Even before you were expecting, you probably felt too busy to plan a healthy lunch ahead of time. Now that you’re pregnant—and preoccupied with doctor appointments, car seat reviews and picking the perfect baby name—packing a wholesome lunch may not be at the top of your priority list. But a healthful midday meal is more important than ever.
“Missing lunch can lead to mindless munching and poor food choices,” says Richmond, Calif.-based Nora Norback, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.E., certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian at Kaiser Permanente. Poor eating habits can contribute to excess pregnancy weight gain, she notes, and experts agree that putting on too many pounds during pregnancy can contribute to the development of gestational diabetes, backaches and high blood pressure.