I thought I’d take some time today to talk a bit about how I’m eating during my pregnancy. Now, I’ve always had a pretty active appetite, probably because I’m a fairly physically active person (I mean, for someone with a desk job), but pregnancy showed me how important it was to eat frequently throughout the day to both keep from getting hungry and nauseous, and to keep up with my changing appetite. As my nausea has faded, I’ve found that I tend to be hungrier early in the day and then have worsening indigestion as the day goes on. So I need to eat frequently and healthfully at breakfast and lunch, and then eat a smaller dinner.
But in reality, three squares just isn’t going to cut it. No, my strategy has been to take a page from epic literature and eat like a hobbit.
Obviously, I was first introduced to the hobbit diet through the works of J. R. R. Tolkein and Merry and Pippin’s infamous exchange about the meals they were missing while on their quest to return the One Ring. But I first became aware of the actual mealtimes and foods associated with the hobbit diet through the blog Kitchen Overlord, where the author shares some recipes from her book An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Looking at various other sources, and inferring based on parallels to British mealtimes, the hobbit meals are as follows:
7 a.m.: Breakfast
9 a.m.: Second Breakfast
11 a.m.: Elevenses
1 p.m.: Luncheon
4 p.m.: Afternoon Tea
7 p.m.: Supper
9 p.m.: Dinner
So for my pregnancy diet, I tend to eat as much as I can for Breakfast through Luncheon, have a snack before my evening commute at 5 p.m., and then make dinner/supper around 7 p.m. and perhaps have a little extra right before going to bed, to avoid waking up hungry in the middle of the night as much as possible. But how does this translate to actual meals? In practice, this comes out to about four proper meals and three snacks.
Well, I wake up around 5:30-6 a.m. and either eat right away or shower and then eat. Lately, I’ve been having a bowl of cereal with a banana and cashew milk, but earlier on, I would have something lighter, like an apple with some peanut butter. Originally, the point of this was to get me through my commute (and morning barre class) without feeling woozy or queasy from hunger. But lately, I wake up ravenous anyway, hence the larger breakfast. Then, once I’m at work, around 8:30 a.m., I made a second breakfast.
Second breakfast is generally more substantial, and my constant go-to is my one consistent craving: eggs and avocado. When I bring food from home, I slice up an avocado and cook some scrambled eggs in the microwave, then put both on an English muffin. If I’m coming from the gym on Monday, I’ll stop and get an avocado toast with eggs from the cafe near my gym. But eggs and avocado is almost always second breakfast.
Elevenses is usually a treat with a cup of tea, either some rustic biscuits (I like Effie’s nutcakes) or maybe a Hail Merry mini tart. Elevenses is particularly necessary on Tuesdays, when I go to yoga at noon and can’t eat my lunch early. So I can usually wait until about 1 p.m. for lunch, when I have a pretty standard lunch, usually a bowl of homemade soup with some bread, or maybe a sandwich or some tacos if I’m eating out.
Then, before my commute home, I have “afternoon tea” around 4-4:30 p.m. I often switch my true tea for a cup of my herbal pregnancy tea, and have that with another treat/snack, like for elevenses. Generally, I try to keep my elevenses treat a little healthier and allow myself a little more indulgence for afternoon tea, but it’s the same idea: something small, usually sweet, and often baked. This week, I’ve made a batch of oatmeal fruit bars for which I’m particularly excited.
When I get home, I start making dinner (supper), and lately we’ve been eating between 7 and 7:30 p.m. Food aversions, fatigue, and just general changes of taste have made our meals somewhat predictable. We eat a lot of beef chili, chicken stew, and the occasional evening fry-up. Sometimes, I’ll boil some frozen ravioli. And we generally get takeout a couple times a week, usually from our favorite Thai restaurant, a local fish sandwich place, or a Greek restaurant. Because my indigestion acts up later in the day, I’ve started making my supper a bit smaller than it once was, but I’ve learned I need to make sure to give Dan a little extra, as he only eats two meals a day, and started losing weight when I started reducing one of those meals (he’s more of a ranger than a hobbit, I think…).
Then, around 8:30-9 p.m., just before we’re getting ready for bed, I’ll have dessert, usually Coconut Bliss ice cream. It’s not really a meal, but I like to leave a little gap between our dinner and the treat so that I’m less likely to wake up in the middle of the night starving. So far, my desire to stay in bed has outweighed my need to eat in the middle of the night, and hopefully my hobbit habits of eating will keep it that way!