Eating feeds more than just our bodies; food nourishes our aesthetic self as well. Foods to eat for pregnancy are best when they taste and look wonderful. In a busy life, it’s also helpful when such food can be prepared quickly! In the morning this is especially true, both because of our busy schedules, but also because many pregnancy women have to eat within minutes of waking or nausea sets in.
Breakfast is an extremely important meal during pregnancy, though eating breakfast can be extremely difficult because you feel gross and nothing sounds appetizing. However, most women find that if they eat breakfast anyhow they end up feeling better. A high-quality, high protein breakfast helps keep nausea at bay, and often is the difference between feeling pretty good and feeling horrible for the rest of the day. Without breakfast, blood sugars drop too low, making you feel nauseous, weak or exhausted. Empty calorie breakfasts, like white toast with jelly can do the opposite – spike blood sugar resulting in equally bad feelings.
Our body digests food best when we are calm and unrushed, so while I’m a big fan of fast breakfast preparation, I encourage you to sit down and enjoy, or get through, each bite! But if you don’t have a few minutes to eat in peace before you start your day, I still want you to get out the door with something healthy in hand! All of these suggestions for foods to eat for pregnancy reflect the particulars of nutrition during pregnancy while aiming for easy preparation. Some are easier to take on the road than others. And most make great pregnancy snacks as well!
What to do when its hard to eat breakfast
If eating breakfast is hard for you consider implementing these suggestions:
- Set breakfast out the night before so that there is no thought involved in the morning. Nothing is more paralyzing than trying to figure out what to eat when you feel terrible. If something is in front of you you can always take the first bite!
- Involve your partner or older children. Tell them to make it their job to be sure you have something ready to eat first thing in the morning.
- Experiment with different options, and make a list on your fridge of foods that go down well. If you find a successful breakfast stick with it. Daily variety is far less important here than a routine you can rely on.
- Drink spearmint or ginger tea, or lemon water, with your breakfast.
- If you need to eat on the run, stock your home with disposable plates and napkins so you do not feel the need to grab a pastry and go.
- Try eating things frozen. Many women find frozen fruit, nuts and partially thawed-muffins easier to eat.
- Take heart! You won’t always feel this way.
Pregnancy Breakfast Ideas
Here are some recipes and instructions for breakfast foods to eat during pregnancy. Some ideas require preparations made ahead or the night before, some do not. All options can be put together in 3 minutes in the morning without rushing. For days when our best-intentions don’t match up with our reality, there is a section of fast-foods and foods-on-the-run that will fuel your body rather than missing this all-important meal.
Be creative, and make modifications that work for you.
High Protein Muffin and Fruit
- Make Ahead: Prepare a batch of whole grain muffins with nuts. (A High Protein Carrot Muffin is one possible recipe. Something less ambitious would also be fine, but this gives you a great idea of the possibilities.) Freeze together in a large freezer-grade plastic bag or separately in two layers of plastic wrap.
- Stock Your Home: Purchase enough fruit for one week.
- The Night Before: Take one muffin out of the freezer and place in your fridge or on the counter top.
- In the Morning: Enjoy your muffin and fruit. If you find that you need a more filling breakfast add a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter (peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond butter), a slice of hard cheese, or 1/2 a cup of yogurt.
Cottage Cheese and Apple Butter on Whole Wheat Toast
- Stock Your Home: Add cottage cheese, apple butter, and whole wheat bread to your shopping list. Cottage cheese and bread will keep for a full week in the fridge, and apple butter will last for a month or more.
- In the Morning: Toast two slices of bread and place on a plate. Spread with apple butter and add a large spoonful of cottage cheese to the center of each slice. Eat with a fork.
Reheated Egg Scramble Burrito
- The Night Before: Saute 1/2 cup of vegetables in olive oil (red peppers, kale, onion, sweet potato, or squash). Add an all-purpose seasoning such as Adobo Seasoning (found in the spice section), and if desired a slice of bacon or sausage. When vegetables are soft add two eggs and a splash of milk. Stir until egg is cooked through. Place is a covered container in the fridge. Leave the pan on the stove with a bit of oil in in.
- In the Morning: Add the egg scramble to the pan, topped with a slice of cheese and a corn tortilla on top. Heat for about 90 seconds until the tortilla begins to soften. Flip “upside down” onto a plate, roll and eat. (Alternatively place tortilla first, then eggs and cheese on a plate and microwave).
Yogurt with Granola, Nuts and Berries
- Stock Your Home: Purchase, or make, granola. Buy pecan pieces and fresh or dried berries such as blueberries or craisins, and a large tub of plain or vanilla yogurt. (Using plain yogurt will reduce your sugar intake considerably. Remember that granola is sweet!)
