Getting Enough Protein When You Have Pregnancy Aversions

Andrea Rudy


During pregnancy, it is crucial to prioritize eating balanced, nutritional meals to support the overall well-being of both the mother and the growing baby. One key aspect to focus on is protein intake, aiming for a minimum of 80 grams per day.

Protein is essential for the development of the baby's organs, muscles, and tissues, as well as to support the mother's own bodily functions. If you practice tuning into your body's signals, you may be able to interpret various cravings and pregnancy symptoms as your body's way of telling you what it requires. Some women find that consuming adequate protein can help allay nausea and morning sickness - yet another way your body might be signaling its needs.

Unfortunately, the same women who experience this kind of morning sickness, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, may also find that many of the common sources of protein are unpalatable and downright unpleasant for them. Nutrient dense meals from chicken, fish and eggs, for example, could be a major aversion, making the nausea even worse.

To continue to care for our bodies with appropriate nutrition each day, alternative sources of protein can be really helpful. Here are several delicious ways to incorporate more protein into your diet that you may not have considered yet:

Breakfast - Oatmeal (10 grams protein per serving) and whole-fat yogurt (8 grams protein per serving) make excellent bases for your morning meal. Add your favorite fruits, berries, nuts, seeds and of course a drizzle of honey and you might just find that breakfast becomes your favorite meal once again.

Lunch - If you're busy like me, lunch needs to be easy to assemble and eat without a lot of prep. Salads are delicious and can be a great protein carrier! Make a salad ahead and add toppings like chickpeas (7 grams protein per serving), quinoa (4 grams protein per serving), sliced almonds (6 grams protein per serving), pumpkin seeds (7 grams protein per serving), and even cottage cheese (14 grams per serving).

Snacks - When you're pregnant, smaller more frequent meals are sometimes easier to digest. Grab a snack in the middle of the morning or the middle of the afternoon when your energy might tend to slump. You can include things like cheese (7 grams protein per serving) or peanut butter (8 grams protein per serving) alongside your favorite raw fruits and vegetables.

Dinner - If steak and chicken are off the menu for you currently, not to worry. One complete serving of beans and rice together gives you a whopping 21 grams of protein at once. Not to mention, beans and rice are extremely affordable and can be cooked in a wide variety of delicious ways.

Dessert - A craving for sweets is reported as one of the most common pregnancy cravings. That's okay! There's no need to deprive yourself - eating things that bring you joy is important to your emotional wellbeing. One of my favorite way to enjoy dessert is with a protein smoothie. A strawberry chocolate protein smoothie tastes just like a milkshake and contains 25 grams of protein. Yummy!

Everyone's body is unique, and your needs and requirements may not be exactly the same as someone else's. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to ensure a well-rounded and appropriate meal plan during pregnancy.

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate protein into your diet? Let me know if you've enjoyed anything I listed!