Monday, January 11, 2010

I am planning on gaining weight this year.

Let me explain: My name is Anna and I am six months pregnant. I have a love/hate relationship with this blog already: on the one hand it is really inspiring, on the other hand it is sad to be inspired to lose weight when you definitely can’t.

Still, Katie asked me to write about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while pregnant, and if there is ever a time to be healthy it is while you are trying to grow another human in your body. I am not terrific at doing this, but this New Year’s I identified my hang-ups with eating healthy and have made some goals that have been working pretty well.

Hang ups for eating healthy:

1.It’s more expensive.

I love saving money. Love it, love it, love it. Unfortunately, one of the easiest ways to save money on food (using coupons and sales) is buying and eating junk food. Why cook a meal when I can get frozen pizza for $2? Why cook healthy snacks when I can get Hostess cupcakes for free?

2.It takes more time.

Being pregnant and having a toddler makes me want to go to bed at 6:00-- not cook dinner. Even not pregnant, cooking dinner was often the last thing I wanted to do. Once again, a frozen pizza requires no preparation except preheating the oven, which I never do for a frozen pizza anyway because, hey, it’s a frozen pizza, not a culinary masterpiece.

3.I like junk food. Do you really need an explanation here? Every time Katie mentions Oreos in one of her posts my mouth waters.

So here is how I am countering my hang ups:

1.Expensive. First of all, I took a big gulp and just decided that I would have to be willing to spend a little more money on food. Healthy is more important than cheap. Even with sales and coupons, whole wheat bread will almost always be more expensive than regular wheat bread. Vegetables are more expensive than high fructose corn syrup.

Second, I try to buy frozen vegetables as much as possible. They are cheaper, last longer, and often contain more nutrients than “fresh” vegetables that have been sitting on a grocery shelf for days. This way I don’t end up with a lot of rotten produce that I forget about in my fridge, and I can get a good selection in a stir-fry mix at the store’s regular price for $1.50 without having to buy a whole bundle of each vegetable I want. Fresh spinach is so expensive! But a brick of frozen spinach is around a dollar when it is not on sale.

Finally, like Kathy, my family eats the same thing for breakfast every day: cream of wheat and fruit (well, my husband eats oatmeal, but my toddler and I have cream of wheat). (We buy cold cereal when we can get a good deal on it [less than a dollar] but then we consider it a snack.) Unless there are leftovers from dinner, we eat the same thing every day for lunch too: milk, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some canned vegetable.(FYI canned is cheaper than frozen and has the same nutrients but also contains some additives and sometimes a funky taste.) I am not completely convinced that PB&Js are super healthy so if anyone has strong feelings about eating them feel free to comment about it. I know at least the fat in peanut butter is the good kind…

2.Takes up time. Again, just like Kathy, I made a prepared list of recipes to cycle through during the week. I actually did twelve days and leave one day a week open so that we can eat frozen pizza if I want it. And just so you know, we had frozen pizza last night—and it was so good. I also tried to pick fast meals like stirfrys, or meals that I could prepare earlier in the day when I still had energy. Crockpot meals are wildly successful right now because not only can you prepare them earlier, they also cost you less money than using the oven. I am excited to try Polly’s refried bean recipe.

3.I love junk food. Well, I do just what you all do. I tell myself that sometimes we want things very badly that we just can’t have. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. Mostly I am learning how to combat that from this blog.

I suppose this is a long-winded explanation of my eating goals. I am definitely just beginning. Feel free to offer your own tried and true tips for eating healthy when you are a lazy, junk-food-loving, pregnant penny-pincher.


Kathy Haynie said...

Yay, Anna! I made the crockpot lasagne recipe last night from the site I linked in my Saturday post. Yummy and EASY! Sadly, there are no leftovers for lunch was yummy and the family ate it all up.

Sometimes when I'm craving something junky, I check with my body. Usually it's my mouth that wants the junk, not my arms or back or even my tummy! I tell my mouth it doesn't always get to be in charge, and that what the rest of my body really wants is a healthy snack. Then I go eat something healthy, and my mouth will generally shut up.

Katie said...


This is great. I am mainly just impressed that you eat anything other than cereal since that is basically what my baby is made of. I MAYBE cooked dinner a handful of times the entire nine months I was pregnant. Bryan was (is) such a hero. I'm kind of convinced you must always be healthier and more fit during your second (and other subsequent) pregnancies because you have other kids that require nutrients and attention, so you're bound to be up off the couch and cooking meals more. Oh, and by way of desserts, I am happy to report that Bryan and I have been trying out some healthy ones to make sure they actually taste good and... they do. So I will post recipes for them soon. Ooh... maybe even later tonight. :)

Hillary said...

It's SO true that healthy food is more expensive. I started being a coupon saving/using mom here in California and it's ALL JUNK! Sure, I can get tons of stuff for super cheap or free... but how can I live on Macaroni and Cheese or cookies or other things packed with high fructose corn syrup? Blast. It's so hard.

You are right though...being healthy is better than saving money. In this area at least. I definitely identify with you, Anna, but the sad part is that I identify with you not only from when I was pregnant... but also now when I'm a lazy, junk-food-loving, mom of a 6-month old, penny-pincher. :)

Dorothy said...

We like to go to Farmers Market in the growing seasons and I agree about the expense...the produce there almost always costs more than I can get it for at the store. But, I tell myself, at least I know where this food is coming from (sort of), and I can talk to the farmers and ask questions about their products. Plus, I feel good knowing that I am helping to support the local growers. So we go ahead and buy from them anyway. I have found, though, that overall our food expenses are lower if I'm ONLY buying good healthy stuff and passing by all the junk we don't need.

alee said...

I always try to rationalize the extra cost by thinking that if I am eating healthier (i.e. the fruits and veggies I am splurging on) then I should be eating smaller portions too and then hope that the tiny carton of blackberries last me more than one meal...I try to just dish up half of what I think I want (of anything) first. Then when I have finished, I drink a big glass of water and wait 10 minutes...if I am still set on it, then I go dish up more!

the rowley mama said...

alee has the right idea - you should be eating smaller portions. If you think about it, eating healthier isn't all that more expensive, because if you are REALLY eating healthier, you are also eating less (and as a pregnant woman, don't get sucked into believe that you are eating for two - you only need about 200-300 extra calories (that's like, two extra cups of yogurt every day!! Really... that's not a lot).

Our family is changing a LOT of our eating habits this year: - and one of them is to eat less.

One of my favorite recipe books for eating healthy meals on the go is Zonya's cookbook. You can buy it on amazon or probably at just about any book store. I LOVE it and cook from it probably 3-4 times a week.

As for PB&J - try to buy natural peanut butter (the stuff with all the oil at the top - don't worry, just stir it up and it'll be fine). You could even go the extra mile and buy the unsalted kind. The ingredients should be just peanuts and salt (or just peanuts). Then buy the "just fruit" jelly - check the ingredients - it should be all fruit and fruit juices/concentrates. If you use natural PB, all-fruit jelly, and whole wheat bread (and don't go overboard on the PB and J i.e., about 1T of each, although I usually do more PB and less J) then you will have a pretty health meal (especially if you're eating a side of veggies, like carrot sticks, peas, celery, etc. And a piece of fruit!

Gotta love them PB&Js. :) Your plan sounds great, by the way!

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