Need some real, practical suggestions for healthy breakfasts, snacks, meals and drinks for avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy? Look no further – we've even given you a shopping list!
PREGNANCY NUTRITION: TOP FOODS TO EAT AND TO AVOID!
Pregnancy Nutrition: BREAKFAST IDEAS
Fresh fruit smoothie: Blend any fresh fruit (with some natural unsweetened live yoghurt (soya, goat or cow's) and a handful of mixed seeds (eg pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed).
Tip: if you are in a hurry, add fresh orange or apple juice to dilute your smoothie so it's easy to drink, then put in a beaker and take it with you.
Boiled, scrambled or poached egg with buttered oat cakes or rye toast. – Wholegrain rye toast spread with nut butter (almond, cashew, hazel or peanut)
Mix a handful of oats in a bowl of live natural yoghurt and top with a few pieces of chopped fresh fruit and a handful of chopped nuts.
Spread some cream cheese on corn cakes or wheat-free bread / crackers and top with wild or organic smoked salmon.
Porridge cooked in water with grated apple and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Tip: soak oats in water for 10 minutes before cooking – this will bring out their creamy flavour, so there's no need to use milk. Add some hot stewed apple and berries
An omelet (filling ideas: grated cheese and red onion, mixed fresh herbs, chopped tomatoes and peppers, garlic mushrooms and watercress, smoked salmon).
Baked beans on rye toast.
Pregnancy Nutrition: DRINKS IDEAS
Herb teas instead of caffeinated tea. There are so many varieties now, experiment until you find one you like. Rooibosch (Red Bush) tea is the closest to 'normal' tea and can be drunk with milk.
Caro, Barleycup and Dandelion coffee are all caffeine-free coffee alternatives. Teeccino is a delicious coffee substitute that you make in a cafetiere (comes in different flavors, eg mocha, vanilla nut, almond amaretto)
Instead of alcohol, mix fruit, elderflower or ginger cordials with sparking water.
SEEDS are rich in protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals – grinding them helps to release their nutrients. Aim to have a heaped tablespoon each day and add to cereals, yogurt, soups or salads.
Buy some fresh, unsalted seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed (also called flaxseeds – the golden variety is richer in essential fats than brown) .Using a coffee grinder or a grinding attachment from a food processor, grind a mixture that's 50% linseed and 50% a combination of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind enough to fill a small glass jar (choose glass rather than plastic as plastic can damage the essential fats in the seeds). Store your jar in the fridge. Ideally, keep your unground seeds in a dark cupboard to protect them from light or oxygen damage (essential fats can be damaged easily).
Pregnancy Nutrition: ENERGY BOOSTING SNACK IDEAS
An apple and a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
A pear, peach or other seasonal fruit with 10 fresh almonds
Three oat cakes with nut butter (almond and hazelnut butter is a delicious alternative to peanut – buy in health food shops).
Mackerel, salmon or mushroom pate on two ryvita (beware pate in pregnancy unless homemade and without fresh mayonnaise / egg).
Carrot and celery sticks with hummus.
Berries stirred into a small pot of natural yogurt.
Pregnancy Nutrition: QUICK AND EASY MEAL IDEAS
Roasted vegetables with pesto crusted chicken or fish: Add a pesto-coated organic chicken breast or fish fillet (organic salmon or cod works well) to a baking tray of part-roasted vegetables (eg new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, onions, garlic red and yellow peppers) and cook for a further 10-20 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Chickpea and apricot tagine: To a basic tomato sauce (ie a tin of chopped tomatoes added to an onion and garlic clove softened in olive oil), stir in half a finely chopped red chill, a pinch of ground cumin, a handful of chopped dried apricots and three handfuls of chopped mixed vegetables (eg carrots, courgettes and baby corn). Add water if necessary to make a nice sauce consistency, then season and simmer for 15 minutes. Add a tin of chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes, then stir in a handful of fresh chopped coriander and serve with couscous, quinoa or brown rice.
