So, I don’t know about you, but once I was pregnant, I was exhausted. And I would go on Pinterest and look for healthy meal ideas, and everything just took so much energy. I would just stare at the recipes and think, “There’s no way that’s happening.” This was particularly true in my first and third trimesters. Add in that you can’t eat many easy foods like deli meat during pregnancy, and lunchtime was a struggle for me. So, I wanted to give you some practical and easy pregnancy lunches that you can make. It is super important that you eat as well as you can during your pregnancy, but we want to be realistic too.
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Information and Meal Plans for Pregnancy
If you’re struggling with what you should be eating and how you can have effective nutrition while pregnant, I would highly recommend checking out The Prenatal Nutrition Library! This is an amazing program for the first through the fourth trimester. It’s run by Ryann Kipping, who is an MPH and RDN, and her goal is to help keep pregnant people on track with great prenatal and postnatal nutrition.
The Prenatal Nutrition Library has both monthly and yearly subscriptions, so it’s easy to sign up regardless of where you are in your pregnancy. When you sign up, you get access to a library full of tons of topics like how to eat specific foods, what you should be eating, and how to deal with things like heartburn. You also get access to a monthly Q&A with Ryann and a forum of women going through what you’re going through. Meal plans for each trimester are also available or included depending on if you have a monthly or annual membership.
I’ve been digging into The Prenatal Nutrition Library for weeks now, and I highly recommend it! You can sign up here!
There are some important ingredients and types of food that you’ll want to think about when compiling your pregnancy lunches. You need protein, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Calcium is also important. So, to check those boxes, some great foods are:
- Lean chicken and turkey
- Beans (lentils, chickpeas, black beans, etc.)
- Baby Kale
- Whole wheat and high fiber bread
- Steel cut oats
- Wild rice
- Unsweetened peanut butter
- Reduced fat cheese
- Unsweetened plant-based milk (almond milk, soy milk, etc.)
- Low-sugar yogurt
This is by no means a comprehensive list. This is just to give you ideas for what might work for your meals.
Great Pregnancy Lunches
The goal is to find healthy meals that utilize ingredients like those above but that won’t take too much of your precious energy. So, I went on Pinterest and did some digging. Some of these lunches are simple and don’t require a recipe, but I’ve added recipes when needed.
Nut butter and fruit sandwiches
This is a great option for those days when you really just have no energy. Get some great whole wheat bread (or gluten-free bread) and some unsweetened peanut butter. Add some bananas to the mix, and you have an easy and healthy pregnancy lunch. Same goes for almond butter and apples.
Salads are great because you can add in some protein and some great veggies, and you’ve got the perfect lunch. Hard-cooked eggs, cubed chicken, or tofu all make great proteins. You can add shredded cheese (avoid unpasteurized cheese), nuts, and/or some fruit. Honestly, throw in whatever you have on hand that sounds good together.
Eggs are such a great source of nutrients for you and your growing baby. Frittatas are awesome because you can add in some extra goodness, like veggies, and create something absolutely delicious. Plus, you’ll typically have leftovers that you can freeze for another day!
Black Beans and Rice
A simple but nutritious pregnancy lunch. It doesn’t need to be too complicated either. My personal favorite is the black beans and rice by Cafe Delites. My only thing with this recipe is that the rice tends to need a little more time to cook. This could easily last you a few lunches.
If you’re really struggling with your energy level, you might find that a nutritious smoothie is your best option. The key to a good smoothie is keeping that balance between making it delicious and making it healthy. Personally, I use frozen fruit, vanilla Greek yogurt, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and kale. That’s a recipe that you can mix up in a million ways depending on the fruit you put in. If you use fresh fruit, I highly recommend adding ice. You also might want to add some basic protein powder. Just make sure it doesn’t have added sugar. This one is a great option for pregnant women. You can make a big batch of smoothies too, and just keep them in the fridge.
Oatmeal is another thing that can be made in a big batch, and you can really customize it to your tastes. One option that my nutritionist recommended was quick cook steel cut oats, and you can add vanilla, cinnamon, blueberries, and one tablespoon of maple syrup. You can also do overnight oats if you have the energy, which can be delicious and refreshing during the summer months.
Seriously, if you and your partner are already making something, you might as well make a little extra. Making a healthy salmon dinner? Cook an extra filet so you can have salmon salad or toast the next day. Making a great soup? Double the recipe so that you can heat some up tomorrow. Don’t underestimate the power of dinner leftovers as an easy pregnancy lunch.
Honestly, pregnancy lunches don’t need to be complicated as long as you’re getting the nutrients you need. Drink a glass of almond milk, eat a piece of fruit, and have some veggies with hummus. It’s okay to just munch as long as what you’re munching on is healthy. Also, personally, I’m a huge fan of breakfast at all times of the day. Greek yogurt with oats and berries is a perfectly acceptable lunch. Just take care of yourself to the best of your ability.
Looking for more easy recipes for when you’re pregnant? I’ve got you covered! And don’t forget to sign up for The Prenatal Nutrition Library so that you can feel confident about your prenatal diet!
Erin Lafond is a writer, website creator, and mom. She survived new motherhood by Googling things a lot, calling her mother, and embracing trial and error. Now, she shares her knowledge with all new moms. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and son (soon to be two sons!).