What to Eat For Morning Sickness: The Best Foods and Recipes
There's no question morning sickness stinks; worse, scientists aren't entirely sure why it happens. It seems that pregnancy trips the part of the brain that controls vomiting, which leads to nausea. The quease may also be linked to increases in some hormones (such as estrogen) and your heightened sense of smell, Mother Nature's way of protecting your bambino. "Your body uses odors to assess safety," explains Miriam Erick, M.S., R.D.N., author of Managing Morning Sickness. "Sensing rotten food saves you from eating something bad." But that sensitive nose can make perfectly safe roasted chicken a no-go as well. Here are some tips for combatting morning sickness with food and recipes.
Eat Early in the Day
Stash a box of crackers in your bedside table and nibble a few as soon as you wake, since eating early in the day can help stave off morning sickness. "An empty stomach ups nausea," Erick explains. And not every cracker is alike—"the saltier, the better," she adds. Saltines will never taste so good — and after pregnancy, you'll wonder why they were so appealing!
To combat nausea, try reaching for cold foods (sorbet, please!)—hot bites are more likely to have an aroma that triggers your gag reflex.
Get Some Lemon Acid
Keep lemons on hand. Sniff them, squeeze them in drinking water or even lick slices—the refreshing smell and taste can calm your stomach when morning sickness hits. Lemon drops can help, too—keep some stashed in your bag if you're feeling off while you're out and about.
Dial Up the Vitamins
Sciatica refers to the shooting pain that branches from the lower back down your legs. "As your belly grows more prominent, your center of gravity shifts forward, making your spine more susceptible to injury," says Hooman M. Melamed M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon in Beverly Hills. Diet can be part of a holistic treatment. "Some foods have been shown to reduce painful muscle tissue and nerve inflammation," Melamed says. Snack on foods full of omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts or kale chips; vitamin A, like carrots and spinach; and vitamin B, like sweet potatoes and bananas.
Stave Off Your Sweet Tooth
"Excess sugar can exacerbate sciatica—it aggravates nerve endings," Melamed says. "Instead, treat yourself to an ounce of dark chocolate—70 percent cocoa or higher. It's one of the healthiest indulgences."
The Best Foods for Morning Sickness
When morning sickness hits, you might want to consider grabbing one of these items from your refrigerator or cupboard:
- Anything ginger
- Carbonated drinks (without artificial sweeteners)
- Hard candies
- Herbal teas (red raspberry, lemon, spearmint, peppermint, peach, or chamomile)
- Potato chips
- Protein bars
- RELATED: A Food Guide for Pregnant Women
What To Eat For Morning Sickness: Our Top Recipes
Want to stave off pregnancy nausea? Click though for five fun recipes, which incorporate the best foods for morning sickness. Learn how to make citrus ginger pops, candy bars, chickpea guacamole, curry noodle soup, and ginger cookies.
(Recipes and photos are reprinted with permission from FULL BELLY © 2014 Tara Mataraza Desmond, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.)
Citrus Ginger Pops
Ginger is the go-to herbal remedy for relieving morning sickness, which 50 percent of women experience, but there's only so many cups of ginger tea an expecting mom can sip! Enter these ice pops that are also made with stomach-soothing citrus. If you make a bunch in advance, you can grab one from your freezer whenever you feel queasy. Or have this sweet treat as a "dessert lollipop" after meals. If you've been finding yourself chomping on ice to settle your stomach, freeze the mixture into tiny molds the size of lozenges that you can comfortably suck. Not a fan of ginger but like the idea of a cold pop? Leave the ginger out entirely! And if pops make you gag (a common problem among pregnant women!), freeze the mixture into ice cubes and drop them in a glass of water or seltzer to sip on.
Mama Nature's Candy Bars
Poppable protein is just what you need when moring sickness makes eating a proper meal out of the question. And these are yummy with a chewy, sweet and saltiness to each bite. Have 'em for breakfast, as a snack or before bed with a cup of tea. They're nutritious even if you're not counting down to Baby: Almonds have more bone-building calcium, fiber, protein, and vitamin E than any other tree nut and cocoa powder contains flavanols, plant-based compounds that are known to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart.
Dip into this nutrient-rich snack! We ramped up this guacamole by adding chickpeas to make it both full of protein and heart-healthy fats. Grab a handful of your favorite plain chips and satisfy your pregnancy hunger without upsetting your stomach. Besides "good" fats, you'll also get a roster of pregnancy-fuelers, such as fiber, vitamins E and K, folate, and minerals (potassium, iron, and magnesium).
Curry Noodle Soup
A warm bowl of soup, much like a cup of tea, can soothe your quesy stomach in your first trimester. But it can also fill you up, which is crucial to managing morning sickness. The curry and coconut in this recipe are so satisfying, but milder soups like chicken noodle can also help an expecting mom out. If you don't have a mandolin to thinly slice the vegetables, no worries. Simply quarter the zucchini and carrots lengthwise and slice them into thin 1/4-inch pieces. You can also add a handful of chopped peanuts or shredded cooked chicken to your bowl for a punch of filling protein.
Lots of pregnant women have an intense craving for sweets, even while battling morning sickness. So go ahead, bake a batch of these cookies! The tummy-tempering ginger makes them a great treat when you've got a bump. Plus, the whole-grains means they'll fill you up more than other carb-y options out there.