Food for thought – how do you feed your busy family and eat a healthy pregnancy diet too? It can be tough. Sally J. Hall shows you how.
It’s fantastic being pregnant and you should, in theory, be able to get all the nutrients you need from your diet.
However, if you are struggling with morning sickness, as well as avoiding foods on the ‘no go’ list and trying to feed the rest of the family too – all with their own likes and dislikes – it can be tricky. We’ve put together some quick and easy ways to get those vitamins and minerals you need, plus some suggestions for supplements to boost your intake. We also have some simple, delicious and nutritious meals to make that all the family will enjoy, and have sought out some clever box schemes and meal plans to help you out too.
Vitamins are vital
- Vitamin A strengthens immune system, keeps skin healthy. Eat carrots, red, yellow and green fruit and veg, dairy, eggs and oily fish. Liver and pate, though good sources, should be avoided.
- Vitamin E great for healthy eyes, the skin and a healthy immune system.Eat plant oils (olive and sunflower oils), nuts, seeds and wheat germ in cereals.
- Vitamin C protects cells, maintains connective tissue and helps wound healing. Eat zingy oranges, red and green peppers, soft fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts and also potatoes.
- Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting, wound healing and healthy bones. Eat leafy green vegetables, different vegetables oils and cereal grains.
- Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphate. Mostly taken in from sunlight on the skin. Eat oily fish, eggs, cereals.
- Vitamin B12, B, Folic Acid (you should take 400mcg daily). Eat milk, eggs, fortified cereals, wholegrain bread, and rice, a wide range of fruit and vegetables and pulses.
- Iron makes red blood cells, prevents anaemia. Eat meat, beans, nuts, dried fruit, especially apricots, wholegrains, cereals and dark green leafy vegetables. You should avoid liver during pregnancy, however, because it can be too high in iron.
- Omega 3 found in Fish oils or flax oil contains a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which contributes to brain and eye development. Eat oily fish (avoid fish that might be mercury contaminated like marlin and swordfish). If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can obtain DHA and EPA through vegetable oils like linseed oil.
- Calcium builds bones and teeth, helps muscle contractions, especially the heart and helps blood to clot normally. Eat dairy products, green veg, soya beans, tofu, nuts, bread and fish like sardines and pilchards, where you can eat the bones.
Minerals are a must. We all need certain quantities of minerals in our bodies for optimum health. Here are some of the most important minerals for pregnancy – and how to get them.
- Folates; a B vitamin that’s key for baby’s development, you should take supplements before and during pregnancy. Take a daily dose of 400 mcg up to the 12th week.
- Iodine is essential to the production of the thyroid hormone; this can be found in seafood and some vegetables though you could take a supplement.
- Zinc; This helps maintain structural integrity of protein in the body and is essential during pregnancy. It can be found in foods like cereals, meat, milk, nuts, seafood and legumes.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you should take care to get enough iron and vitamin B12 during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Look for a good supplement.
Easy meals for all
Pregnant and looking for quick, easy and nutritious meals to feed yourself, your child and the rest of the family? Here’s three healthy options:
Breakfast: Scrambled egg on wholemeal toast. Packed with flavour and protein and so quick and easy to make.
Lunch: Beans and a baked potato A family favourite that’s high in fibre, high in protein and low in fat.
Supper: Hummus and vegetables. The vitamins are packed into rainbow vegetables – and it’s fun to dip!