Pregnancy Diet


Protein needs are increased during pregnancy, and protein shakes are a great method to ensure you get enough protein during all the trimesters. The best time to take protein depends on your pregnancy, appetite, and personal preferences. Pregnant women often experience various cravings at specific times of the day, or food aversions at other times during the day. The great thing is that protein supplements can be taken and properly absorbed at any time during the day.

There isn’t a specific time that your body will absorb more protein than other times, so the best time is when you want to make it most. Here are some optional times, and why they may be beneficial to you for cravings, morning sickness, or hunger.

Benefits of drinking your protein powder in the morning:

A protein smoothie for breakfast is a great time to drink your protein. Protein first thing can help reduce appetite throughout the day, ease morning sickness and ensure you get in your protein requirements early on. It is a good idea to make a protein shake in the morning, and here is why:

  • Eases your tummy if you struggle with morning sickness
  • Reduces appetite throughout the day
  • Stabalizes blood sugar
  • Helps with maintaining a healthy weight
  • Sets you up for adequate protein intake and a balanced diet

If you can’t stomach your protein shake in the morning, don’t worry! Your body will still get all the benefits and absorb all the grams of protein at any other time of the day as well! It is most important that a pregnant woman gets in all her protein, rather than what time she drinks it.

Benefits of Protein Powder in the afternoon:

There are also great benefits of drinking protein powder in the afternoon. Many times, pregnant mamas find themselves tired and really wanting a pick-me-up in the aternoon. This can lead to mindless snacking on carbs and sweets, where a protein shake is an efficient and tasty option to really help with the fatigue. Protein sources like Bump Dust are also full of additional nutrients, which help with brain function and energy. The additional superfoods like spirulina and chlorella boost iron levels and vitamin B levels, which are essential during pregnancy for both mama and baby. I personally drink a little coffee while pregnant, and I LOVED a protein coffee in the afternoon when I was pregnant during the summer. It was the perfect boost that helped me not overeat before dinner, and keep my blood sugar stable in the later afternoon. Benefits of protein powder in the afternoon include:

  • Helps avoid mindless snacking
  • Reduces brain fog and fatigue
  • Helps with afternoon cravings
  • Tastes like a great treat to alleviate sugar cravings
  • Keeps blood sugar levels stable later in the day
  • Reduces hunger before dinner

Protein shakes as a dessert during pregnancy:

One of my all-time favorite ways to have a protein shake is like a milk shake after dinner! Bump Dust blends so sweet and creamy, it was my favorite, plant-based dessert! It really helped me keep from eating a ton of ice cream in the super hot months of summer. Depending on what kind of protein powder you choose, it could be a chocolate protein shake, a strawberry, or even peanut butter shake that really hits the spot in the evening. This is a great time to drink your protein shake as well because:

  • Protein shakes in the evening keep blood sugar stable while sleeping
  • It helps you wake up less hungry, and hopefully less nauseaus
  • It provides lots of nutrients at the end of the day, rather than sugar and fat in something like ice cream
  • It stops late-night binge eating or cravings

These are awesome benefits to drinking a protein shake as your dessert, and this is another way I LOVED to have mine during pregnancy. I blended Bump Dust with some peanut butter or frozen berries, and it was just so good!

What’s the best protein powder to drink during pregnancy?

It is really important to choose a high-quality, clean protein powder free of artificial sweeteners and heavy metals. A good protein powder consists of whole foods, no chemicals, and an easy-to-read ingredient list. There are many different kinds of protein powders on the market, so it can be confusing to know which protein supplement to choose. Here is a list of different kinds of protein powders, and options, so you can choose the best one for you:

Whey protein powder:

Whey protein powder is derived from cows milk, and it offers a great, creamy texture. Because it is a dairy product, and comes from an animal, some are sensitive to the protein. If you are sensitive to dairy products or animal proteins, this may not be the best choice for you. Whey protein powder offers a complete amino acid profile, usually have natural ingredients and make great, creamy protein smoothies. It is important to look for whey protein from cows that are free-range, grass-fed and free of hormones. This is key because you don’t want to consume hormones that will be found in the whey if that’s what the animals are given. The reason some don’t choose whey is because of the digestive issues it can cause. They tend to be harder to digest for some people.

Here are some great, whey protein powder options for pregnancy:

Pea Protein:

Pea protein is a protein source used in most vegan proteins and organic protein powders. Pea protein is one of the few plant-based sources that offers all essential amino acids (complete profile). Most plans only offer some amino acids. Pea protein blends well and offers a good amount of protein per serving. Often times, pea protein is mixed with additional plant proteins like chia seeds, brown rice protein and flax seed protein. Depending on the formula, more protein sources can offer more nutrients overall and increase the nutritional value. Many pea protein powders offer organic ingredients, which helps ensure that pesticides and chemicals aren’t used on the plants.

