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Wednesday, 29 August 2012 21:41

Meal Planning and How Do You Keep Your Energy Up While Pregnant?

I am reaching that point in pregnancy (the point that actually hit me two months earlier while I was carrying Clara) when it becomes difficult just to remain upright during the day.  My energy is just too low.

Thankfully, I have only a day and a half of work left this week, and then I am unofficially done! Except for the three Fridays I agreed to work to give them a bit more time to replace me, but we'll call that 'Future Sam's' problem...  Next week, I start teaching piano again (16 returning students, when I really only expected about 10) and babysitting a few hours every morning for a little girl who is the same age as my daughter.  I agreed to babysit for a couple of reasons - 1. Since I was only going to have 10 piano students, the extra income was kind of necessary, and this little girl and her family felt like a comfortable fit for me so despite my aversion to babysitting for strangers, I agreed... and 2. Having an additional toddler around MIGHT just make it actually easier to parent a toddler while taking care of an infant.  I have heard it said that having twins is easier than singletons - after the first year - because then they are better at entertaining each other than only one child would be.  I'm hoping this will be the case, because I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed terrified.

ANYWAY...

Partly because I am needing to boost my energy, and partly because I have been neglecting this for far too long and let's face it - one can only eat so much KD and hot dogs - it is time to start meal planning again.

I am usually good at this for about two months before I flake out and we spend a few weeks eating fast food and whatever we can scrounge around the house, and this fall will likely be no exception since I have about two months before I will be having another baby...

My first step is usually to determine a framework for my meal schedule, and to determine what sorts of meals I want to include.

This involves making lists :)

This go around, I want to make sure I include a lot of high-energy foods to boost my energy right now, and along with this I think I want to try to reduce our gluten intake, so I've been looking into gluten free meal plans for ideas.

We definitely need to eat more veggies, so I am making a list of either veggie-filled dishes, or veggie sides to include daily.

For cost reasons, I also need to consider a few meals each week that are low in price.  This means we can't have steak and salmon every day, as much as I would LOVE that :)  So, I make a list of meals that are lower in cost - pasta dishes, for example which also often make enough for two meals, and other possibly meatless meals that use ingredients on hand like waffles or pancakes.  If I'm being pretty healthy otherwise, I usually don't feel too bad about throwing in the occasional $1 box of KD either. 

Then I make a chart for the month, and take note of which kinds of meals I should make on which days - early in the week I choose meals that make more leftovers for lunches, and on days when I'm teaching piano I choose meals that can be made ahead of time or quickly during my supper breaks. 

Then I start slotting recipes in, while paying attention to which category each meal falls into and trying to avoid scheduling any of the same kind of food within one week.  Usually I have at least 1 chicken meal, 1-2 vegetarian or 'egg' meals, 1 beef meal, 1-2 seafood meals and 1 pork meal per week depending on what we are doing.  I also typically leave at least one supper free each week for an impromptu family event, or simply to eat any leftovers we may have accumulated. 

I try to do one big shopping trip at the beginning of each month, and then weekly trips for produce and bread.

Someday I hope to organize myself enough to spend a day or two at the beginning of each month making freeze-ahead meals like meatballs, chicken breasts and lasagna, but I'm not there yet!

What are your meal-planning strategies?

What foods do you eat to keep up your energy levels, or lower fatigue?

What else do you do to increase your energy while pregnant?

 

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