- The Night Before: Place containers of granola, nuts, and dried berries on your counter top. (If using fresh berries leave them in the fridge.)
- In the Morning: Scope a cup of yogurt into a bowl, top with 1/2 of cup of granola, a small handful of additional nuts, and a handful of berries.
Overnight Muesli with Fresh Apples and Seeds
- Stock Your Home: Purchase, or make, museli. Museli is a combination of uncooked, untoasted dry cereals and fruits, typically dry quick-cooking oats, and dates, raisins, and sometimes seeds. It can be purchased in the cereal aisle or at natural health food stores. Buy several apples and some sunflower seeds (or seed of your choice).
- The Night Before: Dice apple and place in the bottom of a bowl. Add 1/2 -1 cup of museli and top with a small handful of seeds. Poor milk over everything and place in the fridge. (Alternatively water can be used and placed on the counter top, however you will not have the benefit of the protein and calcium the milk provides.)
- In the Morning: Grab a spoon and enjoy!
Fruit Smoothie and Toast
- Stock Your Home: Fill your freezer with bags of frozen fruit, such as mixed fruit, peaches, or berries and a bag of ground flax seeds. To save time down the road, put fruit into one-cups servings in freezer-grade plastic bags, and add 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seeds to each bag. Buy one banana for each smoothie you want to make, and the sweetened milk of your choice (rice, almond, or soy, original or vanilla flavor), as well as a loaf of whole grain bread. Optional: add a large spoonful of cashew butter for extra protein and additional healthy fats without the strong flavor of peanut butter. Coconut oils is another addition that adds wonderful flavor and a nutritional boost.
- The Night Before: Put blender or food processor out on the counter.
- In the Morning: Place bread in the toaster. Peel banana, break in two and drop in blender of food processor. Put a large handful of frozen fruit on top of banana, topped with a hearty sprinkling (about a tablespoon) of ground, flax seeds (or one prepared bag of smoothie fruit with flax). If using, add spoonful of cashew butter after blender/processor is turned on. Pour in enough milk to cover 1/2 of the fruit and blend. Pour into glass, fill blender/processor with water for easier clean-up later.
Whole Grain Bagel with Hot Lox and Cream Cheese
- Stock Your Home: Purchase a package of smoked ready-to-eat salmon (lox), cream cheese, and whole grain bagels. Precut bagels if they are not already cut.
- In the Morning: Spread bagel with cream cheese and top with salmon. Place in toaster over and toast. If you do not have a toaster over toast bagel and microwave salmon. (Heating salmon to steaming reduces the risk of listeriosis in pregnancy).
Egg and Bacon/Sausage Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper
- Stock Your Home: Buy a jar of large roasted red pepper slices in the olive section of the grocery store as well as bread, bagels, or whole wheat english muffins, eggs, and bacon or sausage.
- The Night Before: Cook egg and sausage or bacon and arrange in a sealable glass dish as if you were building a sandwich.
- In the Morning: Toast bread. Remove glass dish from the fridge and microwave for approximately 30 seconds. Place bread on top of egg/meat and flip to move egg onto your bread. Top with red pepper slices straight from the jar and an additional piece of bread. The oils from the pepper provide moisture for the sandwich and butter is unnecessary.
Whole Grain Cold Cereal with Milk, Nuts and Fruit
- Stock Your Home: Buy whole grain, low sugar cereals such as flakes and puffed grains. Keep conveniently stored containers of crushed nuts (pecans, walnuts) and dried fruits (craisins, raisins, dried blueberries) on your counter top.
- In the Morning: Pour a bowl of cereal and top with a handful or nuts and fruit and a cup of milk.
Frozen Fruit Chunks and Nuts
- Stock Your Home: Buy frozen fruit blends, or fresh cantaloupe, pineapple, and honeydew to cut and freeze. Buy almonds, either raw or roasted and lightly salted.
- In the Morning: Put frozen fruit chunks in a bowl and a handful of nuts in a small cup.
- Stock Your Home:
- Granola Bars
- Protein Bars
- Frozen sliced whole grain bagels or whole grain waffles.
- Dried Fruits
- Trail Mix
- Nut Butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter.
- Sliced Hard Cheese
- Fresh Fruits
- In the Morning: Grab a bar or a frozen bagel or waffle for grains, add nuts or nut-nutter or cheese for protein and a handful of dried fruit.
- McDonald’s: Fruit and Walnut Salad with Yogurt
- Panera: Bagels and Breakfast Sandwiches
- Starbucks: Turkey Bacon and White Cheddar Sandwich
- Hardees: Pancakes and Scrambled Eggs
- Wendy’s: Egg and Cheese Sandwich