For many women, the first sign of pregnancy is a sensitive stomach. Suddenly familiar smells and formerly-favorite dishes are enough to make her stomach turn. We know it as morning sickness. Some mamas-to-be know it as all-day sickness (be extra nice to these women).
The good news is that morning sickness tends to subside after the first trimester. Until then, it can be hard to gather an appetite, so it's important to make your meals -- or whatever is going in and staying down -- count.
Nicole Avena, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton University, and the author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant. In other words, she's an expert in nutrition. We've tapped her for a full day's worth of meal ideas for women, in what can be a rough first trimester.
We asked for recipes that are full of good-for-you ingredients, easy on the stomach, and simple to make -- because when you're nauseous, anything complicated is a deal breaker. Of course, she nailed it. Read on for her first-trimester recipe favs.
*All recipes adapted from Dr. Avena’s book, What to Eat When You’re Pregnant.
Breakfast Of (Pregnant) Champions
Hard-boiled egg, toast, and melon plate
This quick and easy, low-odor, easy-to-digest meal is gentle on your stomach but will give you a steady dose of energy to help you through your first trimester.
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices whole grain bread
- 1 cup cut melon (honeydew or cantaloupe)
Place uncracked eggs in a single layer in the bottom of a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain, keeping the eggs in the pot, and then immediately refill the pot with cold water. Let sit for a minute before draining. Peel eggs, toast bread, and serve eggs sliced on top of the toast with cut melon on the side. That’s it – bon appétit!
Lunch Is Back On The Menu
Easy Chicken with Apricot Quinoa and Spinach
This one-pot meal is easy to make as a hearty lunch. Mixing the flavors from the apricots and the curry powder turns simple chicken into a delicious and fragrant dish.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 4 dried apricots, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 store-bought, cooked rotisserie chicken (discard the skin)
- 1 (5 oz) bag of baby spinach
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, apricots, curry powder, and salt. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to rest (with the lid on) for 5 minutes. On a plate, place a handful of spinach and microwave it for 45 seconds to wilt it. Add quinoa on top. Top with 4 ounces of chicken, and serve.
The Dinner Bell Is Ringing
Pasta with roasted red pepper and chickpea slow cooker sauce
This is an easy dinner that you can prepare in no time at all. All you need are 5 pantry items, and you will have a delicious, nutritious dish for the whole family to enjoy.
- 1 (24 oz) can of tomato-basil pasta sauce
- 1 (19 oz) can of chickpeas, drained
- 1 (16 oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and cut into pieces
- 1 (6 oz) jar quartered, marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 (12-16 oz) box whole wheat pasta
Combine all ingredients, except the pasta, in a slow cooker on low heat and cook for 4 hours to create a sauce. When ready to eat, prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Drain, and serve the sauce on top.
Dr. Nicole Avena is an expert in diet during pregnancy and baby, toddler, child, and adult nutrition. She is the author of What to Eat When You're Pregnant and What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler. Dr. Avena has appeared on the "Doctor Oz Show" and "The Doctors" and at numerous formal events around the country. Her wellness-series talks are designed for non-scientist audiences interested in improving health and learning about the science to do so. Learn more at drnicoleavena.com.