Eating Paleo while Pregnant

Paleo diet while Pregnant

Being pregnant is such a special time in your life, but between cravings and morning sickness, eating healthy may not be easy, especially if you are considering becoming or continuing a Paleo friendly diet. So many people are going Paleo these days for health reasons, especially to help limit processed foods, but is being Paleo while preggers posing a dilemma? ? Jackie Tane, dietitian and co-founder of Skinny Soiree, is here to give Paleo Friendly (“PF”) Preggers Tips to ensure you and your baby get the proper nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy!

So first off, what is the Paleo diet? In a nutshell, the Paleo diet, also called the “Caveman” diet, which centers around the idea that if cavemen didn’t eat it then we shouldn’t either. Basically, Paleo approved foods are those that can be hunted, fished or gathered, including: meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, veggies, and fruits. Off-limit foods include: grains, dairy, beans, and sugar (Don’t worry, there are still ways to satisfy your sweet tooth!). Why? Proponents attribute the rise of obesity and other illnesses (ie: heart disease and diabetes) to the agricultural revolution and the addition of grains, legumes and dairy to the human diet. While there are most likely other factors involved, the Paleo diet certainly promotes lots of fruits, veggies and lean protein. Carbohydrates are not eliminated, but consumed in non-processed forms, such as fruits and root vegetables. 

On to how Jackie recommends you make this work for you… Jackie writes….

By far the most common food aversion women experience during pregnancy is to meat and green leafy vegetables – both of which contain super important nutrients needed during pregnancy. While the suggestions provided may help you boost your intake of these foods and nutrients that come along with them, keep in mind that you only need 300 extra calories during pregnancy (the equivalent of 24 almonds and 2 Tbsp of chia seed) – not an intimidating amount of food to get down! And remember, your body actually produces hormones that make it easier to acquire and store nutrients during pregnancy so just relax and do your best.

A Breakdown of nutrients you and your baby need with Paleo-friendly solutions:

Calcium aka “the structural” nutrient 

  • Calcium is big time important for you and your baby’s bones and teeth, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, blood clotting, production of energy, and immunity. 
  • Preggers Requirements = 1,000 mg/day
  • PF sources: Almonds (24) = 80 mg calcium, Chia Seed (2 Tbsp) = 179mg calcium
  • Tip: Cereals and starches tend to be best tolerated when experiencing morning sickness. Add ground chia seed and swap the walnuts for almonds in this Paleo friendly recipe for Apple Cinnamon Hot Cereal

Fiber aka “the filling” nutrient

  • Fiber is SO necessary in keeping your energy levels up, and reducing the risk factors for gestational diabetes and constipation.
  • Preggers Recommendations = 30 grams/day
  • PF sources: Avocado (1 cup) = 10g fiber, Raspberries (1 cup) = 8g fiber
  • Tip: Frozen Berries help curb nausea from morning sickness.

Folate/ Folic acid aka “the pregnancy” vitamin

  • Folic acid is serious business. Low levels of folate are linked to birth defects, so any woman who is pregnant – or might become pregnant – MUST get enough folate every day.
  • Preggers Recommendations = 800 mcg/day (Ideally start taking pre-natal vitamin 3 months before conception to help ensure folic acid requirements.)
  • PF sources: Cauliflower (1 cup) = 57mcg folate, Spinach (1 cup) = 114mcg folic acid
  • Tip: Since starches are better tolerated than leafy greens, try pureeing cauliflower and adding it to mashed potatoes. Or, if tolerated, add frozen spinach to fruit smoothies – you can’t even taste it!

Iron aka “the oxygen carrier”

  • Since during pregnancy your blood volume expands to help your baby make his or her entire blood supply — iron needs double! 
  • Preggers Requirements = 27 milligrams/day
  • PF sources: Pumpkin seeds/Pepitas (1oz) = 4.2mg iron, Cocoa Powder (1/4 cup) = 7.2mg iron
  • Tip: Try this chocolate avocado pudding recipe for lots of fiber and iron! It’s also a great swap if you’re craving ice cream. 

Protein aka “the power” nutrient

  • Protein is the building blocks of your body’s cells, as well as, your baby’s!
  • Preggers Requirements = about 70 grams/day (Aim for that amount as an average over the course of a few days or a week if you can’t meet it in one day)
  • PF sources: Chicken (3oz) = 21g protein – preferably organic, Jay Rob Unflavored Egg White Protein Powder (1 scoop) = 25g protein
  • Tip: If you aren’t tolerating meat well, try mixing the Unflavored Jay Robb Egg White Powder into PF smoothies or hot cereals.