Mindful Meals


Pickles and ice cream. Say these words, and most everyone will know you’re talking about pregnancy cravings. The bizarre food cravings, the increased appetite, the third-trimester acid reflux… Eating while you’re expecting definitely has its highs and lows.

In some ways, it’s sweet and nostalgic how society wants to pamper expectant mothers with extra helpings of comfort food, but maintaining a nutrient-based eating plan is important for both mom’s and baby’s health.

Determining the “right” pregnancy weight isn’t always easy, especially for women of certain statures. University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing professors Anna Maria Siega-Riz and Jeanne Alhusen are currently focusing their research on this demographic of expectant moms and what they define as “mindful eating.”

Siega-Riz and Alhusen seek to determine whether the combination of mindfulness techniques and nutritional instruction could help women better manage pregnancy weight gain. Maintaining healthy weight leads to better lifelong health outcomes for mom and baby.

While Siega-Riz’s and Alhusen’s research results are still gestating, all expectant moms can benefit from their general approach. Try some of the following techniques inspired by their work for your own mindful meals.



6 Techniques for Mindful Meals

1. Talk to your caregivers about your weight. Work with them to determine the optimal amount of weight gain for your pregnancy, given your health, body type and age.

2. Learn all you can about healthy food choices during pregnancy. Some doctors and midwives offer pamphlets with dietary guidelines and recipes. Registered dietitians are another great option, as are the websites of the American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Women, Infants, and Children program.

3. Listen to your body. When you’re hungry and your stomach’s growling, eat. Whereas, when your mind is bored, or you’re feeling stressed and lonely, remember that the craving is likely for emotional comfort.

4. Before beginning a meal, pause for reflection. Focus on the food before you, and how it will nourish you and your baby. According to NPR, research shows that what expecting mother’s eat may also have a reflection on baby’s food preferences later in life.

5. While eating, be present. Notice the taste and texture of the food, as well as the color, and the seasoning.

6. Listen for satiation cues. The goal is to feel pleasantly full, not full to the point of pressure and discomfort.

All-in-all, it’s important for expecting mothers to be aware of what they are putting in their bodies while carrying baby. And, “mindful eating” should be a practice that then carries over onto baby’s plate when he or she is old enough to consume foods.


More Health Tips

Visit acog.org or wicworks.fns.usda.gov/nutrition…/nutrition-and-health-pregnant-moms for more healthy tips for
expecting mothers.


WHITNEY WOLLERTON MORRILL is an architect who designs and writes for families. Her blog is theCoconutgirl.com.



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