Friday, February 21, 2014

That smells awful! 7 tips for cooking with morning sickness

During both my pregnancies the worst symptom by far was the smell aversions. It would kick in long before I even got a positive test, that unmistakable bionic nose that could smell someone smoking a mile away. It was awful.

While the smell of cleaning products and toiletries topped my list, I also had issues with food smells. During my first pregnancy it wasn't so much of a problem- I didn't feel much like eating in the early days and my husband could fend for himself. I gave him an earful the morning he decided to fry up a big batch of onions and eggs without telling me first, but otherwise we made do.

Second pregnancy... not so much. The second time around I was so much sicker, yet I had a small child to care for and feed, one with a big appetite. I had a husband who took over so many other household duties for me after work that he didn't have time to cook anymore, and I myself was still breastfeeding and needed to eat badly. Like it or not, I had to cook. Here are some tips I discovered on how to survive cooking for your family when the smell of everything is making you retch.

1. Get powdered.

The smell of garlic or onions frying is usually delicious, but when you're pregnant it's not only awful, it permeates the entire house for days. I discovered that while not exactly gourmet, that substituting with onion and garlic powder in recipes gave it similar flavor but created no extra smell.

2. You can cook outside the kitchen.

The kitchen is the hub of the house, and smells can travel everywhere from it. I started setting up my slow cooker in the basement to cook meals and the smells didn't reach the rest of the house. You can plug in a toaster oven or slow cooker, or use a camping stove in other parts of the house such as the basement, garage, back deck or even an out of the way bedroom.

3. Eat more meatless meals.

Meat is the biggest culprit when it comes to pregnancy smell aversions in the kitchen. Meatless meals not only smell less, they are also less expensive and often packed with fiber. I made a lot of bean burritos while pregnant.

4. Make your side dishes at home but outsource your meat.

We bought a lot of rotisserie chickens during my pregnancies. They are inexpensive and you can make a lot of things with the leftover meat. I had no trouble cooking the side dishes to go with them which kept costs down and was much cheaper (and healthier) than buying an entire take out meal.

5. Get grilling.

I was unfortunate to have my first trimesters in the winter (the only downside of having summer babies), but many friends who had morning sickness in the summer made the most of their BBQ to keep the smells outdoors.

6. If you're TTC, consider getting a head start stocking your freezer.

As soon as we started trying for our second daughter I started cooking up huge batches of meat to freeze. I roasted chickens to pick apart the meat, fried up ground beef, grilled chicken breasts and then stored it all in the freezer to use when the morning sickness kicked in. If you get pregnant instantly like I did you're all set, if it takes you a few months well you've got lots of meat in there for quick and easy dinners!

7. Try poaching

If you find yourself pregnant and sick without any advanced warning you can always do what I did the first time around and poach your chicken, then add it to recipes after. This cuts down on the smell by a lot. Just boil the chicken until it's cooked and then chop it up and add it to whatever recipes call for chicken. I make so many things using chicken breasts!

Hang in there! The aversions won't last forever and soon you'll get to the fun part- the cravings!


  1. Really great cooking tips you have shared here for us. The bean burritos I liked the most, and I am going to make it tonight only. I am vegetarian person so I will add bean, potatoes and cheese in this recipe. Well thanks for sharing.

  2. Please, will you really post some more things about the same issue; I am actually a great fan of your blog... ThatGrillGuy