Staying healthy during COVID-19 is no joke, what with gyms closing, feeling more confined to your home, trying to eat up whatever’s in your pantry and reducing grocery store visits, etc. I feel like when I was saying I had “adjusted to my new normal” a couple months ago, I was really just trying to convince myself because really, I hadn’t adjusted at all and was still kind of resisting what our situation was. I feel like since then I’ve gotten into a good swing of things, which has been key for my general sense of happiness and wellbeing, and especially important since I’m pregnant and need to keep my little one fed and exercised and hydrated and happy.
I’ve been employing a few little “hacks” to make healthy eating easy during this time, especially since I’m trying to cram as many nutrients and minerals in me as possible lately! I have what a typical day in my life looks like (food-wise) these days, along with some tips for making your prep-work/grocery runs last, recipes broken down or listed and if you happen to be preggo (or not, seriously I’m basically just eating the exact same way I did before), some healthy snacks that keep the hangry beast at bay. All just pics snapped from my phone earlier this week!
Hot lemon water
I always start my day with hot water, lemon (a lemon juice cube, to be exact) & Himalayan pink salt. The lemon cubes are such a game changer for me because not only are they way more convenient and time-saving than squeezing a lemon every day, but I also know I’ve portioned out the same amount of juice every day too (rather than going for half a lemon or whatever measurement when there’s so much variability there!). This helps me so much with my digestion (key for me right now as my system is more sluggish since preggo), helps wake me up, gives me a boost of Vitamin C and especially important since I have issues with low blood pressure, the salt gently replenishes me first thing. I pour hot water in 2/3 of the way and stir it all in, then top up with cold water since I can’t be bothered to wait for it to cool!
I keep it pretty streamlined in the mornings and have a smoothie pretty much every day (I follow the Be Well By Kelly smoothie recipe structure!). I just make sure I combine fats, protein, greens, fruit and fibre—these days I’ve been really loving a little berry mix so for 2 servings, combine:
- 2 heaping handfuls of spinach
- frozen blueberries with either frozen cherries or strawberries
- 2 scoops of your protein powder of choice
- 2 tbsp nut butter
- 2 tbsp chia seeds or flax seeds
- 20 oz water
I find I need to snack a lot in the mornings so a smaller breakfast like this is perfect for me!
Coffee & snack
Since caffeine in small amounts has been given the green light medically for some time, there was no way in hell I was going to cut out coffee entirely while pregnant. I could write a moving poem about my love for coffee, it runs deep. The general guideline is to stay under 200 mg a day, which my doctor said was 1-2 coffees. To be safe, I usually have just one Nespresso capsule (which is about 60 mg) and have a second decaf later if I want a bit more coffee—this ensures if I have dark chocolate later, I’m still well below the limit. On the odd day I have two espresso capsules but that still puts me quite a bit under around 120 mg—anyway everyone needs to do what they think is safest but for me, I’m happy with my daily cappuccino! I used to only have nut or oat milk but since I can stomach limited amounts of dairy, I let myself have organic milk here since I’ve become pregnant.
I also have two “constipation cookies” (that’s literally the name for them, I’m not making it up—I don’t know how she found them, but my mum sourced these from like a Winnipeg radio site) that my mum first made for me and now Matt makes them for me. They’re packed with prunes, oats, flax, etc—just anything to keep me moving! As you know if you read my first trimester post, constipation has been a real issue for me. They’re tasty too so pregnant or not, if you want a healthy little snack or have digestive issues these are great!
One thing I’ve been doing every Sunday is to get a ton of fruit, cut it all up and mix it together (this is watermelon, peaches, raspberries, apple and mint)—not only does it mean that I have an easy snack on hand that doesn’t involve any prep work, but it means I’m using up my fruit before it gets too ripe or goes bad. Also, it means I’m getting lots of different nutrients since I’m combining a bunch of fruits—pectin, lycopene, antioxidants, Vitamin C, etc. I try to do this twice a week, usually with a melon at the start of the week and then if I need something to ripen (like a mango) do a smaller one mid-week. Fruit’s my life these days, which is funny because I didn’t eat a ton of fruit before being pregnant but it’s my top craving now (other than lox!).
Lentil shepherd’s pie
Since I’ve become pregnant I find I don’t really want meat like at all. I always ate largely plant-based to begin with but my taste for meat was still there—don’t really ever crave it now (except for fish still, I want lox like crazy and I do still get the odd craving for red meat particularly). Matt’s usually quite a carnivore but he’s been amazing about trying all different types of vegan or veggie recipes, and he’s been our go-to chef all quarantine. We’re trying to focus on these sort of big bowl, one-dish sort of meals, whether it’s a big casserole, a big pre-mixed salad, etc. It just makes for easy options when we’re working from home, they’re easy to portion out for the week and last well, and finally, easy to pack lots of nutrients into them!
