When it comes to eating in pregnancy, trust your instincts. You know kale’s better for you than chocolate cake, but also that the odd treat won’t hurt. Try to ‘eat a rainbow’ – choosing as many different colour foods as you can, including loads of fruit and veg.
Feel HiPP foods for growing bumps
A balanced pregnancy diet keeps your bump happy and healthy by providing all the essential nutrients for your baby’s development. But good food is key to helping you feel HiPP too. You need lots of energy to grow a tiny human!
Should you eat organic?
Naturally we think dodging pesky pesticides is a good thing – we’ve been proudly organic for over 60 years! If you want to limit your exposure to chemicals in pregnancy, organic produce is an awesome choice. Check out this ‘dirty dozen’— fruit and veg often found with high pesticide residues — opting for organic versions of these is a great place to start.
Our top tip for feeling HiPP?
Munch on a good range of nutrient-rich foods, like eggs, berries, broccoli, yoghurt and pulses.
Colour is nature’s way of illustrating a balanced diet.
Eat a rainbow
A varied pregnancy diet gives you and your baby lots of different nutrients. An easy way to do this is to ‘eat a rainbow’ of different coloured foods every day. And pile your plate high with fruit and veg.
For a good balance include:
- Lots of fruit and vegetables — at least 5 portions a day
- Fibre-rich, wholegrain carbohydrates, like rice, pasta and potatoes
- Protein, like lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses or tofu
- Calcium sources, like milk, pasteurised cheese, yoghurt, broccoli, tofu, soya
- Oily fish, like salmon, trout or mackerel, once or twice a week – these are rich in omega 3 fatty acids
- ‘Live’ yogurt or other foods containing probiotics
What’s 1 of your 5-a-day?
It’s about 80g of fruit or veg. This roughly translates as:
- A handful of raw veg (e.g. carrots/cabbage)
- 3 heaped tablespoons of cooked veg
- One piece of medium-sized fruit (e.g. an apple or orange)
- Two or three small fruits (e.g. kiwis or apricots)
- Two handfuls of berries
- A glass of fruit juice or a bowl of veg based soup
Fresh, frozen, chilled, canned, dried or juice all count – but 100% fruit juice is very high in sugar, so limit to one 150ml portion a day.
The Department of Health recommends women trying for a baby should take a daily supplement of 400mcg of folic acid before conception and then up until the 12th week of pregnancy. Snack on broccoli, spinach, asparagus, peas, chickpeas, baked beans, brown rice, fortified breakfast cereals, wholemeal bread, oranges and bananas for an extra boost.
To keep levels topped up, increase your intake of iron-rich foods like red meat, pulses, green leafy vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals and bread. Munching food high in vitamin C in the same meal, like oranges, strawberries, peppers and tomatoes, helps your body to absorb the iron.
Vitamin D is essential for your baby’s healthy bone growth. You get small amounts in eggs, oily fish, milk and yoghurt, but we get most of our vitamin D from the summer sun. As the British weather doesn’t always deliver, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to take a supplement of 10ug/day.
Make it quick
A healthy diet for pregnancy doesn’t have to be complicated. Porridge or cereal piled with yoghurt and berries make a super start to the day. Baked beans and cheese on a jacket potato, or wholemeal toast, is simple, but very nutritious. And a well-cooked steak with tomato salad will boost your iron. Or how about omega 3-rich salmon with noodles and stir-fry veg for a vitamin-packed supper?
If you feel sick during pregnancy, make the meals you can eat count.
- Small healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals can ease sickness.
- Avoid spicy or very fatty foods.
- Ginger – fresh in tea, soft drinks or in biscuits (yay!), mint tea, yoghurt, plain crackers and high protein snacks, like nuts, may all help you feel a bit better.
P.S. These are also all good tips for late pregnancy too, if you find you feel full quickly, or get heartburn.
Power up for the final push
Preparing for birth includes packing energy boosting foods (for you and your partner!) to keep you going through labour. You’ll probably want to eat small amounts regularly – so think tasty portable power-snacks like bananas, flapjacks or dried fruit.
The final word on eating for two…
You may have heard you should ‘eat for two,’ but that’s (sadly) a bit of a myth. You won’t need to eat much more than usual until the third trimester, and then it’ll only be about an extra 200-300 calories – that’s a couple of rounds of toast and peanut butter.