown rice shells.
  2. Steam all vegetables.  Make all items softer (steamed for longer periods of time) if you are cooking for younger infants.  Adult portions can be removed first and put aside.
  3. Add all ingredients to a nonstick, cooking-sprayed or olive oiled baking dish.
  4. Bake uncovered in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until cheese melts and/or bubbles and browns a bit.
  5. Add a small extra layer of cheese and a sprinkle of bread crumbs for a rich finish, if desired.  Broil in oven for additional 10 minutes until top browns.

Spicy Crusted Salmon

Spicy SalmonSalmon is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for baby’s brain development.   They offer improved brain function, mood, and heart-healthy for everyone.  Salmon is also very high in Vitamins D and B12.  The panko and spices will cut any “fish” taste that bigger picky eaters may dislike. After cooking, you can use the inside (plain) part for little ones if this is their first taste of salmon. 

Ingredients:  Wild salmon (a 12-16 oz fillet serves 3-4 big people or 6+ little people!), whole wheat panko or whole wheat breadcrumbs (Whole Foods makes a great whole wheat panko), olive oil, Cajun or Blackened Seasoning (or just salt and pepper to taste for those who don’t like spice).  If you can’t find this in a local store, mix together 1.5 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp garlic, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 Tbsp onion, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp salt to create your own spicy season mix.  Store mixture in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Directions:

  1.  Place ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl or dish.  Add one teaspoon of Cajun seasoning to bowl and mix evenly.  Use more or less to your taste.
  2. Coat salmon lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  3. Dip flesh of salmon into panko and spice mixture.  Place skin-side down on baking tray/pan that is non-stick, or coated with cooking spray or olive oil.
  4. Place in preheated oven at 450 degrees.  Cook for 12-18 minutes as desired.  Cook longer when serving to small children who should have well-cooked foods.
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What Would Bobbie Eat? Month 4

                Finally!!!!  The end of my third month and the beginning of my fourth meant it was time for my husband and I to share our exciting news!  We waited until we had the nuchal translucency screening test.  This is the test that occurs between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy and determines the risk for Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.  This test includes a detailed ultrasound which was amazing:  I got to see the baby moving around, crossing its feet, and waving its arms.  I saw the brain, the heart, and every part of its body in great detail, and I got to go home with an amazing profile picture.  The previous ultrasounds had only shown a single view and one picture.  This was just something else.  Of course they make your wait a week to get your results, and I remained worried every minute until I called to get the report.  Then it was TIME!

                I happened to be at a friend’s house when I got the good news, so I told her first.  Then I slowly began to share with family, other friends, colleagues, and clients.  It was exciting and a relief to no longer be “in hiding”.  Everyone was happy to hear about the pregnancy, but I was definitely a bit disappointed when those I told responded with, “I knew you were pregnant.”  Of course many suspected, and I knew that they did.  I must have been in a bit of denial, thinking that I was hiding my body better than I actually was.  One friend noted that my baggy clothing, which is not my usual style, was the giveaway.  Another friend knew something was wrong with the fact that I sat in front of her eating a buttered Health Muffin (made with whole grains and fruit, but nonetheless still large and high in calories) while explaining to her why Goldfish and other snack foods were not great choices for someone watching their weight.  She kindly waited to tell me this after she found out I was pregnant, but this was clearly not my usual behavior:  I do not consume large portions of carbohydrates at one sitting as the main part of my meal, nor do I slather fat on my food.  After she reminded me of this incident, I did recall almost feeling guilty talking about healthy food choices while stuffing my face with this breakfast.  One of my best friends noted that I sat right next to her fake drinking a couple of days earlier, but wondered why I ordered a Caesar salad.  I asked her, what’s wrong with a Caesar salad?  I ordered no croutons and got the dressing on the side, BUT I never asked if the dressing was made with raw egg.  I never even thought of that!  I am not perfect, and I am still learning every step of the way. 

A couple of clients responded with bit more negative comments.  Hearing them once was enough:  I understand my body was changing and that they sure took note, but hearing the below, sometimes more than twice from the same person, was not necessary.  Some examples were:

  • “Now you look like a ‘real person’, not pregnant, because you have a tummy and a tush.”
  • “You’re packing a caboose!”
  • “Now you have a butt!”  (Did I not have one before?  And is that a compliment or insult?)
  • “I knew you were pregnant because your behind was spreading.”
  • “I noticed your chest looked a lot bigger.”

All I can say is that it’s a good thing I had already come to terms with my weight gain and accepted that I was getting bigger, and this is all part of a healthy pregnancy.  I did learn that my clients and colleagues were scrutinizing my body more than I ever imagined, and were NOT shy about sharing with me.  I also wondered if they would make these comments to anybody, or just me because of my profession.