This is from the Minimalist Baker, whose recipes are amazing—her site is crazy popular for a reason! One thing I’d suggest changing is to add more veggies (I would’ve added mushrooms and celeries) and to also add a bit of your mashed potatoes to the lentil base to make it a bit sturdier. So tasty though!
Nuts + seeds
I was on a pretty carb-restricted eating plan for a really long time before getting pregnant so definitely let myself eat lots of carbs now for the baby to grow, grow, grow (Matt and I have had to have some pretty serious talks about curbing the bagel issue in our house), but since I hit my second trimester, I try to focus on a lot more protein and fats since that’s what the little guy really needs right now. I’ve been reading The Whole 9 Months which has been a great resource for what nutritional needs your baby needs at different stages of your pregnancy, literally broken down week-by-week and month-by-month so that you have a good sense of what nutrients/building blocks they need most. I can feel him growing away in there—had some pretty debilitating ligament pain the last few days and can feel him getting bigger so trying to give him those building blocks!
Nuts have been a great snack for me and for anyone, they’re a great option during quarantine—they keep amazingly in the pantry, are a great source of energy and keep you full. I like to just mix some almonds, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate chips together for a later afternoon snack. Find I’m usually not as hungry in the later afternoon/evening so it’s just enough to tide me over for our longer walk we like to take in the afternoon and a workout if I’m working out that day (if it’s not, I have some Mary’s crackers with some cheese or something like that…main thing is to just eat whenever I feel a bit hungry).
Cookie + Kate is probably my favourite food blog of them all—her Italian Chopped Salad is my fave meal (we had it last week and I just added some hardboiled egg to it along with some chopped new potatoes to bulk it up a bit), and this quinoa salad is also amazing. We just added some black beans for extra fibre and protein for me, along with some chopped spinach, cubed feta and cherry tomatoes. So, so tasty! Makes lots of servings and again, packs well, uses up pantry items and nutritionally dense!
I usually have a couple squares of dark chocolate (Lindt’s raspberry dark chocolate is my fave) but Matt and I had gone to the island this day and he had picked up a chocolate chip cookie so we split it. It’s funny, I crave sweet things but when I have properly sweet sugary desserts (like cookie, pie, etc), I often find I feel pretty sick and that my system isn’t agreeing with it so try to limit it (which is a bit tragic because I kind of was looking forward to giving into some of those typical pregnancy cravings a bit more, but my body is just giving most of them a hard no)! Literally dry heaved from ice cream this weekend for about 3 hours. Fruit and dark chocolate seem to be good for me so far or the odd real fruit popsicle, and I’m going to try out this vegan lemon curd that I used to be obsessed with. Long story short, this was the only thing today my belly was kinda like blech over but thankfully, no dry heaving like the other day or major digestive distress afterwards! The worst.
Goodbye wine…goodbye margaritas…goodbye G&T’s…wistfully thinking of you and when we’ll be reunited this fall but until then, I’m making due with soda water on repeat. Again, while I’m craving a bit of sweetness my tastebuds/stomach don’t seem to like anything overly sweet, so I’ve just been squeezing some lime or lemon into a tall glass, adding a splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice and then topping up with soda water and a few ice cubes (usually muddled mint too which I’ve been loving but was too rainy this day to run upstairs to get it). I just keep topping it up with my litre of soda water (have a Soda Stream that gets used multiple times a day, go through the canisters like crazy) to dilute it as I go. Sometimes if I’m meeting my friends for a physically distanced hang in the park or something like that I just go pure soda water but finding I need to liven it up a little bit at this point!
And that’s it! I also just try to chug water throughout the day, but main thing for me from a pregnancy perspective is just never letting myself go hungry and trying to gradually up my caloric intake since the baby needs it at this point while also really focusing on nutrients, minerals and vitamins that the baby needs to grow his best. From a quarantine perspective, now’s such a great time to really figure out how to use up your pantry, to still eat lots of veggies but to put the prep work in off the bat so that it’s all mixed and ready to go and you’re not worrying about veggies or fruits spoiling, and making big-dish items that will portion out well over a few days!
Have you guys made any adjustments to your eating/cooking habits since COVID hit? Would love to hear! Tell me in the comments below.