During pregnancy, it is recommended that women get between 60 and 80 grams of protein on a daily basis. For many women this number seems outlandish and completely impossible to reach. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, reaching this number becomes much easier, and you will be feeling healthier and more energized throughout the day in no time at all.
Below we have gathered a list of our favorite protein-boosting tips. By implementing a few of these tricks, we are confident you will be able to up your protein intake by quite a lot, with very little effort.
Swap Out Your Snacks
Pregnancy hunger is both very real and very strong. It can lead even the healthiest eater to indulge in the nearest available snack, even if that means snacking on something sugar-laden, carb-loaded, or otherwise terribly unhealthy. This is never a good thing, because hunger is a body’s way of asking for nutrients, something it needs plenty of when growing a baby. Feeding your body junk may satisfy your hunger for a while, but it will not provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
Instead of being led astray by intense pregnancy hunger—which can strike at any time—always leave the house prepared with a variety of high-protein snacks. By keeping foods such as lean beef jerky and nuts on hand at all times, you will reduce the temptation to snack on junk food, and up your protein intake while you’re at it.
Additionally, it is important to stock up your fridge with plenty of protein-rich foods. These should include such items as eggs (try boiling a few for a quick snack option), cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, chicken (pre-grilled chicken is handy for making a quick meal), and cheese. Stocking up on these items will help ensure you bring your protein rich snacking habits home with you.
Top Your Salad
We all know that a pregnant woman should eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and these are most often found in fresh-tossed salads. However, salads are not a good source of much-needed protein, nor are they a very filling option.
Why not solve both of those problems by topping your veggies with some protein? Almonds are an excellent, protein-laden addition to any salad. Other great options include grilled chicken, cheese, and chickpeas.
Pair Your Fruits
Fruit is a delicious and nutrient-rich snack. However, there is a way to make this good thing even better: Bulk it up with some protein.
Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and pairs very nicely with pears, apples, and bananas. Another great option is cottage cheese, which contains about 25 grams of protein per one-cup serving and goes well with a wide variety of fruits, including peaches, pineapples, and apricots. As a third option, consider stocking up on Greek yogurt. This particular type of yogurt contains much more protein than the traditional sort, and goes quite nicely with strawberries, blueberries, and a number of other fruits.
Replace Your Dairy
As mentioned above, Greek yogurt is an incredible source of protein. It is rich, creamy, and has a slightly sour taste—a bit like sour cream. This yogurt is perfect for eating plain or with fruit, but it also works quite well for cooking. It can replace sour cream, cream, or mayo in almost any recipe.
By 1) replacing the dairy in your recipes with Greek yogurt, 2) using Greek yogurt as a topping in place of sour cream, and 3) making dips using Greek yogurt, you can increase your protein intake without even noticing.
As you can see, reducing the amount of junk you consume, and tossing in some extra protein throughout the day, makes meeting the 60–80 gram expectation fairly simple. As an added bonus, you will develop healthier eating habits, which you can then carry with you after the birth of your little one.