Some great pea protein powder options for pregnancy include:

Soy protein:

Soy is another protein source that is found in vegan protein powders. It blends well, and has a great texture in smoothies, but sometimes isn’t as popular because of the hormonal effect it can have. Soy can act like estrogen in the body, which may be less ideal during pregnancy. There are also abroption issues for soy because it is a legume, and some studies on rats during the prenatal period showed high exposure to soy reduced the baby’s immune system. It is not a protien source that I really recommend during pregnancy.

Benefits of protein for pregnant moms:

There are so many benefits of protein for pregnancy, and I think it is important to go over what they are to encourage you to find a good protein shake. First of all, your nutritional needs for protein are increased during pregnancy. As you are growing a baby, protein is needed for that growth and development. Second, many protein powders offer essential nutrients found in your prenatal vitamin. Bump Dust is now being formulated to replace your prenatal vitamin all together, which is really helpful. Now, you don’t have to take a prenatal and a protein powder. Protein plays an important role for your growing baby, and it is a great way or both you and your baby to stay healthy.

Protein shakes help with weight management during pregnancy:

Protein powder also is a great tool to help with a healthy pregnancy and optimal weight gain. Protein consumption helps maintain muscle mass, while also increasing metabolism. It can be hard to stay active during pregnacy, and easy to lose muscle mass when you become larger and more sedentary. Eating enough protein will help keep the muslce mass needed to keep your metabolism faster. This will also help you during labor as well. The more muscle and strength you have, the stronger you will be able to push when the time comes. A healthy diet is most important for weight management, and protein shakes are an easy way to help keep the healthy diet going. I know protein shakes really help me during my pregnancies because I can at least get in a healthy meal or snack fast, with minimal clean up. That is one of my favorite parts of protein shakes. The fact that they are fast, taste great, and I can take them on the go with me too.

Protein shakes are great for all trimesters:

You can start drinking your protein shake during the first trimester, and continue through the second and third trimester. If you are too nauseaus, and can’t eat anything in the first trimester, don’t worry. It will get better, and you can make up for lost nutrition later on. There are many mamas who can not eat, and often lose weight during the first trimester. Make sure to keep up with your doctor, and they will advise you on how and when you can start your protein shakes. Always have your doctor review the protein shakes you are considering, so they can ensure the ingredients and nutritional profile are right for you. They can also advise you on the recommended amount of protein for you personally, verses the general population. They will take into account your weight, and weight goals through pregnancy, to ensure you hit the right amounts of protein in your regular diet.

My favorite protein shake recipe to hit my prenatal protein goals:

  • 1 Scoop Bump Dust Prenatal Protein Powder
  • 2 cups Ice
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup almond milk

Blend together, and you will LOVE how delicious this smoothie is! It is also so full of amazing ingredients for both you and baby.

Starting your day with protein during pregnancy can make or break your energy, cravings and overall exhaustion later in the day. I’ve personally found that starting my day with a high-protein smoothie sets me up for so much success later. There are of course many more options besides smoothies for a protein-rich meal, so I’m going to give you guys some of my other favorites as well!

If I skip on the protein early in the day, I will find myself devouring the rest of my kids lunches in the late afternoon. I learned really quickly that I can avoid the afternoon slump of mindless eating if I start with a more satiating, protein-rich meal. Of course Bump Dust is my go-to prenatal protein powder that tastes so good! On busy days I just shake with almond milk and drink it. I love it!

I do tend to intermittent fast to lose weight after pregnancy, but I don’t fast so much during pregnancy. I wake up with an empty, icky stomach basically throughout the whole pregnancy, so eating makes me feel so much better.

My Favorite Foods and Meals For Morning Sickness

What are some of the best, protein-rich foods for a prenatal breakfast?

  • Turkey Bacon (natural, no nitrates etc. Because it is cooked, you are pretty safe with turkey bacon)
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Overnight protein oats (made with a scoop of protein powder)
  • Low-carb, high protein cereals (there are lots of brands out there!)
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat greek yogurt
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Large almond-milk or low-fat dairy latte can be rich in protein and a breakfast too!

Once you have a good list of foods to choose from, planning and making some great breakfast ideas is a MUST to help keep you satisfied during pregnancy. High-protein meals will also help you stay full, and less likely to give into cravings – thus gaining all the weight!

How I Control My Weight Gain During The First Trimester

Here are some amazing, high-protein breakfast ideas for a healthy bump all pregnancy:

My Favorite Prenatal Protein Frappuccino

This is my favorite high-protein breakfast recipe for super fast morning, and for the mamas that don’t want to totally give up coffee! Lean, clean and full of energy!!

