A Complete Food Guide on How to Meal Prep for Pregnant Women

In this article, we gathered various studies to provide a complete guide on how to meal prep for pregnant women. Whether doing your own prep at home ordering healthy pre made meals, this article will guide you on what meals a pregnant woman should consume at the various trimesters of the pregnancy. Ordering pre made meals might be a good idea to save you time and energy while maximising nutrition and wellbeing.

Meal Prep Tips
A Complete Food Guide on How to Meal Prep for Pregnant Women
Huma Khurshid

Huma Khurshid

Consultant Nutritionist And Qualified Health And Fitness Writer

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Clearly, basic nutrition is important for all. However, there is no other time as crucial in terms of nutrition as during and after your pregnancy.

Generally, a diet filled with nutritious meals (containing the five food groups) can lead to a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery.

However, there is more to it as each trimester has different needs. Going into the specifics and figuring out what to eat and what to avoid in each of the three trimesters of pregnancy can be confusing, so we laid it all out in a digestible format below. 

That's why we're here with a detailed guide on what meals to consume in each of the three trimesters in a pregnancy. Read below to find out!

Meals To Eat During the First Trimester:

Women might feel lightheaded, weak, nauseous, and have morning sickness in the first three months of the pregnancy.

Following are some nutrients you should eat in the first trimester to fight such problems.

Folate-Rich Foods

All vitamin B groups hold significant importance during pregnancy; however, Vitamin B-9 (folate) and pregnancy come along way together. 

Folate is essential during pregnancy as it prevents congenital disabilities like spina bifida. Spina bifida is a genetic disability which happens when the brain and spinal cord formation does not develop correctly early in the first trimester, thus causing a birth defect. According to Mayo Clinic, folate deficiency is a major risk factor for developing spina bifida

Try to incorporate folate-rich foods naturally into your meals. Foods that naturally include Vitamin B-9 folate are vegetables, fruits, legumes, eggs, fish, and nuts.

Here are some meals ideas:

• Salmon, spinach, avocado, and asparagus salad

• Spinach, lentil and feta bruschetta

• Bean, pea, and lentil salad 

• Banana pancakes 

• Tuna with mango and orange salsa

Salmon with Sweet Potato from Love Yourself,
which you can order on Marvin's Den

Vitamin E

Vitamin E plays plenty of essential roles in a woman's body, starting from menstruation, ovulation, oocyte quality, and maturation.[1] So does during pregnancy, Vitamin E helps your body fight oxidative stress, strengthen the immune system, and maintain and create new red blood cells.

Research also backs up that adequate levels of Vitamin E in pregnancy can lower the risk of miscarriages in the first trimester.[2]

Try adding vitamin-rich foods to all three meals for a pregnant woman. For instance, order meals cooked in olive oil. You can top any meal prep with some additional sunflower seeds and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts). Moreover, ready-made meals that include leafy greens, eggs, oats, and vitamin E fortified foods are great options.

Bonus Tip: During the first trimester, try to add smaller portions but frequent meals into your diet.

Meals to Eat During the Second Trimester:

Your baby bump is starting to pop, and your power is returning to normal as the first trimester ends. In the second trimester, your enemies will be constipation, leg cramps, stretch marks, lower back pain, and Sinus congestion. Here's which meals will help alleviate these problems during the second trimester.

Iron-Rich and Fibre-Rich Foods

At the point when your bowels can't seem to get better, the best way to fight back is through consuming fibre!

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, leafy green veggies, and nuts can help you fight constipation

Moreover, meal prep for pregnant women in the second trimester is incomplete without iron-rich foods. Your body will need extra iron for the baby's red blood cells, too, as your fetus is growing day by day; those red blood cells will carry oxygen to the organs and tissues of you and your fetus. 

Your best options are meals that include dark leafy greens, dried fruits, eggs (especially the yolk), red meat, oatmeal, and legumes!

Calcium

Everyone knows calcium belongs to dairy products, right? Cheese, milk, cream, yoghurt, etc. However, other foods include calcium, such as seafood, beans, tofu, and dark leafy greens. 