                This larger body of mine meant it was finally time for …..(drum roll, please!)…..Maternity clothes!  I couldn’t really hold off any longer as my tops and T-shirts were getting too short and even leggings were starting to dig into my belly and legs, leaving ugly and uncomfortable marks.  I did not have one pair of pants that fit at this point.  One of my friends took me to a great boutique in New York City called Veronique.  I was overwhelmed at first and didn’t know where to start, but because my friend just had a baby and the salesperson was so helpful, I was able to purchase a few great basics:  leggings, T-shirt, tank top, long sleeve shirts, and over-the-belly black pants.  It was strange:  I realized then that I would have to start building parts of my wardrobe basically from scratch.  This is why my second maternity shopping trip was to Target.  Who wants to spend tons of money on clothes that are temporary?  Not me.  Target was great for cotton T-shirt and tank tops, which I lived in the rest of the summer.  It was definitely a strange feeling to officially wear a full maternity outfit for the first time. But the comfort was amazing. 

                As I began to fill out my maternity wear, I was trying my best to practice what I preach and focus on eating healthy, balanced meals, but nausea, cravings, timing, and convenience often played opposing factors.  My go-to staple for breakfast has always been egg whites, oatmeal or whole grain cereal, and fruit.  I often have a 2-3 egg white omelet made in a Pam-sprayed pan, and about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal with a half a cup of fruit.  I do try to vary my fruit:  raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, banana, applesauce, watermelon, peach, nectarine, pineapple, etc.  Other times I have a 0% Greek yogurt instead of the egg whites.  One morning when I was out of both eggs and yogurt, I put a couple of tablespoons of natural peanut butter in my oatmeal for a bit of protein.  If my husband suggested bagels on the weekend, I wasn’t saying no to my scooped out all-grain bagel with low fat cream cheese and tomato.  A few times before a morning workout I grabbed a Dark Mocha Almond Kashi granola bar and a yogurt just because this was quick.  My mom had bought me the bars, which I normally wouldn’t buy or eat because they contain a lot of sugar.  I know many believe because an item is high in fiber and contains healthy ingredients that it must be “good for you”.  Yes, this bar does have positive attributes:  4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, but you must always take a closer look.  Read the list of ingredients for this item and you will find:  brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, evaporated cane juice crystals, evaporated cane juice syrup, and honey.  Each of these (except the honey) is a form of processed white sugar, and more than I would like to put in my body on a regular basis.  However, they were quick, easy, and gave me the energy I needed to get through a workout.  

                There were other times that I ate foods I wouldn’t consume on a regular basis.  For example, I don’t usually need a snack on a 2 hour car ride, but I sometimes I found myself starving to the point of feeling weak.  The best choice at a gas station or convenience store was often a Nature Valley granola bar.  As a rule, I don’t drink juice because it’s just empty calories without the fiber provided by intact fruit.  One day when I was on a boat with friends who were waterskiing, I had gone too many hours between breakfast and lunch.  I had not brought a snack, was basically stuck on the boat with only drinks on board, and famished.  So I had a juice box.  At least it was all natural and organic, and gave my body some calories until I could eat.  As soon as I sat down to lunch that day, I dove right into the warm bread and butter placed on the table.  I was giving into my cravings because I had not planned ahead and had allowed my blood sugar to drop.  That day I did not take the advice that I gave in my Month 3 blog!

                Although I was fortunate to not have suffered from horrible morning sickness, I still experienced terrible waves of nausea.  One morning this happened after my usual egg whites and oatmeal.  I ate a few saltines and felt better.  These crackers are refined white flour, but they helped!   I then grew very hungry for lunch.  I had cottage cheese and salad and again felt very nauseous.  One morning after a workout I ordered oatmeal and mixed berries for breakfast.  I sat down at a table with my husband to eat, went to take a spoonful of oatmeal, then almost gagged at the smell of it.  I had to push it far away from me, cover it up, and I ended up giving it to my brother.  I then proceeded to order a plain bagel with butter, ate the whole thing, and felt so much better afterwards.  Another strange eating experience occurred when I had a friend’s bridal shower and bachelorette party dinner in the same day.  For lunch, I sampled what was offered:  a piece of a frittata, granola with fruit and yogurt, and bites of sorbet-not bad, but not my usual fare.  When dinner came, I could barely touch anything that was on the table.  The chicken flat out repulsed me.  I took a couple of bites of spinach and macaroni and cheese, two fries, and a fork full of chocolate cake for dessert.  Not one thing tasted right, and this was at a restaurant where I usually love the food.  This all sounds weird, I know, and it’s nothing I could explain fully or understand until I experienced this nausea and food/taste aversions myself.  Each day had become a new adventure in eating that I was navigating the best I could with the knowledge I have. 

                My fourth month also brought me a bout of terrible lower back pain that exacerbated over a couple of weeks.  One Sunday it kept me in bed all afternoon, although I’m sure wearing heels all day Saturday did not help.  I called my OB-GYN to get a prescription for physical therapy.  I didn’t want my back to get worse, nor did I want it to lead to knee pain since I have 2 torn ACLs, one which I had surgically repaired over 5 years ago.  I understood that my posture was beginning to change, with my lower back curving more as my stomach progressively grew and protruded.  My expanding uterus was shifting my center of gravity, stretching and weakening my abdominal muscles and putting strain on my back.   I was carrying around more weight than my body had ever seen.   Adding a thorough stretching session before each workout and keeping yoga in my routine at least once a week seemed to do the trick, and my back was better within a couple of weeks.    It turns out that I had a lot of tightness in my body.  My hamstrings, hip flexors, and sides were particularly stiff.  This surprised me at first because I was expecting the opposite.  When a woman is pregnant, a hormone called relaxin is produced, which relaxes and looses the joints and ligaments in the pelvic area.  I have heard others women say that this has helped them feel more flexible during pregnancy.   For me it caused some instability in my spine, which led to pain.  All these shifts lead other muscle groups to work differently and harder.   This is what caused my added tightness.  This is not what I expected, but definitely makes sense now, and I am just glad I am feeling better and understand how to prevent and alleviate the pain.

