Preparing meals during the
first trimester of pregnancy can be tricky if you're not feeling well. You may
be one of the unlucky ones, if you're barfing your guts up day and night. (Sorry, I had no
morning sickness—don't hate me!) But I did get pretty nauseous at random times, and also in the late afternoon right when I was supposed to be cooking dinner.
In fact, things that were
working a few weeks ago (chicken) ain't working for me now. Gag. However, I
have compiled a short list of sage cooking advice that has helped me through
this ghastly first trimester and I hope you will find at least some of it useful.
I have also included a couple of recipes that we ate with great frequency, as
well as the greatest kitchen tip I have ever heard. If you're not barfing right
now, read on! (Just remember, every woman's pregnancy is different and what worked for me may not work for you.)
Do not eat any foods that you do not want to eat; choking down unappealing foods will lead to puking. Trust. If you don't want salad do not eat it. I learned that the hard way.
If you find something you like to eat that's reasonably healthy (i.e., potatoes, cereal or rice) and that's all you can stomach, just go ahead and eat that. Later on, your diet will balance out and your baby will simply suck nutrients out of you until then, so don't worry about not feeding the little thing. But do take your prenatal vitamins.
Avoid sautéing anything whenever possible, the strong smells may be too much for your super sniffer. Baking can be a good alternative. One of my recipes (listed below) does involve a bit of sautéing but without the onions or garlic, I did not find it puke-inducing.
Just order takeout and screw cooking or go out to dinner.
The slow cooker is your friend. If you don't have one, I highly recommend getting one. And the best part is, you can plug it in outside so your whole house won't smell like whatever you're cooking in there. (That's the greatest kitchen tip, besides takeout, of course!)
Skip onions in all recipes. This reduces cooking odors, especially when sautéing. If you don't mind onions, by all means include them.
Put your partner in charge of cooking and go lie down on couch. Warning: This might result in a lot of pizza.
So if you're up for cooking, here are three recipes that I swear are delicious, bland enough and carbilicious
enough that you should be able to eat and enjoy them. But I make no promises;
let me know if you try them and like them or hate them, all feedback is
Shepherd's Pie with
Prep: 15 min Cook: 1 hr 15 min
Total Time: 1 hr 40 min
This is a recipe I modified
from the book "The 400 Calorie Fix"—you can find the original recipe here. No
onions and no dairy for this IBS-suffering home chef but I've served this many
times, it's easy to make and it's always a winner.
· 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I the Amy's Organic)
· 1 cup beef broth (veggie is also fine)
· 1½ tbsp cornstarch
· 1 ¼ tsp salt
· 1.5-2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (or more if you
want a lot of mashed potatoes—just use a bigger pan)
· 2 tbsp butter or Earth Balance
· Splash of milk or milk alternative
Preheat Oven to 350. Spray a 10-cup baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover by 2". Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Add butter or Earth Balance and milk and mash potatoes. Salt to taste.
While potatoes are cooking heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.(I use a tablespoon of olive oil but it's not necessary) Add the meat and oregano, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the frozen vegetables. Cook until the meat is browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Combine the beef broth, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into the skillet and cook until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, smoothing with a spatula. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Hopefully you can eat it. If not, give it to your family and go eat Cheerios in the basement.
Cooker Meat Sauce with Fettuccini
Prep: 15 min Slow Cook: 4-8 hours
some reason, being pregnant makes me want meat sauce from Olive Garden—which is
not a restaurant I ever want to frequent, so I came up with this healthier but
delicious meat sauce that reminds me of Olive Garden. I serve it over
fettuccini because I hate spaghetti. Don't ask me why I hate spaghetti unless
you want me to scream "I JUST DON'T LIKE IT" at you, like I do to my dear
· 1 lb lean ground beef
· Jennie O's Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage
· 1 red pepper
· 2 carrots
· 1 tbsp dehydrated Italian seasoning (I use Litehouse
brand just add water!)
· 1 tbsp (or more if you like it) dehydrate basil (Litehouse)
· Dried spicy red peppers to taste
· 1 can no-salt tomatoes
· 1 can no-salt tomato sauce*
* I don't
like saucy sauce, so I only use 1 can—if you like saucier sauce, use two cans.
Remove casing from the sausage (if this is too gross for you, have your partner do it or just go to Olive Garden). Sauté the beef and sausage until brown and crumbly. (Myslow cookerhas a browning setting which is awesome so I don't need to dirty up any fry pans.)
Chop up the red pepper and carrot finely in food processor.
Combine sautéed ingredients with tomatoes, sauce, peppers, carrots and spices in slow cooker on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low.
Boil your pasta choice and serve sauce over it. Hope you can eat it without barfing. If not, eat crackers and caffeine-free Coke. Go to bed.
recipe was a gem until I suddenly hated chicken. But at the time, it was salty
and noodle-y and I really liked it. I garnished it with avocado instead of
parsley, a trick I learned in Guatemala. Try it, think you will find it quite
delicious. You can find the original recipe here. I, of
course, left out the onion and garlic.
· 1 or 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depends on size but
around 1 pound should be good)
· 2 cups broad egg noodles
· 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
· 3 stalks celery, chopped
· 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
· ½ tsp dried thyme
· 1 bay leaf
· 6 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
· 1 cup water
· Salt and freshly ground black pepper
· Avocado (Optional. I chop it up and put it in bowl on the
table to be added to the soup.)
1. In a 6-quart Crock-Pot add in whole chicken breasts, carrots,
celery, olive oil, thyme and bay leaf.
2. Next add in chicken broth, water, and season with salt and
pepper to taste.
3. Cover and cook on low heat 6 to 7 hours or 3 hours on high.
4. Remove cooked chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Place chicken back into the crock pot. Now add in egg noodles.
5. Cover and cook just until noodles are tender, 5-10 minutes. Serve
in bowls, throw in chunks of avocado. Hope you can eat it without hurling; if
not, have a piece of toast and cry. Then ask partner why he/she even wants a
trimester is a very trying time for your body and your emotions. I'm still not
feeling great (today I start my second trimester) but I ate that meat sauce
last night and it was totally delicious. I'm thinking of you, my sick
with child sisters, and I hope some of these tips prove useful until you can
carry on to the supposedly delightful second trimester.