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6 quick meal ideas for pregnant women that are still healthy

You’re tired. You are super nauseated. Your feet hurt, and your back aches. And man, are you hungry!

When you are pregnant, standing over the stove might sound like an exasperating chore. Moreover, while your tummy could be audibly rumbling (and you know you need to eat food), the smell of certain ingredients may leave you feeling less than eager or excited.

What’s a ravenous soon-to-be mama to do? You know, besides order in takeout for the millionth day in a row.

Time to motivate. No need to rely on pizza again; we’ve got you covered in the kitchen. We’re sharing six healthy pregnancy recipes that will take 30 minutes or less to prepare. They’re simple, they’re healthy, and they’ll keep you satisfied — so you can get back to putting up those sore toesies and resting your heavy eyes.

pregnant cooking
Lordn/ Shutterstock

Go with garlic-lemon salmon

This salmon recipe for pregnant women is healthy, simple, and loaded with nourishing omega-3 fatty acids and DHA. Start with a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a small bowl; stir in a bit of minced garlic, a pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, and some chopped parsley. Now, generously squeeze lemon directly into your mixture. Mix and pour this concoction over a salmon filet and cook in the oven at 400 F for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve this over rice or, better yet, on a bed of spinach.

The FDA advises that pregnant women should get two or three 8- to 12-ounce servings of fish low in mercury — such as salmon — each week.

Whip up a veggie omelet

You want to incorporate a lot of vitamin, mineral, and folate-rich vegetables into your diet when you are eating for two. One way to accomplish this without chomping on raw greens all day? Throw them into a protein-heavy egg omelet. Try finely chopping broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and bell peppers into your eggs. Go ahead and add a generous helping of cheddar cheese for flavor. Top the whole thing with salsa and avocado — eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Perk up your pasta

If you’re craving a big ol’ bowl of carbs, have it — no time like the present when you are pregnant and hungry! Of course, a pile of spaghetti is not the most nutrient-dense option, so you might want to add a few extras. You can easily incorporate some vegetables into your sauce: peas, spinach, and carrots. You can also brown some lean chopped meat and whip up a simple Bolognese.

cheese plate
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Put together a cheese plate

Okay, okay. You may have a major hankering for a charcuterie board right now; alas, cured meats are off-limits when you’re expecting. Some soft cheeses also present an increased risk of listeria, so you’ll want to avoid those, as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself an epic hard cheese board. Add crackers, vitamin-rich fruits, and protein-packed nuts, and you will have yourself a pretty tasty and relatively healthy dairy-based meal. Plus, you can throw this together in minutes, and it requires no actual cooking. Win-win!

Try bruschetta grilled chicken

Lean proteins are the way to go right now — they’ll fuel and fill you up without weighing you down. Try baking a thin chicken breast in a store-bought bruschetta sauce (hey, it’s half homemade). This is a delicious and versatile option; it works with rice, pasta, or even on a baguette.

Make your own veggie burrito bowl

Craving Mexican fast food? You can jet off to Chipotle — or you could quickly build your own burrito bowl at home. Start with white rice, layer in protein-heavy canned black beans, and top with your favorite fixings: Salsa, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro. Of course, you could also add lean proteins — you do you!

What to avoid

As you menu-plan, keep in mind that there are several foods and ingredients you should actively avoid during those challenging nine months of pregnancy. Here are some of the more common items you should skip altogether:

  • Fish high in mercury (i.e., tuna)
  • Raw/undercooked fish (aka sushi)
  • Raw sprouts
  • Deli meats and cured meats
  • Unwashed produce
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Processed foods/junk food (in excess)
  • Unpasteurized dairy products and juices

Helpful meal-planning tips

Making yourself a meal when you’re pregnant is hard enough; doing it three times a day is just flat-out daunting — so take a few shortcuts and embrace some simple hacks. Here are some tips and tricks:

  • Double batch: Think bigger than the meal in front of you. Cook extras so that you can simply warm up leftovers and save yourself time and energy next time you get hungry.
  • Cook and freeze: If you’re feeling particularly motivated one day, consider getting ahead of the curve. Cook and batch freeze a few different meal options — and your future self will thank you!
  • Indulge when cravings hit: Yes, you want to fuel your pregnant body and eat nutrient-rich foods, but you also want to listen to your body and indulge — within reason, of course. Craving ice cream for dinner one day? Have at it, Mama. The occasional treat will do you good.
  • Keep up with your prenatal vitamin: Having food aversion? Not able to keep anything down? Eating a healthy diet while pregnant can be difficult for some women. Do your best; one of the most important things you can do for your body — and your baby — is keep up with that daily prenatal vitamin.

Cooking is no easy feat for many people. And it’s way harder when you’re cooking for two! Fortunately, you can get everything you and your little one need without spending too much time or exerting too much effort; these dishes will make you feel content, give you energy, and nourish that growing body. Enjoy!

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Lauren Barth
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
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