Foods to energise when you’re pregnant
Being pregnant is incredibly exciting but growing a tiny human can also sap your energy. Whether you’re finding it hard to sleep, have morning sickness or are up and down to the loo all night, you may find discomfort and lack of sleep leave you struggling for energy. But don’t despair, here are some great ideas for amazing super foods to give you an extra boost when you’re expecting.
Great foods to help fight fatigue
Blueberries: these are called a superfood with good reason. Not only are they low in calories, they are high in nutrients; a 150 gram serving gives you four grams of fibre, vitamins C and K and some Manganese too. They are antioxidant and are thought to protect against ageing and cancer, could lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Plus they can help prevent urine infections, like cranberries do. Wow!
Dark chocolate: as well as feeling indulgent and being delicious, you can justify a few squares of chocolate because it’s good for you too. If you choose a dark, good quality variety, it’s loaded with fibre, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese, is antioxidant and could improve brain function. It also has potassium, zinc, selenium and phosphorous. It’s quite high in calories and has some caffeine though, so don’t go over the top!
Bananas: As well as being packed with fibre, which will help prevent constipation, they are great for getting manganese and potassium. They offer plenty of energy but don’t contain fat or cholesterol and are low in calories – plus they have vitamin C, too.
Red peppers: They’re crunchy and delicious and great for your health too. Each pepper contains over 200 per cent of your daily vitamin C intake, has antioxidant properties and also has vitamin B6 and folates. That helps your night vision, which will come in handy when you’re doing night feeds!
Nuts, seeds and dried fruit: The nuts offer protein, good fats, carbs and fibre, plus B vitamins and vitamin E. They contain potassium, zinc, calcium, iron and antioxidant minerals. Dried fruit offers fibre and antioxidants plus a sugar boost.
Mango: As well as being low in calories, they are another source of fibre and great for vitamin C and E. They’re full of folates, their natural fruit sugars can give you an energy boost and they have B6, iron, calcium and zinc.
Spinach: During pregnancy you’re more at risk of anaemia, so this is a great way to get more iron in your diet. Surprisingly, it also contains quite a decent amount of calcium and it can help manage diabetes, lower blood pressure and prevent cancer.
Sweet potatoes: High in fibre so great for gut health, plus they have iron and vitamin C which helps you absorb iron, plus beta carotene, which creates vitamin A. They support brain function and healthy vision in you and your baby.
The power of peppermint
Waking up to a cup of peppermint tea or chewing a stick of peppermint gum could be good, especially if you need an energy boost. Researchers say the scent of peppermint increases alertness and decreases fatigue.
All day slow energy release
Here are some ideas for a whole day of super energy foods
Breakfast: oats are awesome
Porridge is a great breakfast, as it will keep you going to lunch time and beyond. Oats are great for lowering cholesterol, so if yours is high, it pays to choose this to start your day. It also helps control blood sugar, so you don’t get highs and lows and because it’s so filling, you won’t be tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks. Add flavour with cinnamon, and garnish with fresh fruit or dried figs.
Lunch: Avocado packs a punch
Both avocado and bread offer energy over a long period. Avocado has more potassium than bananas and lots of vitamins and fibre, plus monounsaturated fatty acids that protect the heart. Bread helps digestion, lowers cholesterol and helps you feel full for longer. Add some mixed seeds to offer omega-3 fats and a good squeeze of lemon and freshly ground black pepper.
Supper: Protein and iron in a yummy curry
Legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas are high in fibre, have a low GI and are good for giving you a long, slow release of energy; they are also a good source of protein. Add some gentle spices and then the spinach with its boost of iron. If you really want to get the best from the spinach, shred it and add to the top of the curry raw rather than cooking it.
Don’t forget that during pregnancy you actually have more blood in your body to support your growing baby, so it’s more important than ever to hydrate. Keep a bottle or glass of water to hand and sip regularly, especially when exercising.