We are in the middle of what the Vegetarian Awareness Network (VEGANET) has deemed Diet Resolution Week (January 1-7.) VEGANET is an organization that emphasizes the importance of the type of food consumed rather than the amount. What better time to be focus on the quality of food on your plate than during pregnancy?
Of course you know you should skip pre-packaged foods in favor of fresh or frozen, that you should avoid mercury-contaminated dish and snack only on fruits or nuts. Everyone knows brown rice and flour are healthier than refined, white rice and flour. But, when it comes down to it, it's difficult to automatically make the healthier choice when you are used to eating whatever is in front of you.
- Batch cook: Once a month or even just once a week, cook 3-4 large batches of meals to freeze. For example, one large pot of spaghetti sauce can be made into a vegetable lasagna, spaghetti with whole wheat pasta, and a base for chili. Having a healthy option available in the freezer means you're less likely to run through the drive-thru on the way home.
- Purge your kitchen: Clean your pantry and refrigerator out of anything that isn't good for you and baby. Restock with whole foods and fresh produce, and keep it that way. After the holidays, a lot of shelters are left scrambling when do-gooders retreat once more to their own lives, having done their good deed for the year. Take your unopened cast-offs to your local food pantry.
- Keep hidden stashes stocked: Stock your car, office, purse, and other places you frequently visit with your favorite good foods. Almonds, granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit, popcorn, crackers and sugar-free candies are all good options to keep on hand.
- If you must go through the drive-thru, most have a lower calorie menu with options that are less unhealthy. Choose the chicken soft taco, the grilled chicken, or the asian salad. Skip heavy sauces and dressings, and choose water or iced tea over sugar soft drinks.
- Go outside your comfort zone: If you find yourself at a loss for healthy dishes to replace the meaty-heavy American diet you are used to, pick up a cookbook on Mediterranean or Indian cooking.
With a little preparation, you can remove a lot of obstacles to sticking to your improved diet plans. It's important to remember that during pregnancy, you don't want to subtract from your diet so much as you want to add healthy choices.
Best of luck in the new year!