First things first, let’s dive into Intuitive Eating. It seems to be everywhere and everyone’s favorite buzz-worthy wellness topic, but what does it actually mean and how can you actually BE intuitive with your eating? Pregnancy imposes a whole new level of challenges around nutrition and changes in cravings, hunger levels, etc. so we will dive into that as well and how you can nourish yourself and your baby while feeling good physically and emotionally.
What is this Intuitive Eating Thing & How Can I Implement It?
Intuitive Eating can have MANY different approaches and be something different to every person, but as a health coach, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve for first dipping your toe into this practice.
1. Slow Down!
We rush through everything these days. We’re on autopilot 24/7 without truly stopping to think about what our body needs for each meal before grabbing for food. I like to call this ‘implementing the pause’ by pausing to ask yourself what you need at that moment.
2. Remove the Rules.
I know this can be scary if you’re coming from a diet culture background, but it’s super important for being able to truly listen to your body. If you have a set of rules you’re following, you're inadvertently telling your body that you cannot trust it.
3. Change the questions you’re asking yourself.
My favorite question to ask is “how can I nourish my body to feel good both physically and emotionally?” with each meal. I focus on getting my needs nutritionally, as well as what will make me feel good emotionally.
4. Shift to an abundance mindset.
Diets and society typically love to tell us what we should eliminate or remove from our plate. AKA there’s a limiting mindset and a focus on what we can’t/shouldn’t have. Shift this to ask yourself, what do I need to ADD to my plate?
5. Focus on gentle nutrition empowerment.
Going off of the last tip, don’t be afraid of implementing gentle nutrition into each meal! Focus on adding in protein, fat, fiber and carbs to each meal to help balance blood sugar and fuel your body. The key is to use nutrition education as empowerment vs. an obsession.
Implementing Intuitive Eating During Pregnancy
Now that we covered some tips on how to actually eat intuitively, let’s dive into how to do this during pregnancy. I’m currently pregnant with identical twin girls and they have definitely given me a run for my money in the nutrition department! There are so many factors outside of your control, so focusing on what you CAN control is key. Let’s dive into some tips on how to stay feeling really great in your pregnancy…
1. Know that your hunger levels WILL vary.
You’re growing humans now! You’re providing all of their nutrients and your body is constantly working at a superhuman level to build these mini humans. Each day isn’t going to be the same, and that’s OK. Tune into your body and your hunger levels each day in the best way possible.
2. Remember that each phase is temporary.
When I think back to the first trimester now, it feels like a blip in time. However, when you’re in it, it feels like it will never end. It will - I promise! At the end of the day, getting in whatever you can stomach and being OK with that is huge. I didn’t eat as many veggies as I typically like during the first trimester, but as soon as I felt better, I was able to get back to my typical eating habits which felt great.
3. Always be prepared for when the hunger strikes!
Pregnancy is no joke with the hunger cues, and as long as you can listen to these, you will be all good. I prefer to be prepared at all times, which typically means having some nomz organic bites on me wherever I go to keep me full and satiated even if I’m on the go.
Healthy Snacking During Pregnancy
Now that we covered intuitive eating and how to implement it during pregnancy, let’s chat through how you can prioritize healthy snacking during pregnancy. We care so much about nourishing our babies and ourselves during this time, so here are some tips to help do just that!
Focus on getting protein & fat with each snack.
This will not only nourish you and keep you satiated, but both are essential for the babies growth and development as well.
Keep things quick and easy.
Those pregnancy hunger cravings are no joke, and when they strike you want to be able to feed them immediately. I love to have nomz organic bites on hand or pair nomz Macadamia Nut Butter with an apple or banana for a great snack whenever my energy levels start dipping.
Implement Mindful Eating.
Sometimes we just go through the motions or love to multitask while eating, and then the food doesn’t necessarily catch up with our brain. Take the time to sit down and snack when you’re hungry, JUST eat (put the phone down & laptop away) and try out things like taking a few deep breaths before eating and notice how much more satisfied you are after eating.