Foods for Morning Sickness

How to eat your way through a queasy first trimester.

Article & Photos courtesy of Well Rounded NY

Morning sickness is a mystery. Officially called Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP), it’s attributed to the rapid onslaught of hormones and is especially intense during the first trimester. But, there is no definite explanation for why it happens during some pregnancies, and not others.

While many suggest that morning sickness might be a good sign that the baby is growing and healthy, NVP is miserable, and muddling through it is hard. Illness that is likened to having a stomach bug for months on end can rob moms-to-be of some of the joy of expecting a baby.

Here are 5 ways to cope with NVP and 5 foods to try on the quest to soothe your stomach and your soul.

How to Cope:

1. Phone a friend. Commiserating with women who have been through NVP helps quell the guilt and anxiety that stems from it. Moms-to-be with NVP report feeling isolated because they aren’t well enough to socialize or engage in their usual activities. Surefire remedies to the physical sickness don’t really exist. The most dependable prescription is support and empathy.

2. Alternative medicine. Try acupuncture, massage, yoga, and talk therapy to combat the suppressive nature of NVP. Talk to your healthcare provider about prescription medication if necessary.

3. Eat what you can. Take advantage of any window of relief to eat. If you can manage foods brimming with nutrients, consider it a bonus! If all you can muster is some crackers and dry cereal, then try to keep the faith that you will eventually be able to eat better.

4. Have someone else cook for you. Sometimes the smells and sounds of cooking exacerbate NVP. Rely on help from others, including take-out and prepared foods during this time. If you don’t have to make it yourself, it might be easier to stomach eating it.

5. Give yourself a break. If NVP provokes a barrage of negative thoughts, try to trump them with the knowledge that your body is doing amazing, miraculous work, and you’re doing the best you can to take care of you and your baby. You deserve a cookie…whenever you eventually feel like eating it.

5 Foods to Try:

1. Protein-rich foods. Try plain oven-roasted turkey (not processed deli meat), peanut butter, nuts, or protein bars. Protein can help steady a queasy stomach better than carbohydrates and simple sugars, which the body burns through quickly.

2. Cold, sweet fruit. Lots of women report that sugar and coolness sooth NVP. Opt for fresh fruit over candies or syrupy ice pops if you can. Try cold cubes of pineapple, crunchy apples, or oranges, and popsicles made from fresh fruit juice or blended fruit.

3. Soup. Whether bare bones chicken stock or a bowlful of broth and vegetables, soup packs plenty of nutrients into a light meal that might help you feel balanced for a while.

4. Ginger. The ancient remedy for countless ailments is popular for pregnancy-related tummy troubles. Sip ginger tea, suck on ginger chews, blend or grate ginger into smoothies, and simmer it in with soup to take advantage of its calming properties.

5. Plain. Baked potatoes, warm tortillas, crackers, cereal, toast, popcorn, pancakes. Unadorned, dry, bland…however you can manage it. Aim for whole grains for extra nutrients if you can.

Try a few of Tara’s recipes from her new book, Full Belly here:


There comes a time in these forty weeks when your tummy starts to cower behind that growing baby. Meals that accommodate the problem are the ones that are lighter and smaller, but still nutritious and comfortably filling. A bowl of this soup fits the bill. Noodles thicken the broth redolent with coconut and warmed with chili paste, and strips of vegetables soften into twirlable strands. If you don’t have a mandoline, simply quarter the zucchini and carrots lengthwise and slice them into thin ¹⁄4-inch/0.6 cm pieces. If you have room, bulk up your bowl with a handful of chopped peanuts or cashews, or a small heap of shredded roasted or poached chicken.


