Below, you’ll find tips for creating a balanced plate for your Pregnant Whole30. Please consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any diet or exercise regimen.
By Chelsea Long, Whole30 Content Manager and mama of three.
Attempting a Pregnant Whole30? We know how tough it can be to deal with pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, food aversions, and shrinking stomach capacity. We also know that many people report amazing non-scale victories during pregnancy, and we want you to have the opportunity to experience those, if you so desire.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to eat during pregnancy, here are some ideas for you. If you’re familiar with the Whole30, then you know about our meal planning template. We use this as a starting point, but for pregnant people, we recommend four specific modifications to the Whole30 program as written.
Is the Whole30 safe during pregnancy? Read this article from our in-house R.D.
Your Pregnant Whole30 Meals: Protein
We recommend aiming for the protein amount recommended by the Whole30 Meal Template. This means having one to one and a half palm-sized portions of protein per meal. Depending on what stage of pregnancy you’re in, that might sound like a lot!If you’re having protein aversions, know that it’s normal, and try to get it in however and whenever you can. That might mean adding collagen powder to a smoothie (if your provider approves), sipping on some bone broth, or waiting until later in the day to eat some protein.
Your Pregnant Whole30 Meals: Carbohydrates
The original Whole30 template says to fill the rest of your plate with vegetables (starchy and non) and occasionally add fruit. In pregnancy, we recommend that you add a fist-sized portion of carb-dense vegetables (i.e., potatoes or hard winter squash) and/or fruit. Then fill the rest of your plate with lower-carb, nutrient-dense vegetables such as leafy greens, broccoli, or peppers. The Whole30 shopping list can help you get creative if you get stuck in a vegetable rut!
Your Pregnant Whole30 Meals: Snacking
The general Whole30 recommendation is that you shouldn’t snack regularly during your Whole30. But during your Pregnant Whole30, you may find it challenging to eat large meals. If this is the case, feel free to snack. And by snack, we mean you should eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
Try to avoid grazing all day, but know that you don’t have to stick to the traditional three meals per day. When you do snack, try to think of your snacks as mini-meals: combine at least two of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) to avoid blood sugar crashes. Also be mindful of not feeding your Sugar Dragon (or Carb Dragon, for that matter!). I know those pregnancy cravings can be a killer, so if you need a little tough love, know that you do not have to give into those cravings, especially if you know you’re going to feel worse afterwards.
Do Your Best!
I like to call this tip “grace upon grace.” The Whole30 rules are black and white for a reason, but we also recognize they might not work for you at every stage of your pregnancy (or maybe at all).
Remember that we don’t expect you to Whole30 during your entire pregnancy, and you might decide that the Whole30 during pregnancy isn’t ever right for you at all. You might start a Pregnant Whole30 and realize that it’s not the right choice for that stage of your pregnancy. This is a decision that I made during a first trimester Whole30. Give yourself grace! You’re growing a human inside of your body. Know that this season will pass, and maybe later in your pregnancy you’ll be ready to try again. You can always use the Whole30 program as inspiration for your meals, while making the decisions that suit you and doing the best you can.
Having trouble trying to visualize your balanced plate? Think of it like this:
- One-half to three-fourths of your plate: beautiful, nutrient-dense, low-starch vegetables.
- One-fourth of your plate: protein and healthy fats
- The last fourth: healthy, starchy, low-glycemic vegetables and fruits
A few example meals: a veggie frittata with sliced avocados and a side of berries; a salad with baked salmon, pecans and pickled beets, or this sweet potato stir fry.
You Got This!
You’re doing a great job! We know that you have advice coming at you from all sides while you’re pregnant, and we want to support you in the decisions that you’re making as you strive to have a happy, healthy pregnancy.
Chelsea Long is the Whole30 Content Manager. She lives in San Diego with her husband and three children. Formerly an English as a Second Language instructor at the University level, Chelsea shifted her interest to holistic health after giving birth to her first son. She did her first Whole30 at 6 months postpartum, while nursing! Chelsea is passionate about helping others find healing through yoga, meditation, and nutrition, both through her contribution to the Whole30 team and through her personal website.