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Thanksgiving Trim

Although some of us may have indulged in too many treats over Halloween, more of us have a greater struggle towards the end of this month as the official holiday season kicks off.  This year, however, you can try my Top Thanksgiving Stay-Trim Tips to overcome any Turkey Troubles.  Start the holidays off right with these healthy hints. 

1.  Instead of dark turkey meat, choose the white meat.  It is a lean protein that is lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories.

2.  Skip the skin.  This is the part of the turkey that is highest in fat, cholesterol, and calories. 

3.  Try a topping of cranberry sauce instead of gravy.  It has a great, sweet flavor and is lower in sodium, fat, and cholesterol than gravy.  Yes, cranberry sauce is often high in sugar and can add up quick in calories, so keep your portions small.  You can also try the Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce recipe below.

4.  Instead of cream and butter, mash your potatoes with skim milk and cholesterol-free margarine or spread.

5.  Try baked or mashed sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.  They are richer in minerals and vitamins, especially beta carotene, and have a lower glycemic index.  Their natural sweet flavor can be enhanced with just a pinch of cinnamon and don’t need milk and butter.  OR try roasted white or sweet potato “chips”.  Slice potatoes thin and place in oven drizzled with olive oil to bake. 

6.  Fill up on fruit or vegetable appetizers.  They are high in fiber and make you feel fuller longer.  This will help prevent overeating during the main meal. 

7.  If you are a guest at someone else’s house, spoil your appetite.  Have a significant filling snack before you go:  yogurt + fruit, a salad, vegetable soup, or even half a sandwich.  This way you will not arrive hungry at your dinner and will be less tempted by unhealthy options.

8.  If you are hosting Thanksgiving, you have the control (and your guests will thank you) to offer healthier options.  Serve a green salad and/or vegetable soup for beginning courses.  Make a vegetable, nut, and/or whole wheat-based stuffing.  Include another vegetable side, such a Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or zucchini. 

9.  Offer and/or choose healthy hors d’oeuvres.  Try vegetables (celery, tomato, peppers, carrots, broccoli) with lowfat dips (hummus, lowfat dressings) or whole wheat bread and crackers with lowfat, low sodium cheeses.

10.  Be on Portion Patrol, especially if you are eating family or buffet style.  Put everything on your plate first so you are aware of what you are eating.

11.  Plate Perfect for better balance:  Make sure 1/2 of your plate is filled with a vegetable, 1/4 with a lean protein, and 1/4 with a starch, preferably one that is high in fiber/whole grains. 

12.  Fruit for dessert–you will be surprised how popular this will be, especially a fresh fruit salad.  Try the baked apple recipe below and avoid the high-fat pie crust of apple pie.

13.  Work out!  A lot of gyms ARE open on Thanksgiving day, so get in a good sweat before you sit down for your meal.  OR make sure you work out Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week.  If you are away and/or not near a gym, go for a walk, run, jog, do a workout video and/or play an exercise/active video game.

14.  If you DO indulge on Thanksgiving, remember it is just one day or one weekend.  Get back on track immediately to healthy eating and exercise habits. 

 Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

Try this cranberry sauce, not only on your turkey over the holidays, but as a flavorful addition to meals, snacks, or desserts!  Customize with your choice of some of the below ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed (with soft or brown ones removed) 

1 cup orange, apple, or white grape juice concentrate

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1/4 cup raisins, dried apricots, dried figs or dried dates

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt (if desired)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.

2.  Stir frequently, as the cranberries will burst open and gel together.

3.  Simmer for about 30 minutes at reduced heat.

4.  Serve warm or chilled, and ENJOY!

 **Makes about 8 servings of 1/4 cup. 

Baked Apple Recipe

Try this sweet, healthy alternative to apple pie on Thanksgiving or any time during the year.

-6 apples (choose your favorite variety!)

-1/2 cup raisins and/or dried apricots

-1/4 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans (or other nut)

-3/4 tsp grated orange zest

-3/4 cup water

-3/4 tsp powdered cinnamon

-3/4 tsp powdered nutmeg 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Remove apple cores and peel around core opening.  Place apples in shallow baking pan.  Stir together raisins, nuts, and zest in a small bowl.  Add water and spices to saucepan and heat until it boils.   Simmer at low heat for 2 minutes.  Fill each apple core with nut mixture.  Spoon the hot mixture over each apple.  Place pan in oven for 30-35 minutes or until apples are soft.  Enjoy!

