Cooking during morning sickness

Reader Julia asked for some meal ideas that are morning-sickness compatible. :)

I have been enjoying your blog and your great recipes for a while. Like you, I am also pregnant (9 weeks) so I have not had the interest in recipes that I usually do. Could you recommend some quick easy meals (hopefully without strong smells) that you make when you are struggling with intense morning sickness?

Since this is the first pregnancy where I have had significant nausea and sickness, I've been learning what works best for meal planning as the weeks pass. There were a couple months where I didn't do any cooking besides the absolutely essential things (which is why there weren't any new recipes here for a while! ;D).

Here are some of the things that work for me:

1. If there is a time during the day when I don't feel so nauseated, I use that opportunity to plan the meals for the next few days. One of my biggest problems was not taking full advantage of the not-sick moments for menu-planning. (I think I was probably cleaning the bathroom or something else instead! lol)

As difficult as it is to cook when you don't feel well, I think it's just as difficult to try to come up with something to cook! :) At least if I have a menu planned, I can force myself to get through the preparation, or be ready to prepare the food in advance (if possible) when I'm feeling well enough. I can't do that if I haven't planned the meal, thawed the necessary ingredients, etc. :)

2. I make good use of my husband's grill. I know I keep mentioning it, but Joshua has a great portable gas Weber Q grill and he's more than happy to grill hamburgers, chicken, or steak for a meal.

When he grills, there's less kitchen clean-up for me, and I usually just plan a vegetable or salad and some kind of bread (or even just cook up some egg noodles and toss them with butter, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese!).

I do remember many meals where I didn't even eat but a few bites of whatever Joshua had grilled, but at least Joshua and the children were able to enjoy a good meal even though nothing sounded good to me at the time! :)

3. I took a break from the "pressures" of feeling like I had to be extremely frugal about everything. While I love homemade things, and I enjoy spending less money (plus, it's not like our budget can just magically increase!), there are definitely times during life where we just can't do everything we want to do, or even everything we used to do.

So, what this meant in practical terms for our family, was that I used the electric dryer for some of my laundry, I bought some things like tortillas, croutons, or stuffing mix from the store, and Joshua hired my younger sister to come over for a few hours each week to help me with housework and cooking.

Since we all do things a little differently, relaxing about some things will probably mean completely different things to your family, but the point is to not let ourselves get too stressed about a few minor things that we can't do.

A word about "quick and easy" meals:

I've been asked for quick meal ideas, and honestly, I don't have a lot to offer for under 15-30 minutes' time. I think the main reason is because I just don't use a lot of the pre-packaged things that the "quick" recipes call for.

Just recently, I was reading through a food magazine (geared towards the average family in the U.S.) and many of the recipes were of the "less than 30-minutes" variety... but they all called for things I don't have or don't buy! When I make recipes like that, I usually end up using my own, homemade substitutions, and that adds a lot of time to the preparation.

So my truly quick meals, like hamburgers or roasted chicken (quick prep, long bake time :D) are few. Doing some of the preparation in advance helps speed things along when I'm actually making the meal, but still, it requires time to get the "advance preparation" done in the first place! :)

So, that said, here are some ideas from other ladies about 5-minute meals! Reading through the comments should at least give you some ideas. :)

I also really enjoyed my friend Crystal's post about homemaking during difficult seasons. And, if you need a little time-management boost, Crystal also has a great post about finding the time! :)

If any of you readers have other tips for Julia and me, I'd love it if you took the time to comment! :)


Is it just me?


Roasted Chicken Oreganoto is a favorite around here, and it's easy to fix. I modified the recipe from a recipe my friend gave me.

3.5 lbs chicken, cut into serving pieces (the quickest version of this is buying the chicken already cut up, and it saves you from handling raw meat, which is something I couldn't stomach in my first trimester)
4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into medium pieces
4 plum tomatoes, cut into medium-sized chunks (I also have used Roma and cherry tomatoes, and one time I used a can of diced tomatoes)
1 large onion, cut into medium-sized chunks
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh oregano leaves, freshly chopped (You can use 1/2 that in dried, but the fresh is soooo much yummier! It can be expensive, though. Fortunately my Grandma grows it ;) )
1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack in upper third of oven. Combine all vegetables in a roasting pan. Arrange chicken pieces on top, skin side up (if using skinless, you will need a little extra olive oil for the chicken pieces). Add salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss everything together. Roast until the chicken is fully cooked, approx. 45 minutes.

I've also covered the pan with aluminum foil and reduced the heat, removing the foil for the last 20 minutes or so. It depends on how "roasted/dry" you like things verses how moist. I found this dish easy to make while pregnant.

I also found that when I felt good, doing a lot of certain kinds of prep work paid off when I didn't feel good. For instance, chopping veggies, or cooking ground beef. I'd take a whole bag of carrots and chop it, then put it in a ziploc bag. It made it easy to make soups or whatever.

Hope that helps someone! :)

I did a lot of baked chicken legs and frozen veggies. There is little to no prep for that. I just sprinkled the chicken with bread crumbs.


The longer I had to smell it, the more I could not eat it!
Simple things for meals
Yogurt and grapenuts
Sandwiches- no cooking
Salads with cheese and vegetables on them
Toasted sandwich with lettuce, tomato and cheese

Rice skillet dishes- i would make broccoli and chicken, curried chicken, and mexican. These take about 30 minutes total, start to finish.
Taco salad- use canned beans so no cooking, hold breath while opening and draining.
Bean and Cheese burritos
Macaroni and cheese- homemade

Thanks I've been enjoying your site so much, I am 10 weeks pregnant and usually I'm a cooking machine & super mom. but I'm just too sick. It's so encouraging to know I'm not alone. I made your rice lasagna, and even though I threw up 5 mins before it came out of the oven. I was able to eat it, that's my first real meal in weeks!!!! It was yummy & the family loved it & so did baby #4!
thanks again for all your encouragement!

I am 11 weeks pregnant and I have been cooking crockpot meals in the garage. I know sounds weird right? But a little bit of prep in advance and I don’t have to smell it cooking all day. I have even been prepping a few meals at a time when I feel well. I have been getting really sick at night so if I am lying down, my husband can serve our daughter and himself a home cooked meal and I don’t have to smell it cook. If I have to smell it cooking, I can’t eat it!

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