Hello everyone!

This post is going to be a little different than my usual healthy eating tips and recipes because

  1. I would like to explain my long absence from the blogging world and
  2. During that time I learned and experienced some new things that I thought I would like to share

So…. The reason I have not been posting new recipes and healthy eating tips is because I am 23 weeks pregnant (very exciting!!!!) and have been very busy and sick the past few months. I have been trying to get things ready for the baby but I also have been battling very bad morning sickness… so cooking and making new recipes weren’t really on the top of my to do list. I wasn’t cooking very much at all and mostly just ate things likes bananas, potatoes, toast, bagels, crackers, cheese, greek yogurt and peanut butter because that was pretty much all that I could tolerate. My days mostly consisted of vomiting or trying not to vomit, trying to get through the work day, trying to eat and sleeping. However, I have been on medication and am doing much better now so hopefully I will be able to post new healthy recipes and tips on a regular basis again.

 

OK so based on my knowledge as a dietitian and my new experience as a pregnant lady I wanted to provide some tips on battling pregnancy related nausea and vomiting just in case any one may be going through or know someone who is going through this lovely side effect of pregnancy. Most pregnant women experience some nausea during their first trimester but the severity and duration can vary widely between women and even pregnancies. Also, what may relieve it it one person may not do anything or even make it worse in someone else…so there is definitely some trial and error. Anyways, you can use my tips as a guide and hopefully some of them help!

 

 10 Tips to Help Relieve Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy

  1. Eat small frequent meals and snacks. You should always try and have a little something in your stomach to help keep nausea at bay. Try eating something easily tolerated and bland like crackers first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty. (For some reason a banana worked better for me) I also liked to keep some rice chex in a small Tupperware in my purse in case I needed a snack ASAP.
  2. Try and pair a carbohydrate with a protein at each meal/snack. Cheese and crackers, fruit and yogurt or cottage cheese, and peanut butter on bread are all good examples that I found worked the best for me.
  3. Avoid greasy/fried foods and spicy foods. Greasy/fried foods can take longer to digest (more opportunity for them to come back up) and spicy foods may be a turn off- bland foods are usually more easily tolerated.
  4. Pay attention to your body and eat what you can tolerate….everyone is different. Nuff said.
  5. Stay hydrated. Very important, especially if you are vomiting. I found that very cold liquids over ice were all that I wanted. My favorite was purple G2 over ice. At one point our ice machine broke and we had to go buy ice cause I just could not tolerate fluids without it. Pregnancy is weird. Try not to drink really concentrated/sugary beverages as that may aggravate nausea/vomiting.
  6.  Have someone else cook for you or stick to easy/quick recipes. I found that if I tried to make something that took too long I would feel sick and tired by the time I was done. You can always buy vegetables that are pre chopped to help cut down on prep time, or cut them up when you feel well so they can be ready when you are.
  7. Have healthy snacks available at all times. I kept fresh fruit such as grapes, blueberries and pre-made fruit salad always on hand so I didn’t have to spend time cutting up fruit when I wanted it.
  8. Try chewing gum, hard candy or specifically ginger candy or adding ginger to foods. Something about sugar free chewing gum really helped settle my stomach in between meals and snacks. Ginger didn’t work so well for me but if it works for you there are a lot of ginger candies out there that people swear by,
  9. Take your prenatal vitamins! Due to food aversions and vomiting you may not be getting all the nutrition you and your baby needs so this is super important. Try to find a kind that you can tolerate well. Most prenatal vitamins did bother me so I took them right before bed so I would fall asleep before I had a chance to vomit them up. :)
  10. Talk to your doctor about medications. Medications are sometimes necessary to get you through the day…they were for me!

Have a great week everyone!!!!!

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Trying to eat healthy during a busy week can be really hard. Not having enough time to prepare a meal at home can result in you just picking something up for dinner that probably isn’t the healthiest choice but is quick and easy. I have found that planning ahead of time is really the most important way you can stay on track during the week but I do have some other helpful tips I would like to share.

1. If you don’t plan your meals at all, trying to change your habits and plan all of them may be very difficult and ultimately lead to you not being successful. So start slowly, if you never plan what you are going to make for dinner ahead of time, or eat out most of the time, pick out two meals you would like to make during the week prior to going to the grocery store, so you can buy all the appropriate ingredients and won’t be running around last minute realizing you need something.

