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Nausea in pregnancy – how to manage your diet

During pregnancy, we are given plenty of advice about what we need to think about in terms of our diet – what supplements we may need, what we should eat more of and, above all, what we should avoid. The advice on what and how much we should eat can be found everywhere.

But there is also another aspect to consider when it comes to food intake during pregnancy – and that is nausea and changing food preferences. Some women feel great throughout their pregnancy while others feel constantly sick, but for most, the nausea tends to be at its worst in the first 12 weeks or so. So how do you deal with your diet when your body suddenly rejects a certain type of food, or nausea makes it almost impossible to eat certain things? I thought I would share some tips based on healthcare recommendations, my own experience and the knowledge I have gained from working with pregnant clients.

  • Eat smaller portions, but eat more frequently. Energy needs increase with pregnancy and it’s easy to feel full more quickly. To cover your daily needs, it may be easier to eat more frequent meals but smaller portions. Having nuts, fruit and similar items to snack on during the day might help.
  • If you vomit, drink extra fluids to replace the lost fluids. Drink more between meals rather than with the meal itself so that the liquid does not fill you up too much.
  • Many people find cold food more appealing than hot food. Breakfast foods such as yoghurt, cereals, smoothies, fruit, etc. can be easier to eat. Try to vary things as much as possible with different fruits, berries and toppings such as nuts, oatmeal, homemade granola or similar. This enables you to include as many nutrients as possible, even if the variety is not that great. Choose natural yoghurt and unsweetened cereals over sweetened alternatives.
  • Many people find that frying aggravates nausea, so it might be better to cook or bake the food in the oven, or have someone else do the cooking if it’s only the smell of frying that triggers nausea rather than the fried taste.
  • Salty food can stimulate your appetite and suppress nausea. For example, nuts, salted crackers, stock and fish roe spread are good options.

Tip! Crispbread with avocado, tomato and iodine-enriched salt flakes or an egg sandwich with fish roe spread are two good options for breakfast/a snack. Avocados and eggs are both rich in folate, which is an important mineral throughout pregnancy. Avocado also contributes a lot of unsaturated fat and eggs are a real nutritional powerhouse, containing most of the vitamins/minerals we need, as well as plenty of protein and fat.

  • Eat more carbohydrates – and if your body tolerates it, choose ones with a bit more fibre such as wholegrain pasta, potatoes, brown rice, wholewheat or similar.
  • If you find chewing food or handling different textures difficult, try making smoothies. Liquid food tends to be less filling, and if you find it difficult to get enough energy throughout the day, you can easily give your smoothie an energy boost by adding e.g. avocado, nut butter, high-fat yoghurt, seeds or oil, which are all rich in fat. Three simple smoothie recipes are listed at the end of this article. 
  • Find compromises that your body will tolerate. If you usually eat a lot of vegetables and wholegrain bread, it is possible that the same food may now leave you feeling disgusted. Are there any vegetables that you can eat? Eat a bit more of them, or maybe blend them in a smoothie with sweet fruit or berries to disguise the taste. Does your usual high-fibre bread suddenly feel like a big no-no but you do fancy sandwiches? Try to find a compromise – choose a slightly less wholegrain bread but go for one with a low sugar content.

Finally, I would like to suggest that you listen to your body – it’s good at telling you what you need. Try to keep your intake of sweets, snacks, fast foods and other forms of empty calories down as much as possible, but don’t get too fixated on your usual way of thinking – allow yourself to eat what your body feels like eating. There’s no danger in eating white bread or pasta several times a week if that is what your body currently tolerates. Getting energy inside you is the most important thing of all – for both you and the baby.

Three easy and delicious smoothie recipes

Apple and carrot smoothie
125 g quark/Greek yoghurt 0%
100 ml skimmed milk
100 g carrot
50 g apples
1/2 tbsp linseed oil

245 kcal – 19.1 g protein – 20.8 g carbohydrates – 8.6 g fat

Spinach, banana and mango smoothie
1 banana
80 g mango, frozen (about 150 ml)
30 g spinach, fresh
100 ml Greek yoghurt (or quark)
100 ml skimmed milk
2 tsp chia seeds

315 kcal – 15 g protein – 44 g carbohydrates – 4 g fat

Banana, peanut butter and protein powder smoothie
200 ml skimmed milk 0.5%
1 banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tbsp peanut butter

410 kcal, 35 g protein – 37.1 g carbohydrates – 12.8 g fat

If you are a Trainimal Woman customer, you will find more recipes in your recipe bank.

Updated January 18, 2022

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