Monday, October 14, 2013

Pregnancy & Iron

Something I've noticed in this last trimester of pregnancy is that I feel a LOT more tired than I did during the first and second trimesters. At my latest doctor visit they ran some blood tests (which had already been scheduled) and as it turns out I actually AM anemic--lacking iron--so the past few weeks I've been feeling tired have been legit. I did start taking an iron pill on top of the prenatal vitamin I was previously taking, but as of yet I can't really tell a difference in the way I feel. On top of taking the iron supplement I've been working on eating more foods which are high in iron.

Click on chart to enlarge.
{photo via whfoods}

In college I took classes on health & nutrition and had to write several papers on both topics. One of my Go To sites for finding info about different foods was The chart just above shows several different vegetables & beans which are high in iron. I personally prefer Lentils, Spinach, Olives & Navy Beans from all the items listed there.

A sandwich in the making: lots of green leaf lettuce and spinach for iron!

Spinach & I have shared many days together in recent weeks. I do not like spinach because it has a horrible taste and when it sits too long in the fridge it starts to get a little slimy (solution: eat the spinach before it has time to go that far!). However, it's one of the things on that list of foods high in iron that isn't too hard to add to other foods and that's why I eat it. Many times when I make something and add spinach I can hardly tell it's's only when I try to eat it by itself or in salad that I can't stand it!

Macaroni n' Cheese w/Spinach is a new recipe on Blue Eyed Beauty Blog.

Some ideas for adding spinach to your diet:

--Throw a handful (or more!) in a fruit smoothie *see more on smoothies below*.
--Add spinach to your pizza and zap in the oven or microwave to 'wilt' it.
--Add spinach to your sandwich at lunch.
--Put some spinach in your salad for extra greens.
--Cook some spinach in your macaroni n cheese (a food I've craved constantly throughout this pregnancy).

Button-Up Chili is a Blue Eyed Beauty Blog Recipe.
It has Navy Beans in the ingredient list.

Beans are a lot less painful to eat in the taste bud department because you can do so much with them and add different flavors or spices to make them tasty. I personally like to use a mix of pinto/kidney beans with navy beans to make a chili. My favorite and most easy chili recipe is Button-Up Chili which has no spices and is super easy to fix. The lack of spices is also great for me right now since I've been experiencing heart burn when eating foods with heavy spicing...and chili is usually a heavily spiced food. With the fall and winter months ahead I have a feeling I will be making this quite regularly!

A fruit smoothie with spinach added.

One last way I like to get a lot of vitamins in during the day is to make myself a smoothie. I have 4 ingredients which go in all my smoothies and then other optional ingredients which I change up so that they're not always the same exact flavor. The four main ingredients I like to use are: 1) plain yogurt, 2) raw spinach, 3) 1/4 cup of cranberry juice, and 4) a banana. The interchangeable ingredients range from frozen strawberries, peaches, & blueberries to fresh strawberries, grapes, blueberries and other fruits. I usually like to use apple juice to blend everything together but occasionally I will use orange or grape to change things up a bit. Another thing I like to do is make up 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup of water in the microwave. Once that is cooked I add it to my smoothie to make it more filling and for extra fiber, etc. (Read more about oats from whfoods here.) Smoothies are a great way to hide the flavor of spinach and I've slowly been able to work from a few leaves to two handful's in my almost daily drink!

What are ways you add Iron to your diet?

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