When you’re wracked with nausea and all you can stomach is peanut butter and Marmite (maybe that’s just us?!) eating healthily when you are pregnant can be a challenge. However, there’s a growing number of studies which show the link between healthy eating and a healthy pregnancy and better health throughout your baby’s life, so we’ve teamed up with yummy mummies Meriel and Lucy from Claudi and Fin to guide you through the best way to eat for two!
What do you need to eat more of?
Experts recommend that all pregnant women eat more calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin D and protein but what are they and what do they do?
Calcium is used to build your baby’s teeth and bones. If you don’t get enough during your pregnancy, your body will draw calcium from your own stores and give them to the baby, so keep your body topped up! The most obvious form of calcium is dairy, but you can also get it from broccoli, dark leafy greens, figs and beans.
Folic Acid is a B vitamin found especially in leafy green vegetables. It is extremely important for the development of a healthy foetus, reducing the risk of spina bifida, heart defects and cleft palate. Experts recommend you get 600mg when you’re pregnant. It can be hard to get this from food alone and unless you are planning on eating nothing but cabbage soup for nine months, experts recommend a supplement!
Iron is crucial to our body’s blood production and you need twice as much when you’re pregnant (27mg) because you are making blood for two! As well as multivitamins, you can supplement your diet with iron-rich red meat, legumes, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens like spinach) and whole grains.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium and is essential to help build your baby’s teeth and bones. Most of us get enough in Summer from the sun but come Winter, it’s easy to become deficient, leading to weak bones and even conditions like rickets in children. Good sources of vitamin D are fatty fish and foods fortified with vitamin D, like selected dairy products, cereals and Claudi & Fin Greek style Frozen Yoghurt lollies.
Protein helps to build important organs in the baby, such as the brain and heart. You should be eating protein all the way through your pregnancy, but the third trimester is when your baby’s brain will be developing. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like mackerel, salmon and sardines are great for helping your baby’s brain develop healthily. Meat fish, cheese, lentils, yogurt, eggs and nuts are also great sources of protein.
Here are some quick fixes to get you started!
- For a bit of everything start the day with a smoothie! Berries a brilliant because they are packed with carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium, folate and fibre and you can add yoghurt for calcium, avocado for folic acid, spinach for iron and nuts for protein. Whizz this all up in a blender and hey presto – everything you need in one drink!
- For Folic acid and calcium eat avocados which are also packed full of omega 3’s! They’re great on toast for a breakfast with a difference.
- For calcium and protein bananas are brilliant. They also stabilise blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
- For protein have some chia seeds they’re a must-have superfood packed with omega-3 fats and fibre, which will help keep you regular!
- For Vitamin D get some sunlight and enjoy one of our delicious Claudi and Fin lollies, which contain 30% of your recommended vitamin D allowance and use 100% natural ingredients what more can you ask for!
But I need chips! What happens if I can’t eat like this every day?
Don’t stress if you don’t follow this to the letter! This is not about being perfect, it’s just a guideline to help you get an idea of what your body needs and why. Nobody is going to judge you if you have a slice of cake, it is time to enjoy your pregnancy – your healthy pregnancy! You’re growing a small person inside of you and that’s pretty incredible, so don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon and stumble into a chocolate bar, you don’t have to be a green goddess each and every day of the week!