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What Would Bobbie Eat? Month 3

Month 3

                I could not believe how fast my body was changing.  Not only was I getting a tiny bump, the rest of me was transforming.   My waist, hips, and chest were all beginning to expand.  I was quickly growing out of my clothes, piece by piece.  This was clearly evident when packing for the beach one morning.  Early in the summer I had bought a beautiful royal blue silk chiffon strapless dress that had a fitted bodice, higher waist, and fuller A-line skirt.  I slipped it on no problem, but when I went to zip it up, I couldn’t get the zipper past my rib cage!  My ribs!?!?  I had not thought about that part of me expanding.  Then there were my favorite shorts:  I have a few pairs of the same style because they (used to) fit so great.  Well, at that time, the only ones I could comfortably zip up was a blue linen pair, which, I guess, for some reason, were more stretched out than the others.   As for jeans, they just were not happening, which was fine because it was so HOT out that I was happy to be sporting flowing dresses and my one pair of shorts.  I did have two looser fitting dresses that I attempted to wear.  The problem was that they both had more of a cinched waistband.  When I wore each of them to dinner, on two separate evenings, I got a stomach ache at the table and couldn’t wait to get home and take them off.  Lesson learned:  It is best to be comfortable!  I stuck with the dresses I had pre-pregnancy that seemed to work, the couple elastic-waist ones I bought early on in my pregnancy, and I took a trip to Bloomingdales to purchase a few more items.  I did tell the sales associate that I was pregnant in order for him to best assist me.  We actually did well that day:  I was able to wear the stretchy, loose dresses and tops that I bought that trip throughout the rest of the summer. 

                Then we come to gym clothes.  They are all made of Lycra so should stretch and be no problem, right?  SO wrong.   I LIVE in Lululemon and Nike gear between being a Personal Trainer and working out myself.  There were definitely a few of my more fitted tops that I stopped wearing:  no need to draw attention to my stomach.  I was a bit surprised when one Saturday morning at Soul Cycle I couldn’t seem to get comfortable on my bike.  I kept adjusting my pants and moving around in my seat to the point that my husband tapped me on the shoulder to make sure I was okay.  The problem was one of my favorite pairs of Lululemon pants:  the waist band was too tight, uncomfortable, and constricting.

                I gladly retired some of my workout items, favoring the more baggy tops and my Nike pants, which sit a bit lower on my waist than the Lululemon ones.  BUT, it didn’t even occur to me that I would need bigger sizes yet until one day I went into the Lululemon store to buy another color of one of my baggy tops.  It just so happened that they didn’t have my OLD size, so I went ahead and tried a size up…..and it fit perfect.   I hadn’t quite accepted that I went up a size until the next week when I went to gym and had forgotten a top.  Good thing Equinox has a shop in their gyms.  I went right for the larger size:  yep, it fit just right.  When I told my husband I was officially larger, he came home with a Lululemon gift card for me, which was so sweet.  And he keeps telling me that I am PREGNANT, not large or fat.  I know this, but it is still nice to hear. 

                As for my workouts, they have definitely changed some, and I have dialed them down quite a notch.  I am only spinning at Soul Cycle once a week and wearing my heart rate monitor during class.  I am trying to get in two strength workouts (45 -60 minutes), two cardio workouts (30-45 minutes), and a yoga class each week.  This is my goal, but honestly, it just hasn’t been happening every week, and my intensity has decreased.  I am no longer doing intervals and trying to get my heart rate up higher.  In fact, I take longer rests between sets to keep my heart rate down.  I am listening to my body.  If I feel exhausted, I take a nap.  If that means there is not enough time in my day for a workout, then I am ok with that.  I understand that my body is not the same right now.  Proof of this is in getting up to my apartment.  Walking up the two flights of stairs carrying groceries is enough to make me breathe heavier, elevate my heart rate, and render my legs temporarily fatigued!

                I was so happy that this third month was the last month attempting to “hide” my pregnancy.  It was just getting too hard covering my body, and the glances and comments started to increase.  One of my husband’s friends asked him, “Is your wife pregnant?  We noticed she wasn’t drinking and she doesn’t have her 6-pack anymore.”  Ok, so I obviously was not drinking, but I WAS keeping my body covered.  I have to admit it did hurt a tiny bit to know that my body was being studied that hard by others, and they were clearly noting my expanding and morphing body.  As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I had decided that we were not sharing our news during the first three months.  I told him to tell anyone who asked that I was just getting fat.  He’s not a good liar, and didn’t feel anybody would believe that anyhow with my profession.  Here is my opinion of a good rule to follow:  If you suspect someone is pregnant and they are NOT telling you, then they do not want to tell you, so keep your mouth shut, mind your own business, and wait patiently to be told! 

               When I went to visit one of my friends this summer I was wearing one of my belly-hiding wrap dresses, but as we hugged hello, I saw her eyes give me the once over.  She then told me my chest looked huge.  I replied by saying, “I know, isn’t this a great dress?”, knowing full well that she had a clue on the true story.  Then there was my husband’s best friend who just wouldn’t leave me alone, and felt the need to comment any time we shared a meal with him.  I heard: “Bob, what are your eating tonight?”; “Bob, I got my eye on you!”; “Bob, are you drinking your wine?”; “Bob, BREAD? PASTA?  That’s not like you!”  I just started ignoring him and telling him to shut up!  Of COURSE it wasn’t like me….I have never been pregnant before and had anything but my head dictating my food choices. 