The Best Protein-Packed Pregnancy Smoothies

Baked Omelet Muffins by Kirbie’s Cravings

I love baked omelet or egg muffins because you can store them and grab them through out the week!

Make-ahead Low Carb Breakfast Wraps by Kasey Trenum

You really don’t need a recipe for these, but a good low-carb wrap makes a big difference. I love that you can make these ahead of time, and grab them all week as well. I change up the egg scramble every week. Sometimes it is lots of veggies, other times it is just eggs and turkey bacon.

Mocha Protein Oatmeal by Running on Real Food: 

I love adding protein to the oatmeal because you are getting the combination of fiber and protein. This combo is what will really fill you up, and leave you literally not wanting to eat for hours. I use Bump Dust as my protein with oatmeal, and it is so sweet and yummy! You can add a scoop of cocoa powder to the Bump Dust, and it turns into a chocolate powder flavor.

Easy, 3-Ingredient Protein Pancakes by Mason Fit

These are SO easy! Just add your protein powder to your favorite pancake mix with some milk of choice. I recommend the Birch Benders Paleo mixes to keep the carbs down and protein high.

Prenatal High-Protein Chocolate Milk Shake:

prenatal protein frappucino

Who doesn’t want a chocolate milk shake for breakfast?? Seriously, this is so good, and you can have it as dessert as well!  All you have to do is blend together:

  • 1 scoop Bump Dust prenatal protein powder
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 tbsp of coconut cream (the top part of canned coconut milk)
  • About 2 tbsp of cocoa powder (depending on how chocolatey you like it)
  • About 1 cup of milk of choice. Fairlife high-protein non fat milk blends really well with this, or any non-dairy milk too!
  • Non-fat whipped cream for topping (optional)
  • A non-sugar added chocolate drizzle (optional)

You will love this if you are a sweet breakfast person, or working and like something to eat and drink on your commute!

Low Carb Chocolate Protein Muffins by Bake It Paleo

These are amazing, low carb and high in protein! Using Bump Dust protein powder can make them even more nutritious for your pregnancy 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowl by Budget Bytes

Yummy! I love apples and cinnamon in the fall and winter, so this is right up my alley! The key is to use a low-fat cottage cheese, so your protein count is higher per serving.

Paleo Granola by The Real Food Dietitians

I love that you can pack this for an on-the-go breakfast, or have as a snack. It really is nice to have it available as both. You could even turn it into a cereal with some milk in a bowl!

Blueberry Coconut Chia Seed Pudding by Mad About Food

Chia seeds have a huge nutritional bang for their buck, and I love a good pudding texture. They can thicken up your smoothies too, and really go with all sorts of flavors!

There you have 10, high-protein breakfast ideas to keep your bump healthy and fit.

I highly recommend investing in a good protein powder for quick smoothies, because it often comes down to energy for prepping and preparing food!

I know I’m 36 weeks pregnant now, and for some reason cooking and food prep is not at the top of my list. I’m more interested in a new car seat, organizing baby clothes and new strollers. So, smoothies are fast and easy for me, so I can accomplish the things I want, without having a lot of clean up and prep time.

What I eat in a day, to have a belly-only pregnancy was a requested video from many of you over on Instagram, so I finally put it all together for you! I basically just filmed everything I eat on a normal day of eating.

Because this is my fourth pregnancy, I’ve learned so much about staying healthy and fit all pregnancy. Diet is one of the most important factors of maintaining your weight during pregnancy. Diet is probably one of the biggest challenges for pregnancy mamas because of all the pregnancy cravings!

Believe me, I know about cravings. I LOVE myself some chips, nachos, more chips and fries when pregnant. But, I can conquer those cravings, once I get to the second trimester, by cleaning up my diet and getting back on track. I frequently do clean-eating challenges with the mamas on my Instagram, which really helps me completely get rid of the cravings!

I also LOVE my protein shakes. I am seriously obsessed with Bump Dust because as long as I have a smoothie, I feel so good all day! It is formulated with all the vitamins, minerals and ingredients that help pregnant mamas nourish their body for baby. It is also high in protein, low in sugar and carbs and low in calories, so it really will help you maintain your weight! You’ll see the fun smoothie bowl I make in my video below.

What I Eat In A Day For a Belly-Only Pregnancy:

I hope this video helps give you some ideas on how to eat to nourish your body properly during pregnancy, while also maintaining your weight.

Some of my favorite foods for a belly-only pregnancy are in my program, and in my ebook cook book coming out soon! That way you can have a resource to quickly grab some meals that are nourishing and healthy.

If you want to see my Trader Joe’s grocery haul for our clean eating challenge, watch that one below!