Fit Pregnancy Nutrition Round Table

Hi Blog Readers!

As a follow-up to my Fit Pregnancy Interview Series that I featured two weeks ago with 9 fellow fit pregnant mamas, I'm profiling today a round table discussion with some of the contributors on how and what they ate while pregnant.

From topics such as supplementation, food cravings, nausea and dislikes, we'll briefly talk about what these fit moms did while they were incubating their growing babies. They did this all while maintaining their very fit pregnancies and produced very healthy babies.

On this round table is: Helen Kollias, Christa Doran (who is pregnant now actually with her second), Sarah Craig, Becky Wilhoit, Brianna Caza, and myself.

Later this week (or next... it depends on how much I have to chase after my daughter the Hurricane this week), I will profile breastfeeding in these fit Mamas: Did they breastfeed? How long? What made them stop? Breastfeeding while exercising, etc.

Today though the topic is Nutrition and Healthy Fit Pregnancy.

(PS - when I was trying to find a suitable picture for this round table, I was super annoyed that all the pictures were of these super cute pregnant women eating apples or carrots... seriously??? We all know we eat a heck of a lot more than that!)


Question #1: Did you have strong food cravings during your pregnancy? If so, what trimester did these occur in and what foods were they?

Helen: Nope, didn't get any food cravings at all. Though I was drinking juice (which I don't normally do)  the first trimester because I was constantly feeling hypoglycemic.

Sarah: I craved nuts and seeds through out my pregnancy. I'm not sure if this was a pregnancy thing since peanut butter was my favorite food before pregnancy, but during pregnancy I branched out and started making my own nut butters (I'd thrown nuts in my food processor with some flax oil, salt and stevia and hit go = instant yummy nut butter).

pumpkin seeds

Becky: The strong cravings I had were for really odd things, things that made me think that there were some sort of minerals or specific substance in those foods that I must've needed more of (but who knows if that's actually the case). I craved steamed oysters like crazy in my first and early second trimesters; tomatoes with sea salt from early second trimester through the very end of the pregnancy; anything with apple cider vinegar from early second trimester on; and towards the third trimester, basil. Tons and tons of fresh basil - I could've eaten it straight off the plant!!

Cassandra: I had MAJOR carb cravings for things like sushi rice and corn chips in my first trimester. I was such a carboholic that I thought I was going to end up a diabetic. But, it passed after a few weeks and everything normalized for the most part. Maybe this was my attempt to battle the hypoglycemia I too was experiencing? The second and third trimester I ate a lot of seafood - must of wanted those omega 3s!

Brianna: I really craved citrus fruits in both pregnancies. Also, I loved frozen blueberries and cherries (I ate them frozen blended together in a type of "sorbet").


Christa: Yes, for both of my pregnancies (I have a 2 year old, and am 22 weeks pregnant with my second now) I craved carbohydrates during my first trimesters. I am also NOT a junk food eater, but craved junk. Chips, bagels, pizza, oh my! Luckily that lasted only 2 months, and once the nausea passed around 12 weeks I was back to (almost) normal eating. During the second and third trimesters I craved a lot of fruit. This pregnancy I am craving citrus, like oranges and pineapple.


Question #2: What supplements if any did you take during your pregnancy?

Brianna: Fish oil and prenatal vitamins. I also used natural whey protein and rice protein powders (with no added sweetners).

Cassandra: A natural pre-natal from the health food store (the pharmacy ones were colored blue and that really bothered me). Fish oil high in DHA and krill oil, Choline (440 mg), Whey protein with no added sweeteners.


Helen: I took prenatal vitamins throughout & while I was breast feeding on the advice of my naturopath. I have to check the brand & dose as there were 6 pills/pack, minerals, mutli, fish oil & vit E...I think. I also was taking concentrated DHA in the last trimester to help with the baby's neural development and fend off baby brain.

Sarah: I Have quiet a long list so here goes-
-Juice plus+ both fruit and veggie blend. I did this to help get extra nutrition.
-Spirulina- I'd take about 12 a day (6 in the early am, and 6 in the afternoon). I'd do this for the chlorophyll to help me be able to better absorb other nutrients. It's a super food so there are many other reason I took so many.
-B-complex. Pregnancy takes a beating on your b-vits so you pretty much can't get enough of them.
-b-6 (see above)
-Folic acid (again that b vit thing)
- Krill oil- for the omega 3s
- Cod liver oil (for the D and E vits)
-Calcium/Magnesium (1:2 ratio)
- Digestive enzymes

Becky: I took a prenatal vitamin for probably a year or more before I actually got pregnant (just in case), then I added a DHA supplement with it for a few months, then I switched to a prenatal with DHA in it. But that was it! Well, maybe downed a few glasses of Benefiber here and there, haha...


Question #3: What foods/drinks did you like to eat a lot of (ie, fruit, meat, coffee)?

