There are so many different guides out there, each of them hailing a certain food as top in terms of its nutritional value to you whilst pregnant; with this in mind it can be difficult to know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating. If you are confused by the plethora of advice and are seeking some simple suggestions that will give you and your baby the right vitamins and minerals, this article takes you through how to create a balanced and enjoyable diet throughout your pregnancy.
We will all be familiar with the importance of eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, but this is never more essential than when you are pregnant. Fruit contains the vital vitamins and minerals needed to aid digestion and prevent constipation; something pregnant women are more likely to suffer from at some stage.
Top Tip: If you are not really a fan of fruit, there are things you can do to jazz up the portions. Chop fresh apple and add grapes, tangerine segments and strawberries and put in a large mixing bowl. Add a tin of pineapple and a handful of fresh blueberries then cover with fruit juice. Pop the bowl in the fridge and ladle out a portion a couple of times a day, top with a little yoghurt for a yummy treat.
Eat your Veg
Maybe you are dreading the thought of eating vegetable or perhaps you really don’t mind them; either way you will need to make sure that vegetables are forming a major part of your diet. There are so many vegetables out there to try so why not get down to the market and sample a few of the more unusual vegetables available such as okra or purple sprouting broccoli.
Top Tip: Steam your vegetables rather than boil them as this retains more of the goodness and enhances colours. Steam florets of broccoli for around ten minutes then toss in a little light margarine together with a few mint leaves for a tasty portion of your five a day.
Pile on the Protein
Make sure you are eating protein rich foods everyday as this is a really important part of a healthy diet. Protein can be found in meat and fish, but don’t worry if you are vegetarian as protein is also found in pulses and nuts.
Top Tip: Pulses include chickpeas, haricot beans and lentils which can all be added to a number of dishes such as chilli, curry and pies. Look for the tinned versions if you want to avoid having to soak them ahead of cooking, this way you can just open the tin, rinse them and add them to whatever you are cooking.
Dairy products such as milk and cheese are a source of calcium, something that your baby needs for healthy development. Some cheeses are not suitable during pregnancy such as mould ripened soft cheese like brie and camembert due to the risk of listeria, a bacteria that can harm your unborn baby.
Top Tip: Hard cheeses such as cheddar are fine so choose a low fat alternative and pop a sprinkling on top of a jacket potato, in pitta bread or perhaps make cheesy beans on toast for calcium rich lunch time meals.
It is important to make sure you eat well throughout pregnancy as this will promote a healthy start for your baby. Choose a balanced diet and don’t be afraid of having the occasional treat every now and again, just remember to base your diet around fruit, vegetables, protein and calcium rich foods.
Vicky writes about all things parenting related from month by month guides to advice on choosing the best pregnancy lingerie.