Haddock poached in a parsley and lemon tofu sauce: Blend half a block of silken tofu with a clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Add to a pan with two haddock fillets and slowly simmer so that the fish poaches (about 15 minutes, but keep checking). Serve with steamed broccoli or green vegetables and brown rice.
Baked potato and sweet potato filling ideas:
Hummus (home-made ideally); Ratatouille or baked beans topped with grated Cheddar; Cottage cheese with chives or spring onion, mixed with chopped red or yellow peppers, cucumber or prawns; Roasted vegetables and pesto; Tinned or smoked salmon mixed with cottage cheese or crème fraîche; Cannelini or butter beans mashed with anchovy fillets and black olives, with lemon juice and black pepper; Steamed leeks, broccoli or cauliflower florets mixed with cheese sauce; Hard boiled egg chopped and mixed with cottage cheese or crème fraîche and chopped parsley; Guacamole (again, make your own or buy in the deli section of your supermarket)
DELICIOUS SALADS (perfect for a light meal or packed lunch):
A simple salad of mixed leaves and chopped raw vegetables can become a nutritious and delicious meal in moments if you keep your fridge stocked with deli delights such as artichoke hearts, sun blushed tomatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs, peppers, sweet baby peppers, anchovies , smoked fish and slices of lean white meat.
Smoked organic trout fillet (a delicious alternative to smoked salmon that is packed with Omega 3 Essential Fats) with flageolet beans or lightly steamed broad beans mixed with lemon juice and black pepper.
Hot smoked organic trout or salmon, or smoked organic mackerel, flaked through whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet or couscous, with chopped raw vegetables. Season with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and chopped fresh herbs.
Tofu chunks (marinated in tamari or soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil and brown rice syrup), stir fried for seven minutes or till golden and fairly crisp. Toss through whole grains as above, or stir into buckwheat noodles with finely sliced cucumber and seaweed (packets of dried varieties can be found in the Oriental section of supermarkets). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve warm or chilled. – Mixed bean salad with peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, sweet baby peppers and chopped hard boiled egg, with a tomato and basil dressing.
Chickpeas dressed with paprika, lemon juice, black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt or Solo low sodium salt and parsley, with quinoa.
Warm potato salad with passata (sieved, chopped tomatoes – buy at your supermarket), with a dressing made from olive oil, paprika, chillies and crushed garlic.
Taboulleh of couscous, bulgar wheat, millet or quinoa with chopped cherry tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.
Whole radishes, crumbled feta cheese, broad beans and alfalfa sprouts.
Blueberries and apricots on green leaves such as lamb's leaf or spinach, with feta cheese crumbled over the top.
Raspberry sorbet: Liquidize frozen raspberries and bananas to a smooth puree.
Apricot whisk: Puree a handful of apricots (fresh or dried) with half a cup of low-fat curd cheese or silken tofu lightened with two whisked egg whites.
Pregnancy Nutrition: SHOPPING LIST: NEW FOODS AND BRANDS TO LOOK OUT FOR!
Nairns oatcakes (wheat and sugar free) Terrance Stamp wheat-free breads Boridinsky rye bread Pumpernickel-style rye bread (eg thin slices of dark bread Sugar-free peanut butter (I like Whole Earth brand) Cashew, almond and hazelnut butters Fresh, unsalted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and golden linseed) Intelligent Eating or Columbus eggs (rich in Omega 3 essential fats) Fresh, unsalted nuts (eg almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazils, cashews or mixed nuts) Frozen berries – look out for blueberries , summer fruits, forest fruits and raspberries. Organic oats – If having them cold, look out for small rather than jumbo oats (you should also find these in a health food shop). Rooibosch tea (Tick Tock is a good brand) Elderflower or ginger cordials Quinoa
It's important that you COMMIT TO EATING BETTER QUALITY FOOD TODAY! Pregnancy is only 9 months long and your precious little one needs those nutrients for proper growth and development, not to mention you need them for strength and energy.