We’ve teamed up with Nutritional Therapist, Charlotte Watts, to make it easy for new parents and parents-to-be to shop for nutritious food and drink.
As well as helping us with special aisles full of tips and healthy produce, she’s writing a series of blogs full of advice on what to eat at each stage.
Her first blog covered what to eat when you’re trying to get pregnant. In this instalment, she serves up some key tips on what to eat during pregnancy.
Right from conception, quality food is needed to supply nutrients not just for your growing baby, but for you too. The right food will help your body to increase hormone production and support your growing womb, placenta and increasing muscle mass.
However, your pregnant body has clever ways of getting the most from the calories you consume. Until late pregnancy, it only needs an increase in micronutrients – those we get in small amounts from foods containing minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.
In the third trimester, your heart rate, blood volume and energy requirements will increase to an extent where you will need extra more calories – but only 10% extra. This is where nutrient-dense foods are key.
Nutrient-dense foods help your body distribute blood and oxygen efficiently to your baby. They will also prevent you from turning to quick-fix energy from sugars and junk food to keep going. Focusing on satisfying and healthy sources leaves little room for sugary ‘empty calories’, beyond the odd treat.
This is a time to be setting good nutritional habits in place to support your energy for birth and beyond. Omega 3 oils, zinc, iron, folic acid and other B vitamins are all key pregnancy nutrients so I’ve put together a few suggestions on how to add enough to your diet (and handy links so you can add them straight to your trolley).
Meal ideas for easy pregnancy support:
- A good breakfast can provide the metabolism-supporting and dense energy your body needs to avoid craving sugary snacks later in the day. Intelligent Eating Eggs are a good source of omega 3 oils. Serve with The Village Bakery Organic Rye Bread with Coriander and organic baked beans for a hearty breakfast. Alternatively, simply add a small handful of Jordans Super 3 Seed Granola to a bowl of yoghurt and berries.
- Stopping for lunch needn’t be difficult. Soups can be taken to work in a thermos and they freeze well too. If you don’t have time to make your own, Yorkshire Provender Pea and Spinach Soup with Fresh Mint is good with a handful of pumpkin seeds. You can also try an organic chicken soup with a side salad of watercress and drizzle of olive oil.
- Dinner is a great time to fill up on plenty of immune-supporting and detoxifying vegetables to keep your baby safe from harm. Green pak choi, organic broccoli, fresh ginger and other vegetables can be added to a meat dish like Daylesford Organic Spiced Lamb Tagine, where the organic meat provides zinc, iron and B vitamins without the hormones in non-organic versions. Eating salmon several times a week provides brain-growing omega 3 oils. If you’re vegetarian, Goodlife Fairtrade Nut Cutlets will provide the protein and omega oils that help to grow your baby’s skin, bones and organs.
Snacks to support energy:
- Craving something sweet? Add a pack of Ocado Mixed Berries to some organic natural Greek style yogurt. Sweeten it with organic ground cinnamon and Crazy Jack Organic Desiccated Coconut. It can really hit the spot and actually help balance blood sugar levels.
- Savoury snacks help fill the gap without setting off a sweet taste that can have you craving more. Try Clearspring Gluten Free Organic Tamari Roasted Almonds and Waitrose Love Life Fruit Nut & Seed Mix.
- Slow energy release snack bars are handy to have around for when you’re flagging and might otherwise turn to chocolate or sweets. Trek Cocoa Coconut Flapjack, Beond Organic Blueberry Bar and Wholebake Free From 9 Bar Mixed Seed with Hemp give you a sweet taste but with nutritional value.
Pregnancy natural health tips:
- For nausea, try Cawston Press Apple & Ginger Juice or Higher Living Organic Ginger Kick Tea for anti-nausea ginger in a hydrating form. Belvoir Ginger Cordial with sparkling water can sometimes provide instant relief.
- For constipation, Crazy Jack Ready To Eat Organic Prunes or Crazy Jack Soft Ready To Eat Organic Figs keep a sluggish system regular and make a great sweet snack.
Remember, leaving yourself enough time to eat calmly is really important. It allows your body to fully digest and absorb the nutrients you need to develop your baby’s brain and body healthily.