                I was eating and craving more carbohydrates.  Menus were definitely limiting.  When faced with the options of beef, fried/breaded chicken, or high-mercury fish, I chose pasta a couple of times this summer.  Many people have asked me if I have had any weird cravings while being pregnant.  The only thing that I have craved a bit more has been carbohydrates.   Why do we pregnant women have these cravings?  Is there a biological or scientific explanation?  The answer is only a maybe.  About half of all pregnant women report cravings.  These cravings run the gamut from non-food items to salty or sweet foods.  Hormones may play a role, as they do affect our senses of taste and smell, which in turn, can affect which foods appeal more or less to us.  Hormones can also influence emotions which may lead some of us to turn to food for comfort. 

                Certain cravings may be related to dietary deficiencies.  For example, a condition called pica is when one craves non-food items such as ice, toothpaste, paint chips, dirt, chalk, clay, or coffee grounds.  Although none of these foods contain iron, pica often occurs when iron deficiency or iron-deficiency anemia is diagnosed.  Low magnesium levels may lead to chocolate cravings.  Those who have low levels of essential fatty acids may experience decreased cravings once they begin taking an Omega 3 supplement.   A desire for red meat may indicate a deficiency in protein or iron.   On the same note as cravings, aversions may be correlated to foods that can be harmful to pregnancies, for example: coffee, alcohol, soda, or animal proteins, such as chicken, which are at risk of carrying food-borne illnesses. 

                The evidence for biological or scientific causes behind food cravings or aversions is more anecdotal than research-based.  For this reason, it is safe to give into any food cravings in moderation.  An occasional piece of chocolate or cup of ice creams is just fine, as long as these items are part of a mostly balanced diet.  Avoid skipping meals, make sure to keep snacks handy, try smaller, more frequent meals to avoid drops in blood sugar, and keep up with a regular exercise routine that works for you.  All of these will help decrease intense cravings!  Of course, if you are concerned about cravings, meal planning, or deficiencies, consult your doctor, or make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to review your eating habits.

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What Would Bobbie Eat? Month 2

Month 2

Back to Reality and New York

I came home from vacation with a couple of extra pounds.  Was it the food? Water-retention from flying?  OR the baby?   A week later at the doctor’s office, it was a total of 3-4 pounds.  I asked her if weight gain this early in the pregnancy was “normal”, and she said it was “normal for me”, as all pregnancies are different.  I didn’t love this answer, and after this visit was when I decided to download the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting onto my iPad.  My husband asked me, “Don’t you already know all this stuff?”  Honestly, yes, I knew and had heard a lot from friends, clients, and my studies.  I had not memorized or paid attention to every detail like I wanted to at this point.  I wanted to know EXACTLY what was going on every week with the baby and my body, and what was in store for me.  Seeing the ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat, and having the doctor confirm that there truly was a BABY in there, finally made it all REAL. 

          Then there was the not so fun part:  blood work.  I am fine having my blood drawn.  I usually just turn my head away, and deal with it, but TEN vials were a bit much for me to handle.  I got so nauseous and dizzy and felt like I was going to pass out.  Yes, I had eaten a full lunch before the appointment, but the nurse still had to give me that awful, sweet, orange glucose (sugar) solution, which was so disgusting I thought it would make me more nauseous.  I feared this could be the beginning of terrible morning sickness.  She made me sit still until I felt better then resumed the blood draw in my left arm, as my right arm was tapped out!   After the color returned to my face and I was able to stand, my husband and I left our first appointment very happy and in awe.  It was weird getting used to saying the words “I’m pregnant!” and “We are having a baby!”  We would look at each other in awe and laugh each time one of us said it.

Summer and the Beach

My husband and I have been renting a beach house with friends for years.  My friends know me and my body, and are aware that I am not shy wearing a bikini by the pool or on the beach.  I also knew that their eyes would be on my eating and drinking habits.  Since we are one of the last couples among our friends to have kids, they have been watching my food and beverage choices for months, if not years now.  I KNEW the first two months of summer would be a battle to keep my secret.

          During my second month I really started growing out of my clothes.  I had to buy a few new dresses and selected those that were either less fitted or had elastic waists.  Thank goodness for the heat, because I was able to LIVE in these dresses without worrying about fitting into pants, none of which were comfortable any longer.  I bought a pair of jean shorts that fit at the beginning of the second month but quickly got uncomfortable on my waist by the end of the month.  I knew it was time to put these away when I couldn’t bear to keep them buttoned or zipped on our drive home one Sunday night from the beach.  I bought a couple loose-fitting bathing suit cover ups too and kept them on a lot, even when it was too hot.  I would only take them off when I was alone with my husband, while laying in a lounge chair and keeping my belly covered with a magazine, or when I quickly slipped into the pool, trying to do so unnoticed.  This was annoying because some days it was SO hot and humid all I wanted to do was STAY in the pool.  A couple of days I just remained in the air-conditioned house and napped.

          One night in particular, I am sure I created a lot of suspicion.  It was a Saturday night after a busy day of running around and being in the humid heat.  I had fallen asleep before dinner and slept later than I wanted to.  After I got up and showered, I decided that I was too exhausted and nauseous to even move.  I dried my hair, got back into bed, sent my husband to dinner alone with our friends, and I stayed under the covers the rest of the night, without eating a thing.  This was so NOT like me at all, nor was it what I really wanted to do.  I was listening to my body, which was telling me I could not move!

