Eating For 2! I remember when my wife was first pregnant with our first child. She had cravings for pizza, hoagies, and anything else you find at an Italian restaurant. It just so happened that I also worked at an Italian restaurants where the portions were huge and the prices were reasonable. With it being our first pregnancy, us being full-time students, and I was working over 20 hours a week in a restaurant that was widely known for making people fat, we didn’t handle our weight too well. I’m smart enough to not post my wife’s digits, but let’s just say that she has since acknowledged years later that she did not handle that pregnancy too well weight-wise. I was probably around 195 when we first got married. About a year later when my wife was late in her pregnancy, I was up at the 240’s. What was the culprit? Eating for two. Most people have heard the phrase that a mommy late in her pregnancy needs to eat for two people since she has a little person in her stomach. The dad takes this as an excuse to get second helpings. So a bi-weekly visit to the neighborhood Ryan’s Steakhouse is usually in order.
It was the same for us. We would eat a large pizza with a pasta bread bowl and watch “The Office” every Thursday night. On a side note, I personally felt like season 6 was the worst ever! It just felt like a complete soap opera with very little comedy. I honestly don’t know why I watched any of the seasons after season 2. Anyways, as for all the food we ate, while the labor felt like a marathon, it didn’t mean we had to carboload for it. It wasn’t until our second pregnancy where a class had been created (not Lamaze) by the local hospital staff. They talked about anything and everything from birth control, birthing techniques, stuff parents need to have ready, stuff the baby will need, eating right, exercise, you name it. During the eating right portion we learned that eating for 2 really meant that an extra apple a day would suffice. That’s it. The little baby in the stomach doesn’t need a Baconator to stay healthy and fed in the womb.
It was during my wife’s second pregnancy that my wife experienced a new “pregnancy craving.” This new craving was eating healthy. She wanted meals that were essentially just grilled vegetables. I’ll talk more on that later. Eating healthy is not easy or cheap. Organic fruits and vegetables are even pricier than the “natural” foods that supermarkets sell to customers. Here are a few tips that I learned during my wife’s second pregnancy to eat healthier and cheaper:
- Go to your local farmer’s market. Towards the end of the market, the vendors just want to get rid of their crops so they don’t have to take it back with them. By that point they are willing to haggle. Also become friends with them. Usually vendors hook their friends up with a few extra things. There was a gentleman from our church who would always give us free squash or spinach leaves.
- Coupons. Coupons aren’t just a thing your mom did in the 70’s and 80’s. In fact, there are more and more ways to get coupons these days. You can try sites like http://lozo.com/grocery-coupons-bundler or just Googling the manufacturer’s name and going to their sites. It’s a lot of work, but this easily saved us $100’s of dollars.
- If you have a Costco, Sam’s Club, or any other wholesaler in your area, take advantage of them. We have had a Costco membership for over 5 years now. Every month they send a coupon book with deals. Even without the deals, if you buy wholesale on non-perishables like dry cereal, beans, sugar, flour, spices, etc. you are saving more per unit than just buying it at your local Wal-mart or grocery store. Sure a lot of the deals are frozen pizzas and sugary drinks, but it still has some deals on the healthy stuff.
- Eat like a Californian. I lived in Northern California for a couple of years and every time we ate at one of my friends’ house, they would serve us a salad with some chopped nuts, craisins, and a vinaigrette. The main dish was grilled chicken. Sure this seems pretty boring, but with a little creativity, there are many variations to keep this meal fresh.
- Eliminate the sodas and desserts. Honestly, soda is just liquid candy. If you take the money from buying sugary, fatty foods and use it to buying the good foods that will not only be good for you, but also fill you up faster.
- Grow your own. Although we lived in an apartment while in school, we had a friend who owned a house and they allowed us to plant a garden in their backyard. I can’t tell you how many times we ate grilled squash, zucchini, and onions. With that being said, I can’t really remember a time where I got tired of it. Besides, we planted all sorts of fruits and veggies. As for the excess…
- Can your leftover garden foods that you grew or bought from the farmer’s market. If properly done, the canned goods will last multiple decades.
Looking back, I really wish we had taken care of our bodies. We were students in college and spent a lot of time at the desk hitting the books, but I feel that if we made time, we could’ve worked out for about a half hour each day. Going for a walk with a pregnant wife is a lot easier than going for a walk with a tiny baby who is sensitive to the tiniest change in the weather. I will eventually do another post about the workouts I eventually bought into that really transformed my thoughts on working out and taking care of my body.