There’s something magical that happens when you find out you’re pregnant. Everything instantly changes! For me, my future had a different meaning, my goals changed, and I looked at my diet in a way I’ve never looked at it before. Food had a completely new purpose, and that purpose was to provide the nutrients my body needed in order to grow and support a growing fetus.
The first trimester has been difficult, as it can be challenging to diversify my diet. Some days early on in my pregnancy, all I could stomach was cereal and milk, yogurt, and a cheese stick, but I quickly learned that I had to listen to my body, I had to eat every 2-3 hours, and I had to focus on the nutrients I was intaking.
During my first month of pregnancy, I took some time to think about what I was eating and what those foods were providing. The National Dairy Council provided information that helped me to better understand why dairy was essential to my body and for the growth of my baby. I learned that dairy provides our bodies with calcium, vitamin D, protein, and phosphorus! Our bodies need these nutrients, whether we’re pregnant or not, but they are also necessary for a baby’s growth and development!
Though I still have to watch how much dairy I’m consuming (I’m trying to only eat the calories my body needs to grow a healthy baby), up until this point in my pregnancy dairy has been a big part of my diet. Most days I find myself having a glass of milk in the morning after a workout, yogurt as a mid-morning snack, and a cheese stick before I leave work. Dairy for me has been comforting, filling, and flavorful, helping me to feel confident in the foods I am providing my growing baby.
I know not everyone can tolerate lactose, but there are some great lactose-free options out there. Lactose-free milk (like LACTAID) for instance is real dairy, meaning it still provides you with all of the essential nutrients without the lactose. You can also try out a LI friendly recipe or alter one of your own recipes to make it LI friendly!
These past few months I’ve learned just how important dairy is and how eating it in moderation can help me to fuel my body. As I shared, food has a whole new meaning now, but I love being able to take the time to understand our food groups and the nutrients they provide us in order to create and sustain life.