  • 1 medium yellow zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch (0.3 cm) strips on a mandoline
  • 1 medium green zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch (0.3 cm) strips on a mandoline
  • 1 thick, large carrot, cut into 1/8-inch (0.3 cm) strips on a mandoline
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 2/3 cups (394 mL) light coconut milk
  • 6 cups (1.4 L) chicken stock (page 214, or low-sodium store-bought)
  • 4 to 6 ounces/113 to 170 g thin rice noodles or capellini pasta snapped in half
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup (13 g) packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot (at least 5 quarts) over medium-high heat. Sauté  the zucchini, carrot, and garlic for about 2 minutes, just to soften them as they sweat. Add the curry paste and stir for about 30 seconds to help the paste melt into the vegetables. Add the fish sauce, coconut milk, and stock. Cover the pot until the liquid boils, 7 to 10 minutes, and then slip in the noodles. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, stirring two or three times to prevent the noodles from sticking, until the vegetables and noodles are tender.
Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and serve.
Cool leftovers and refrigerate for up to 5 days. The soup thickens considerably as it cools and as the vegetables and noodles absorb the liquid. To reheat, stir in 3 or 4 tablespoons of water per serving and warm in a saucepot over medium heat or in the microwave until hot. Adjust the seasoning to taste to compensate for the additional water, if necessary. Makes 4 servings

Belly Bonus: Carrots deliver a wallop of vitamin A, important for the development of healthy skin and eyes. You can also find the nutrient in dark, leafy greens and sweet potatoes.

NUTRITION PER SERVING (2 CUPS/454 G) Calories 309 | Total fat 12 g (Saturated 8 g, Poly 1 g, Omega-3 0.13 g, DHA 0.00 g, EPA 0.00 g, Mono 1 g) | Cholesterol 0 mg | Protein 12 g | Sodium 777 mg | Carbohydrates 44 g | Fiber 6 g | Sugars 10 g | Vitamin A 353 mcg | Vitamin B6 0 mg | Vitamin B12 0 mcg | Vitamin C 33 mg | Vitamin D 0 IU | Choline 27 mg | Folate 58 mcg | Calcium 71 mg | Iron 2 mg


Citrus and ginger are widely prescribed for pregnant women because of their soothing and refreshing effects on queasy stomachs or wary palates. These pops are aimed at curing what ails you in the form of an icy cold treat that you can take your time with. They’ll also answer the call of the sweet tooth and the siren song of candy. If you catch yourself chomping on ice to avert nausea, freeze the juice in very small molds to make lozenges you can suck on safely and comfortably. While lots of people swear by ginger for nausea, if its powerful punch makes yours worse, you can leave it out entirely. And if lollipops or ice pops make you gag (a common problem among pregnant women!), freeze the juice into ice cubes and drop them in a glass of water or seltzer instead.

  • 1²⁄3 cups/394 ml orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

Stir the orange juice, lemon juice, and ginger together in a spouted measuring cup. Pour the juice into 3-ounce/89 ml popsicle molds or small (1 teaspoon) ice cube molds. Stir between pours to redistribute the ginger, which will settle to the bottom of the liquid. Freeze overnight. Recipe makes 5 ice pops.

Belly Bonus: These pops don’t contain much calcium, but if you want a boost of the bone-building mineral, opt for orange juice that’s fortified with it. Some brands offer as much as 330 mg per cup.

NUTRITION PER SERVING (1 ICE POP) Calories 36 | Total fat 0 g (Saturated 0 g, Poly 0 g, Omega-3 0.00 g, DHA 0.00 g, EPA 0.00 g, Mono 0 g) | Cholesterol 0 mg | Protein 0 g | Sodium 7 mg | Carbohydrates 8 g | Fiber 0 g | Sugars 6 g | Vitamin A 0 mcg | Vitamin B6 0 mg | Vitamin B12 0 mcg | Vitamin C 23 mg | Vitamin D 0 IU | Choline 1 mg | Folate 18 mcg | Calcium 6 mg | Iron 0 mg

*Recipes reprinted with permission from FULL BELLY © 2014 Tara Mataraza Desmond, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

This article is by Tara Mataraza Desmond, courtesy of Well Rounded NY.  Conceived with love by former magazine editors Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, Well Rounded NY aims to be the singular pregnancy resource for city-savvy moms-to-be. Through reviews, profiles, expert Q&As, local guides and more, Well Rounded curates the New York City pregnancy and helps its readers come to terms – and term! – with pregnancy in the city.


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