Food in pregnancy may vary because your appetite may change a lot. You can go from feeling sick and not really fancying anything to feeling starving and never full.
Pregnancy can be a time when you feel like you can eat for two, when diets and healthy eating can go out the window especially when you feel tired. While pregnancy is not a time for a calorie controlled diet, it is a time to eat healthily. Cutting down on processed foods, ready meals and sugary snacks can help you feel better and will help to keep your weight gain at a normal level.
Food in pregnancy can become something you obsess over and it can also be the cause of confusion. I am not a nutritionist so I used The British Nutrition Foundation for guidance which I liked because it is all about keeping it simple. Their information talks about aiming for a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veg; carbohydrates; some fish, lean meat, eggs and dairy – going with good alternatives if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Here’s a quick guide to healthy choices with food in pregnancy…
Fresh fruit & veg for meals and snacks
- a wide selection of colourful fruit and vegetables is going to be great for your health
- broccoli and cabbage are rich in vitamins and nutrients
- you can add some rocket, kale and green, leafy veg as well for calcium
Carbs can be a great source of energy
Wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, sweet potatoes and oats are great sources of vitamins and fibre. These could help you feel satisfied and give you a much needed energy boost.
- Eggs, which are also low calorie but high in vitamins, minerals and protein
- Beans and chickpeas also contain fibre, which can help prevent constipation
- When eating red meat such as beef and pork, make sure it is lean
- Chicken and turkey
- Salmon, sardines or mackerel (but no more than 2 portions a week) which will also boost your Omega-3
This can come from foods such as: Greek yoghurt, dairy food, rocket, kale, almonds, brazil nuts and sesame seeds.
- lean red meat, nuts, eggs and green leafy vegetables
- vitamin C will help your body to absorb iron so it can be beneficial to have a glass of orange juice with your food.
For Folic Acid
This can come from: oranges, berries, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, beans and brown bread
Foods to avoid in pregnancy
- high levels of Vitamin A so don’t take supplements containing it and stay away from liver products.
- be careful with eggs – check if they are Lion UK eggs
- raw & undercooked meat
- shark, marlin & swordfish
- raw shellfish
Drinking water in pregnancy
Your body is changing and working hard so you need to stay hydrated. Drinking water can keep you energised and it can also keep headaches and constipation away too.
Eating eggs in pregnancy
UK Lion hen eggs can be eaten lightly cooked but all other eggs and hen eggs which do not have the Lion mark should be well-cooked.
Drinking alcohol in pregnancy
The Food to of Health advice is not to drink alcohol at all.
Caffeine in pregnancy
The recommendation is no more that 200mg per day so here’s a quick guide:
- tea: 75mg
- filter coffee: 140mg
- instant coffee: 100mg
- 250ml energy drink: 80mg
- can of coke: 40mg
- 50g milk chocolate: 10mg
So, when it comes to food in pregnancy, eat as healthily as you can. Try to see food as fuel to help your body function better as it makes your baby and so you feel as well as possible. But it is all about balance so don’t feel bad when only a slice of cake will do!