Sarah: I ate a lot of whey protein powder, eggs, nuts/seeds (Lots and lots of pumpkin seeds), beans, kale, lots and lots and lots of bee pollen (it's a super food with some of the most absorbable amino acids) salmon, and veggies in general

Becky: I ate a lot of big bowls of romaine lettuce with olive oil, sea salt, and parmesan; a lot of whole grain pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil; cold cereal with whole milk; and during the later and hot months of my late-summer/early-fall pregnancy (I gave birth mid-September), I had a decaf Starbucks iced latte just about every other day. I made a lot of bran muffins with dried fruit and walnuts mixed in, also.

Brianna: Fruit, fruit, fruit. And lots of peas. Oh, and after the first semester I loved eggs. Lots of omelets!

Cassandra: Lots of EGGS (best food for baby's brain), hemp seed butter, and lots of fresh fruit, veggies and more carbs than I currently eat now (like rice and sprouted grain bread).

Helen: My preferences were pretty much the same as before pregnancy, but with more carbs. I was eating oatmeal in the morning instead of a protein shake for example.

Christa: Lots of fruit, lots of meat (and I was a vegetarian when I got pregnant with my second. My body was telling me I needed meat, and so I added it back in, and I have to say, I am really enjoying it! ;) Lots of veggies, especially kale and sweet potatoes, and eggs. I get the fortified eggs and eat about 10-12 a week (whole- no whites for me!).


Question #4: What foods/drinks could you absolutely not tolerate?

Christa: I could not tolerate veggies and meat the first trimester (of the first pregnancy), or coffee. I LOVE coffee, and during both pregnancies have had almost none. Simply because I just didn't want it, or it really made me nauseous to think about drinking it.

Cassandra: Nothing that I can think of... I love food :)

Becky: I really could've gone meatless during my pregnancy and been mostly okay with it. I did not like chicken, and my old favorite Salmon suddenly made me want to hurl.

Sarah: Nothing actually. I didn't get any queasiness so foods didn't bother me.

Brianna: Chicken. Which is odd because I love chicken.

Helen: Nothing. I could eat anything I wanted without having any negative reaction. Though I avoided the usual, don't eat if pregnant things: raw fish, soft cheese, artificial sweetener, etc.


Question #5: Overall, were you happy with how you ate while pregnant? If so, why? If not, what would you have done differently (if you could)?

Sarah: I was very happy with how I ate. I felt great, and my babe was very healthy. I got sick of EATING during third trimester because I didn't feel hungry, but needed to gain weight. But I was very pleased. Next time around I plan to eat more fermented foods, hemp seeds, and coconut products. I didn't learn about the benefits of these in pregnancy till AFTER I was pregnant. Next time around I guess :-)

Cassandra: If I could, I would try to control those insane carbohydrate cravings during the first trimester - honestly, I would stand in the cookie aisle and the grocery store and almost cry because I couldn't believe that I was desiring cookies so badly. Ugh!

Brianna: I was very happy with how I ate in my 2nd pregnancy. I worked hard to have a high protein, nutrient rich diet, and it seemed to pay off with the health of my baby! The only thing I would do differently would be to add in choline which I learned about from Cass afterwards!

Christa: The first time I was pregnant (almost 3 years ago) my diet was not as good as it is now. I now eat very clean, and feel even better this time with less weight gain (About 9-10 pounds in 22 weeks.) I eat much almost no sugar, no processed foods, eat out very seldom, and don't drink any juices. Only whole grains and lean, high quality meats, some fish, nuts, eggs, some dairy (greek yogurt, some cheese) and lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. I think this will reflect a healthier body weight for me and baby with less weight gain and an even quicker recovery. I feel so much better about my diet this time around. I know I am feeding my developing baby the best, most nutritionally dense foods I can find, and that feels good!

(Pic of Christa at 19+ weeks)

Christa at 19 weeks

Helen: I was happy overall, but in retrospect all the juice drinking in the beginning did nothing to help with how I was feeling. The hypoglycemic feeling was just the hormones due to pregnancy so the juice did nothing.

Becky: I LOVED food during my pregnancy, and I actually kind of miss how everything just seemed to taste...better (haha). I definitely turned into a bit of a foodie while pregnant. I look forward to doing that again in the future.


Thank you for your time ladies!

Readers: Comments are appreciated! :)

Posted Jan 24, 2011 by Cassandra Forsythe.
This entry is filed under fit pregnancy interview.

Comments for This Entry

GravatarMiranda10:32AM on January 25, 2011

I can second the carb cravings in the 1st tri. All I wanted to eat was cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches, I had major veggie and protein aversions. Thankfully that passed and I was back to my normal self around 14 weeks. Next time around I will be working harder to control that phase.

2nd and 3rd tri diet so far has been good. I have been going through a lb of spinach every week! Can't get enough salads, omelettes, and citrusy fruits are a must every day.

Question on protein: I have been in the habit since I was doing NROLFW before pregnancy of tracking my intake in order to keep tabs on protein. I get 100-120 grams per day lately ( I am now 30 weeks along). I read in a few places that too high of protein intake can be bad during pregnancy (but I'm not sure why). Anyone know about that? How much did you ladies get in per day?

How did your diets change as you transitioned to the breastfeeding stage? Did you eat about the same amounts as you did in the 3rd tri?