Nausea and Cravings

          Fortunately, I did not suffer from the terrible morning sickness that I have seen some of my friends endure.  There was no puking on the subway platform on the way to work or crippling nausea that prevented me from eating or caused weight loss.  I did experience (and still do have) waves of nausea.  My sense of smell was heighted, and the smell of cigarettes did and still does make me feel like vomiting.  I often hold my breath as I walk down Manhattan streets during the day while people are outdoors on their smoke break.  There were some hours during some days that I just couldn’t eat and had horrible nausea.  One morning I sat typing on my computer while popping Saltines, which seemed to help.  Chicken was something that I couldn’t even look at for a few weeks without wanting to gag.  Dairy was the one food group that I did start craving and eating more of during this month.  Before I was pregnant I was not eating much dairy at all.  Now my fridge is always stocked with 0% Greek yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese, which I use as part of my meals or snacks.  I know the baby and I need our calcium!

                I do not miss alcohol or coffee.  The couple of sips that I had taken of each tasted awful and bitter to me.  I know that I am “allowed” to have at least one cup of coffee per day while pregnant, but honestly, it doesn’t taste the same without Splenda or Stevia in it.  What can I say:  I just don’t like the taste of sugar in my drinks….I’ve tried it!  And I prefer not to drink empty calories.  I do love drinking unsweetened tea with lemon, but I read that too much green tea may block the body’s absorption of folic acid.  Other herbal teas may not necessarily be 100% safe either.  This has been totally fine because I am content with water and seltzer with lime or lemon.  I have also discovered a new drink: green juice!  In the past I was not a fan of juicing because I rather eat my vegetables and fruit to reap the benefits of the fiber and other phytonutrients available in the intact plants.  But with my nausea and cravings and lack of my morning coffee or tea, I decided to try a “green” juice for the first time.  This juice is offered at many health food stores and juice bars-I have yet to make my own.  It contains spinach, kale, apple, cucumber, celery, and I add lemon and ginger.  The small ends up at about 200 calories.  It’s been perfect for me this summer as a pre-workout snack, or to rehydrate and get in some carbohydrates after my workout.  (There will be more to come later on my “new” pregnancy workout routine.)  I swear I feel energized by all the green nutrients I’m getting into my body.  Like I said, I do not usually like to drink my calories, but I also know that I need about 300 additional calories per day while pregnant and this has been a great, healthy way for me to add extra.

          Other foods just taste weird, including a certain ice cream.  There is one particular flavor, called “Moosetracks” that I really enjoy.  It is vanilla ice cream, with mini peanut butter cups, fudge, chocolate chunks, and who knows what else-I just know it tastes great.  I usually have a few bites of my husband’s when he buys it.  One night this summer when he brought it home from the shop, it tasted different to me.  I figured that was because it was a bit warm and had melted.  A few weeks later, I was dying to try it again, so I actually ORDERED MY OWN one day after lunch. (I NEVER do this!)  Well, it was a waste because I took a few bites and threw it away.  Once again it tasted ODD or off.  I was so disappointed, and I still don’t get it!  On the other hand, Bloomingdales frozen yogurt still tastes amazing.  This is a treat that I’ve allowed myself a bit more often since being pregnant, maybe once every 2-3 weeks.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it is a soft serve plain-flavored yogurt.  Yes, it still has plenty of sugar added which is why I don’t go there too often.  My favorite is ordering it with honey and granola, a combination that my husband introduced to me years ago when we first started dating.  Just for the record, I always only get a small.  One of my Nutrition mottos has always been:   Everything is ok in moderation!

          On that note, let’s discuss bread.  Before I was pregnant, I was moving away from processed foods and included very little bread in my diet.  Now that I have had a bit of nausea, and I’ve found that I must eat a full meal before my morning workouts, I am definitely eating more.  Whole wheat English muffins with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese has been a great, quick go-to breakfast in the mornings when I’m in a rush and don’t have time to make my usual oatmeal/hot cereal and egg whites.  I will also have a piece of bread if out to lunch or dinner and I’m starving, BUT only if the bread is warm and delicious.   Otherwise, I just don’t feel the extra calories are worth the splurge.   Cold, hard, white bread or rolls do nothing for me.  I prefer to stay hungry and wait for my main course! 

          Then there are bagels.  Bagels had been such a rare occasion food for me.  If I ate them five times a year that would be a lot.  Then one Saturday morning I saw my husband eating his favorite onion bagel with chive cream cheese, lox, and tomato.  It looked soooo good to me that I had to have a bite.  I tried to stay away from the lox but probably got a tiny taste.  (Consumption of refrigerated or smoked fish is not advised during pregnancy as it may be contaminated with Listeria.)  Meanwhile:  I HATE onion bagels and chive cream cheese, but it tasted so good that the next morning I decided that I wanted a bagel.  That Sunday we attempted to drive to one bagel shop, but the traffic was so bad that we turned around.  Then we tried another store one town over, and the line was out the door.  Two things my husband hates are traffic and lines, especially when he is hungry.  I swear:  he is worse than a baby or a pregnant woman when he is starving, so we had to feed him quick!  We finally ended up at a third restaurant, and I got my bagel.  Of course, it was whole wheat, scooped out, with low-fat cream cheese and tomato.  Definitely still high-calorie, but as healthy as I could make it.  It was delicious!  I made sure to skip the bread at lunch and dinner that day.  And yes, I have had about 2 or 3 other bagels since then.