2. Use your freezer! If you are making quiche for example, and only need one, make two and freeze the extra. That way on nights you are very busy, you can just pop a pre-made homemade quiche in the oven. If you don’t know how to make a healthy quiche I do have a recipe here.

3. Have a quick and easy go to meal that you know you can prepare in a flash. If I know there is a night coming up where I probably will only have a few minutes to prepare a meal I make sure I pick up some portobello mushrooms and reduced fat feta cheese so I can make stuffed mushrooms… you can find my stuffed mushroom recipe here.

4. Make sure you stock your fridge and pantry with healthy ingredients. You can’t make something healthy out of nothing, and may end up ordering pizza if you have nothing to work with. I always have brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta and black beans in my pantry. I also usually have an emergency can of tomato sauce too. In my refrigerator I always have fresh veggies and fruit, milk and reduced fat cheese. And in the freezer I like to have some proteins such as chicken or fish and some frozen veggies in case I run out of fresh ones.

5. In addition to buying fresh fruits and vegetables that I keep in the fridge, I also purchase a couple that I know will last longer, so if I don’t end up using them this week, I can use them next week. I hate when foods go bad…so wasteful! Sweet potatoes, butternut or acorn squash, and red potatoes tend to last a lot longer so I like to keep 1 or 2 of those on hand.

6. Make something new out of your leftovers. For example, last week my husband made fish with brown rice and black beans and plantains. He accidentally made too much rice and beans so the next day I added some spinach and mozzarella to the rice and beans and used it to stuff a baked sweet potato I happened to have on hand… and it became a brand new meal!

Hope my tips help!
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Vegetarian Lasagna Roll ups
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I love pasta, vegetables and cheese so I am sure to enjoy any recipe I can make that includes all three of them, so a vegetarian lasagna really gets me salivating. Unfortunately, because I am gluten free, I often cannot order pasta dishes at restaurants, but at least there are a lot of gluten free pasta brands available at the grocery store. I usually stick to whole grain brown rice pasta (whole grains provide fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals and are important for heart health) and my favorite brand is Jovial. It doesn’t get mushy or anything like some of the other rice pastas, and I even make a special trip to a Publix that is farther from my house every once in awhile so I can stock up on it (it is that good).

If you are gluten free just make sure you use a gluten free (and whole grain) lasagna noodle and gluten free tomato sauce. Vegetables, eggs and cheese are naturally gluten free, but always check your labels just in case! If you are not gluten free, I would recommend choosing any whole grain lasagna noodle.

Making a whole lasagna seems like a daunting task to me, especially when I am just cooking for myself and my husband. Instead of filling a giant pan with layers upon layers of lasagna, I decided to roll up the lasagna noodles with a cheese and spinach mixture, top with a spicy red pepper tomato sauce, mushrooms and shredded cheese. I really like this idea cause everything is already portioned into 8 rolls. I planned on only eating 1 roll but I managed to stuff a second one in… I couldn’t help myself…it was so good. (I’m pretty sure my husband had 3 though so I don’t feel that guilty)

 

Lasagna roll ups

Ingredients
8 Whole Grain Lasagna Noodles
1 cup Nonfat or Reduced Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg
1 10 ounce Package Frozen Spinach, thawed, excess water squeezed out
1 1/2 cups of Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
1 2/3 cups Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup Shredded Reduced Fat Four Cheese Italian
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. In an 8×8″ glass pan add 2/3 cup of tomato sauce and spread to cover bottom. Add ricotta, egg, spinach and 1/4 cup shredded cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Add garlic, basil and oregano. Mix well. Allow cooked noodles to cool slightly and lay out on a cutting board or baking sheet. Spoon 3 tablespoons of cheese/spinach mix on each noodle, spreading down the length of the noodle. Roll each noodle up and place seam side down in pan with tomato sauce. Sprinkle mushrooms over top after all 8 noodles are rolled up in the pan. Pour a cup of tomato sauce and a quarter cup shredded cheese evenly over the roll ups. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min or until it is piping hot inside and mushrooms on top are soft.
 Vegetarian Lasagna Roll ups in Pan
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