Your little one needs calcium for its healthy bone formation.[3] If you don't consume enough calcium during pregnancy. In that case, your body will take out the calcium from your bones to supply to the fetus. This results in decreased bone mass and osteoporosis risk later in life.

Vitamin D and C 

Vitamin from sunlight isn't enough during pregnancy! Foods such as oily fish, red meat, Vitamin D fortified cereals, and eggs can help you to lift your Vitamin D levels.

Moreover, in your second trimester you will need Vitamin C to stimulate collagen production. Collagen helps the body stretching of the baby bump and helps to prevent stretch marks. [4]

You can eat a Vitamin D fortified cereal for breakfast or a bowl of high-quality yoghurt topped with Vitamin C friendly oranges, kiwi, and strawberries.

Bonus Tip: Keep yourself hydrated!

Meals To Eat During the Third Trimester:

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is mandatory for recovering back to normal after delivery. It heals wounds, supports blood clotting, and prevents serious bleeding during delivery. According to Harvard Health, leafy greens are the highest in Vitamin K. pregnant women should prefer having a meal of fresh green salad once a day!

Omega 3's 

According to American Pregnant Association, high levels of EPA and DHA have been shown to prevent pre-term labour and delivery. Moreover, Omega 3s play significant roles in developing the brain and retina of fetal. 

There is a wide variety of foods available from good vendors high in omega 3s. For instance, meals consist of salmon, mackerel, herring, oysters, sardines, and anchovies. 

However, you can go for vegan meals consisting of soybeans, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds for vegan options.

Protein Foods

During the third trimester, your baby starts to grow nails, hair, skin, and muscles. Protein acts as a main building block element to support healthy development. [5]

You can choose high protein ready-made meals such as roasted lamb, chicken fajita bowls, hummus, creamy mushroom and pork pasta, tofu and leafy green salad, lemon shrimp pasta, beef sandwiches, etc.

Bonus Tip: Avoid having large meals at dinner as it can trigger heartburn

Chicken Fajita bowl from tastily,
which you can order on Marvin's Den

What Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?

Processed foods

Low quality packaged foods

High sugar foods

Refined grains 

High-fat foods

Fried foods

Spicy foods 

Raw/undercooked meats

Raw eggs

Caffeine 

Conclusion

While a healthy balanced diet is the common denominator for all people, pregnant women need to take particular attention at not being deficient on certain nutrients at different stages of the pregnancy.

Do you feel like you wouldn't be able to ensure that you get the required nutrients by cooking the meals yourself? No worries, we've got a great option for you. Order pre made healthy meals or meal prep to stay away from the guesswork in nutrition and to save your time and energy during your pregnancy! 

Marvin's Den is a mobile app and a marketplace for meal prep and healthy pre made meals. On the Marvin's Den mobile app you can order from the best preppers in the UK!

Visit our website or install Marvin's Den mobile app on your Android and iOS and start sorting our your nutrition!

References:

[1] Mohd Mutalip, S. S., Ab-Rahim, S., & Rajikin, M. H.(2018). Vitamin E as an antioxidant in female reproductive health. Antioxidants, 7(2), 22.

[2] Shamim, A. A., Schulze, K., Merrill, R. D., Kabir, A., Christian,P., Shaikh, S., ... & West Jr, K. P. (2015). First-trimester plasmatocopherols are associated with risk of miscarriage in ruralBangladesh. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 101(2),294-301.

[3] Kumar, A., & Kaur, S. (2017). Calcium: a nutrient in pregnancy. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India, 67(5),313-318.

[4] Mercer, B. M., Abdelrahim, A., Moore, R. M., Novak, J.,Kumar, D., Mansour, J. M., ... & Moore, J. J. (2010). The impact of vitamin C supplementation in pregnancy and in vitro upon fetal membrane strength and remodeling. Reproductive sciences, 17(7), 685-695.

[5] Elango, R., & Ball, R. O. (2016). Protein and amino acid requirements during pregnancy. Advances in nutrition, 7(4),839S-844S.

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