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What Would Bobbie Eat? Month 1

Month 1

          Of course I had no idea I was pregnant until I finally took a test.  I still wasn’t convinced until I went to the doctor, saw the ultrasound, and heard my baby’s heartbeat.  I was concerned that it could take us awhile to get pregnant, but I was clearly mistaken.  During my first 4 weeks, I was practically clueless to early warning signs.  BUT hindsight is always 20-20, so here is what I noted:

I remember getting dressed for Mother’s Day and feeling that my favorite J Brand jeans were a bit tight, and that my new cream-colored Marc Jacobs sweater kept lifting up slightly to reveal too much of my stomach.  (My Mom kindly shared at a later date that she had noticed this too!)  I definitely did not recall the sweater being too short when I bought it.  At this point, I was just barely pregnant.  As the time drew closer to expect my period, I figured I had PMS, since I often had symptoms up to 2 weeks beforehand.  I had the usual bloating, breast tenderness and swelling, and couple pound increase on the scale.  I did not notice anything too crazy at all.  At that time I was also very excited and preoccupied getting ready for a long weekend trip to Paris.  It would be my first time there!  When I clearly missed my period (in the past it came like clockwork), I had a good feeling I could be pregnant, but continued packing for my trip.  The doctor wouldn’t see me until I was at least 6 weeks along anyhow, so it was all I could do to carry on with my Paris plans.  At this point I already packed a couple of more forgiving outfits, as I felt pretty bloated.  (Although I was not aware at the time, I found out from the doctor that early weight gain in pregnancy is NOT baby weight at all, but instead due to changes in hormone levels.) 

Eating, Exercising, and Napping (!) in Paris

I had an amazing trip and enjoyed every second of my time in Paris.  My eating and exercising habits while there were a reflection of both my travel habits and suspected pregnancy. 

  1.  I did not drink.  Well, I never ordered a glass of anything for myself and only had a couple of sips of my husband’s wine during the whole trip.
  2. Breakfast was easy:  It was offered at our hotel, where I had hard-boiled egg whites with herb and olive oil tomatoes and fruit just about every morning.  And yes, I did have a number of bites of chocolate croissants some mornings…..It was Paris-tough to resist.  I AM human and do believe all things are ok in moderation.  Besides, it wasn’t like I could enjoy the French wine or cheeses. 
  3. Lunches were on the go between shopping and sightseeing, but I stuck to my normal fare:  salads with chicken most days, avoiding the bread when placed on the table, if possible.  Some days I couldn’t resist if I was starving, it had been awhile since breakfast, and the bread was warm.   I was careful with cheese, avoiding it for the most part, as I was uncertain which ones were pasteurized in Paris.  In the United States most cheeses are pasteurized; however, it never hurts to ask at restaurants.  (In fact, I was recently at Southfork Kitchen in the Hamptons, and was happy that I inquired: The salad that I wanted contained unpasteurized cheese, but they were happy to hold the cheese for me.)
  4. Dinners were out every night.  The first night was the hardest, as we had dinner with my husband’s cousins.  I pretended to sip wine, and I couldn’t eat much of what was a delicious, but pregnancy-limiting menu:  lots of cured meats and raw and high-mercury fish.  I ended up eating mostly vegetable-based items then having a pineapple dessert, and finishing it myself.  I also took a few extra bites of my husband’s late night banana and Nutella street crepe.  This is SO unlike me (usually a couple of tastes of sweets work just fine) but I was starving due to my lack of protein in my main course.  The rest of our dinners were great.  I was able to select low-mercury fish, salads, vegetables, and continued to taste my husband’s desserts (He has a HUGE sweet tooth).  It was the fresh fruit that we both loved most anyhow!  The berries grown in the South of France were unlike anything we had ever tasted before-so sweet!
  5. Exercise: There was no gym at our hotel, but I did bring some exercise bands.  I did a 20-minute workout in our room one morning while my husband slept late.  Band work, lunges, crunches, planks and pushups can be done anywhere.  I was even a bit sore the next day!  Other than that, I could NOT motivate to do much more.  We walked for MILES every day, a couple of those days in super hot weather.  One day, I think I bought bottles of water from street venders every 30 minutes.
  6. Sleep:  I slept late every day and had a hard time waking up.  The one thing that tore me out of bed was that breakfast ended at a certain time.  Not that we couldn’t grab something on the go, but it was just easier to eat and take care of breakfast before venturing out for the day.  I will make it a point to share that I NEVER skip breakfast, or a meal for that matter.  (I also have to make sure my husband is fed, or else he quickly turns into a hungry monster!)  I especially needed my energy on this trip:  Paris is a walking city, like New York.  Sure we took some trains and cabs, but mostly walked.  I NAPPED EVERY SINGLE DAY after getting back to the hotel.  I NEVER nap, at least not since college or grad school.  Every night before dinner, I would pass out on the couch or bed.  Jetlag and travel may have contributed, but that was definitely my pregnancy rearing its early warning signs.   This was a whole different feeling of “tired”.
  7. Shopping:  Yes, Paris had beautiful shops and clothing stores, but I was uncertain what the months ahead would hold for me.  I ended up only buying a button down khaki shirt dress, which definitely had a bit of extra room, and a straw hat, which I knew I would use plenty in the summer days to come. 
  8. Photos:  I noted that my stomach was sticking out a bit more than normal.  Some of our pictures include me with my purse or shopping bag in front of my body or show me from my waist up only.  Any full length pictures have me in a less-form fitting outfit!
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What Would Bobbie Eat? Background Information

