Ensure you and baby are in tip top condition with these nutrient powerhouses
Throughout your pregnancy, but particularly in the first trimester, you will swing between a burning desire to empty the fridge of the entirety of its contents, and a rush to the bathroom with the stomach churning effects of what is quaintly known as ‘morning’ sickness.
It’s easy to understand how many women feel like they have lost complete control of their diet and plenty will also worry about how this all affects baby.
None of this is unusual but it can be upsetting.
The key to getting a handle on your diet during pregnancy is to focus on what you are eating as a whole, rather than on any one day or even couple of days.
Aim for five or six small meals a day rather than three large ones and opt for foods that offer real nutritional punch to best fuel both you and baby.
Below you will find some of our favourites, but if you prioritise wholefoods over processed and include lots of fruit and veg, you will be on the right road.
Filled to the brim with healthy nutrients for both mum and baby, avocado is a true superfood.
A great source of fibre, vitamin K and folate, they are also a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, which are essential in assisting the development of your baby’s brain. Avocados are also tremendously versatile and easy to incorporate in to your diet.
Think guacamole, salad and its rich silky texture and high but healthy fat content means that they can replace butter in many dessert recipes, such as mousse and cakes.
Oats are great for digestion, offer a slow-release of energy to power your day and will help you feel full. They are also rich in vital minerals, including magnesium, which is thought to relieve stress and anxiety during pregnancy. Oats can also be dressed up or dressed down so if you are feeling nauseous, they are bland enough to keep down, and if you are ravenously hungry they can be jazzed up with a whole host of sweet and savoury ingredients for a healthy, satisfying meal.
A great energy booster, prunes are also wonderfully sweet and filling, with plenty of vitamin k, needed for helping blood to clot properly in both you and your baby.
They also contain lots of fibre to keep your digestive system running smoothly and painful constipation at bay.
Protein is essential for your baby’s growth so you should try to get three servings per day.
Turkey is a wonderful source. Apart from being very versatile and a wonderful flavour carrier, it is also a good source of vitamin B12, which we need to maximise our uptake of folate.
If you are over oranges, try and get your hands on some deliciously buttery papaya fruit.
It contains huge amounts of vitamin C, which is exactly what you need to absorb iron to prevent anaemia (which can be depleted by your baby during pregnancy).
Vitamin C is also great for a healthy immune system, which can also come under strain during pregnancy.
Sweet potatoes are filled with powerful nutrients, from vitamin B6 (helps to form red blood cells) to potassium, vitamin C, iron and copper. They are also loaded with vitamin A, which helps your baby’s eyesight to develop and aids in bone and skin growth. Try them mashed, roasted, baked … basically any way you would eat a regular potato.
Yep, you heard it here first.
Not only is chocolate safe to eat during pregnancy, but a study has suggested that eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can actually lower the risk of pre-eclampsia.
Moderation is key of course, as chocolate contains both sugar and caffeine, neither of which are good for you in large quantities.
And here are a few to throw in the shopping basket if you come across them
A great source of omega fats and also inhibit the speed at which sugar is absorbed to ward off swings in blood sugar. Sprinkle on cereal, yoghurt or salads.
Rich in vitamin C, folate, potassium and magnesium. The leaves have most nutritional punch – add to salads or stir through pasta like spinach leaves.
Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities will aid your immune system. Add to curries and soups.
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