When pregnant, getting the right nutrients and vitamins is of extreme importance for both the health of your baby and yourself. What you put in your tummy will eventually end up in your baby’s too, and certain vitamins and minerals can make a big difference in terms of growth and development.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your baby is getting the right vitamins and minerals is to ensure you consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. If you want to delve a little deeper, look specifically for produce that contains good levels of:
- Vitamins A,B,C,D and E
- Folic Acid, Omega 3
- Iron, Iodine
When possible, try to eat organic and aim for 5-6 small meals each day. It has been suggested that the more foods and flavours you expose your baby to in the womb, the more receptive your baby may be to these items when first trying solid food.
Foods to avoid include:
- Foods at risk of the bacterium Listeria, such as soft cheese, deli meats, sushi, and unpasteurised milk.
- Foods high in mercury, such as swordfish and barramundi.
Here are some recipes ideas you could try during your pregnancy:
Breakfast is of the utmost importance, as a good hearty breakfast will help restore your body’s blood sugar levels following a good night’s sleep. It will also give you the energy you need to get through the day.
Recipes to try include:
Baked Eggs with Spinach and Soldiers
Olive oil spray
2 free range eggs
2 handfuls baby spinach
2 slices of wholegrain bread
- Preheat oven to 200°C, and spray two small ramekins with oil.
- Divide spinach between the two, and crack an egg on top.
- Place ramekins on a baking tray, and bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Serve with toasted soldiers.
Spinach, Cheese and Tomato Omelette
2 free range eggs
3 tbsp milk
1 cup chopped spinach
1 small chopped tomato
2 slices Swiss cheese
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- In a bowl, beat eggs with milk then add spinach and tomatoes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour slowly into a preheated skillet, and swirl to cover the base.
- Once egg has set (approximately 2 minutes), place cheese on one side and gently fold in half.
- Cook for 1 minute, turn and cook for 30 seconds.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
1 free range egg
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
1 tspn canola oil
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- In a small bowl, beat egg until creamy. Add strained cottage cheese and mix well, gradually adding flour.
- Oil a skillet and, once hot, spoon batter to make four small pancakes (flatten using the back of a spoon).
- Cook for 2-3 minutes each side, then serve with banana and honey.
1 ripe frozen banana
½ cup low fat yoghurt
1 cup mixed berries
2 tbsp honey
- Blend all ingredients in a blender over high speed.
For many pregnant women, lunch is the time when morning sickness is at its worse, despite the term “morning” sickness. If this is the case, look for meals that contain citrus and ginger, which are renowned for helping to relieve nausea and vomiting.
Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup
1 tbsp vegetable oil
350g diced chicken breast
1 finely chopped garlic clove
1 cm grated ginger
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
125g tin sweetcorn kernels
1 free range egg, whisked
1 squeeze of lemon juice
Parsley to garnish
- In a deep frying pan or a saucepan, cook chicken, ginger, and garlic in the oil for 4-5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix cornflour and soy sauce before adding to the cooked chicken mix.
- Add chicken stock, and bring mixture to the boil.
- Reduce heat, then simmer for 6-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Slowly pour in the whisked egg and lemon juice, and stir to create thin egg strands.
- Serve in two deep bowls with parsley for garnish.
Lettuce, Spinach, Citrus and Avocado Salad
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch young spinach leaves
1 peeled and sliced ruby grapefruit or blood orange
1 peeled and sliced ripe avocado
¼ cup almonds or cashews
2 tbsp fresh lemon or grapefruit juice
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
- Combine salad ingredients in a bowl.
- Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake until combined.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over salad ingredients just before serving.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 celery rib, chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin cooked, drained lentils
chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley
4 cups reduced-salt chicken stock
1 small baguette, sliced
½ cup parmesan cheese
4 tbsp olive oil
- Heat oil in a large saucepan.
- Once oil is hot, add onion, carrot, celery and ginger, and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add all remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and bring stock to the boil.
- Once the soup has reached boiling point, reduce to a low heat and allow to simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are soft.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Brush baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Serve with soup.
Mushroom and Quinoa Risotto
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 green onion, sliced
1 tspn minced garlic
1 1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced
1 cup trumpet mushrooms, diced
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Heat stock in a saucepan over a low heat and let simmer.
- In a separate pot, heat green onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add quinoa to the green onion pot, and stir for 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until evaporated.
- Gradually add stock to the quinoa mix over 25 minutes so it is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, brown off mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in mushrooms and parmesan cheese with quinoa mix. Serve immediately.