Some Background Information

          Since I am very superstitious and a bit of a worrier (ok, maybe an understatement?), my husband and I decided to wait the full three months to share our news with most of our family and friends.  That is also why I waited to start this blog, so now I have to catch you up and fill you in.

I will start by explaining that yes, this pregnancy was planned.  Yes, I am a Nutritionist, in the medical field, and I specialize in Pediatric and Pre- and Post-Natal Nutrition.  I have studied pregnancy and child-rearing for years.  I have counseled numerous Moms and Dads-to-be, new parents, and children on improving their diets to best meet their needs.  I have experienced pregnancy attempts, pregnancy, birth, and child rearing right beside many of my close friends who already have kids.  I do know, however, that nothing compares to ME going through this miracle myself and watching and feeling my changing body every day.  I am excited and nervous all at the same time, with every day presenting itself as a new adventure.  I do know that this will make me a better Nutritionist, as I can truly say I understand what my clients are feeling as they embark on their journeys.  

          Let me share a bit about my personal concern with my weight and my body image.  I started taking dance lessons at age 7 and continued through sophomore year in college.  Taking tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and pointe along with student teaching sometimes had me at the studio for over seven hours per week.  Then there were the weekend competitions, performances, and recitals.  So I basically grew up in front of a mirror, constantly aware of my body and those of my classmates.  My Mom’s house had tons of mirrors too: all around the kitchen under the cabinets, on the closets, and even the refrigerator was mirrored.  This was great for checking out the back of my hair and outfits and perfect for rehearsing my dance routines.   In the summer I  traded in my tights and leotards for bathing suits.  When I wasn’t taking dance lessons, I was at day camp, then a camp counselor, swim instructor, and lifeguard.  I was constantly in body-hugging gear.  I noticed all changes as I grew up and out and all over, but I was always in good shape and always ate well.  A few curves came, and I got used to them.  A couple extra pounds would come on, but then I would eat better, and they would come off.  I was always very aware of my own body.  Yes, there were a few times in my life when I gained a bit of extra weight, for example freshman year of college and my first year at grad school in NYC.  But, as I adjusted to new surroundings and situations, my weight always went back to normal. 

          So, this is the very first time in my life that I will see the numbers on the scale go as high as they will.  I am totally okay with the weight gain, because I am fully aware that the baby plus the placenta and all the extra tissue and fluids together add up to the excess pounds.  Here is the breakdown:

  • Baby:  7-8 pounds
  • Placenta:  1-2 pounds
  • Uterus:  2 pounds
  • Amniotic Fluid:  2 pounds
  • Breast Tissue:  2 pounds
  • Increased Blood Volume:  4 pounds
  • Maternal Tissue Fluid:  4 pounds
  • Maternal Nutrient Stores and Fat Tissue:  7 pounds

This all adds up to 29-31 pounds.  For an overall general guide, you can use your pre-pregnancy weight to determine your recommended amount of weight gain. 

  • 25-35 pounds if you are at a normal, healthy weight, BMI 18.5-24.9
  • 28-40 pounds if you are underweight, BMI less than 18.5
  • 15-25 pounds if you are overweight, BMI 25-29.9
  • 11-20 pounds if you are obese, BMI over 30

(To determine your BMI, take your weight in pounds, divide by your height in inches squared, then multiply by 703.  For example, if we take someone who is 5’5” (65”) and 130#, BMI = 130/(65×65) x 703, this equals 21.6, putting BMI in the normal range, with a recommended weight gain of 25-35 pounds.)

REMEMBER:  Every woman and each pregnancy is VERY different.  These are recommendations and guidelines only.  Your doctor will help in determining if your weight gain is appropriate. 

          Yes, I have had the above facts memorized for years, and answered those questions on many exams.  I get that I have to gain for the health of my baby and me.  That doesn’t mean however, that it doesn’t feel strange or weird because it really does!  My body started to feel off immediately. 

          I have to admit, one of my major concerns was my professional image as a Nutritionist and Trainer.  I am a huge believer in practicing what I preach, so I did not want my clients to think that I was NOT following my own advice, and I was gaining weight!  But there was no way I was going to announce my news before I got through my first trimester.   I started doing the best I could to dress in order to hide my extra weight…that included holding my bag and other objects in front of my stomach on a regular basis (which I later would find out did NOT go unnoticed).

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