GravatarMiranda10:35AM on January 25, 2011

Oh, and though not necessarily food related...can I ask if anyone drank Red raspberry leaf tea? I've read about it being good for 'conditioning' the uterus, and started drinking it daily when I can remember as I entered the 3rd tri.

GravatarMiranda10:50AM on January 25, 2011

Oooh oooh, one more question, sorry. Did you ladies suffer from any bad water retention at any stage in your pregnancies? And how much of a role do you think diet played in that?

GravatarIris01:36AM on January 26, 2011

@Miranda: There is some research supporting that protein during pregnancy should not excedd 20% of your total calorie intake. It becomes increasingly hard for the liver to handle it. This seems to be well researched. Another number I remember is that a calorie intake above 81 g/day might negatively impact fetal growth but I do not remember if the source for this information is reliable. It seems an expecting mother has to find a balance between enough and excessive protein. 120 g seems a little high to me; I think with a protein intake of 80-100 g/day you are on the very safe side. You might find it interesting that even Cordain (forget his first name) of the "Paleo diet" who in general promotes a high protein intake recommends to go lower in pregnancy....

GravatarCassandra06:43AM on January 26, 2011

Hi MIranda

1) Raspberry leaf tea - yes, Brianna and I both drank that in our last month. Don't know if it really did anything, but I personally had a quick labor.

2) No water retention for me, but Sandy did have some in her last few months because she was sitting a lot in her car for work. Solution - don't sit so much!

3) Protein - I still ate 1 g/lb or more of protein, so did Sandy and Brianna and we had no issues.

4) Transition to breastfeeding - I'm still breastfeeding and now I'm actually eating less carbs than when I was pregnant, but everything else is pretty similar. My appetite is pretty strong still.

GravatarMiranda10:21AM on January 26, 2011

Interesting takes on the protein issue. Part of my hesitance to decrease protein has to do with the fact that I am still doing weight training, (albeit not as heavy and intense as pre-pregnancy) and I don't want to have any major muscle mass loss during this 9 months. Did you ladies notice recovery time slowed down a bit during pregnancy? I certainly did.
I will keep reading up on it though. Yesterday I ended at about 25% P/35% F/ 40% C, so not way over the 20% mark. On a side note, though I have issues with parts of paleo philosophy in general, I do like their emphasis on clean eating (duh, who can argue with that) and healthy fats. Stopping being afraid of fat has helped me tremendously.

Duly noted on the keeping my butt moving to help avoid water retention!

Can't wait for the breastfeeding discussion!

GravatarCassandra11:56AM on January 26, 2011

Hi Miranda - that's exactly why myself, Brianna and others didn't decrease their protein intake - we needed it both for training and building a baby.
For recovery time - YES! Complete slow down. You'll definitely need to take more rest.

GravatarTami06:03AM on January 27, 2011

Hi! i just wanted to say how grateful i am for the interviews with fit moms. I am in my sixth month of pregnancy and i was starting to feel defeated with all the flak i've been getting from those around me who are 'concerned' with the way i work out. i was in the fifth stage of NROLW when i became pregnant and i love lifting so i was sorely disappointed when i thought i'd have to back off, especially since i feel great. i chose to listen to my body and now that i've read all your stories, i am so glad i did! Now, i feel confident to keep it up and i'm so relieved. a million thanks to you all for sharing, i've read all i can find pertaining to prenatal exercise and nutrition and i will be checking back frequently for further musings. thanks again :)

GravatarCandice M06:42AM on January 27, 2011

Thanks! I really enjoyed reading that. We are going to start trying for #2 during the summer, so I'll be coming back! :)

Want to be my pregnancy buddy again? LOL!

GravatarJuli10:59AM on January 27, 2011

Thanks so much for posting this, along with all your other fit pregnancy information. I am due in 2 weeks and have been working out my entire pregnancy (still going strong!) These stories have really helped me to feel confident that what I have been doing has been the best for me and the baby. I have had a great pregnancy so far and hope the next few weeks are just as good. I think without proper exercise and nutrition, I would not feel nearly as good as I do now. Can't wait to read the breastfeeding article that's coming up! Thanks again!

GravatarSarah12:07PM on January 27, 2011

Just going to jump in with the protein intake thing. Keep it high!!! I counted my in take and rarely hit under 100 grams a day and had zero water retention. I could site study after study about how protein intake and water retention are connected. If you are weight training and pregnant, keep it high so there is enough for you and baby :-) Dr. Brewer is the one who first did studies of this in 1970. Lots of great information on the topic. The second those ankles are swollen and puffy, it's time to eat that salmon.

GravatarAmanda Perry04:50PM on February 02, 2011

I agree with everyone on the carbohydrate cravings, especially in the first trimester, but still a bit in the 2nd trimester as well. I can't stop with the bagels. They taste amazing and I wasn't much of a bagel eater before!

I started drinking protein shakes again (brown rice protein) a few weeks ago bc I didn't feel like I was getting enough protein and I feel like it's made a huge difference in how I'm feeling. My workouts are better again and I feel better overall!

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