The ultimate pregnancy diet plan
Congratulations, mama-to-be! You're embarking on an incredible journey filled with love, anticipation, and the promise of a new life. During this remarkable time, taking care of your nutrition is more important than ever, as it not only impacts your health and well-being but also the health of your precious little one. Keep reading to find out what the best diet for pregnant women looks like, which foods to eat during pregnancy and which foods to avoid.
Essential nutrients for you and your baby
Your body has a remarkable way of putting your baby’s needs front and centre by providing them with the necessary nutrients you get through food. This way, healthy growth and development of your little one is guaranteed. While these adjustments are incredible, they can sometimes leave mums-to-be with fewer of these vital nutrients, which can have various effects on their own health during and after pregnancy.
You might have noticed some changes in your body, like feeling more tired than usual or dealing with digestive issues such as constipation. These experiences are often linked to the foods you eat and the nutrients your body doesn’t get enough of.
For instance, a lack of essential minerals like iron can lead to anaemia, resulting in fatigue, weakness, and an overall sense of tiredness. Inadequate fibre intake can contribute to digestive discomfort, while not enough calcium can impact your bone health, potentially leading to issues like osteoporosis later in life. Even your hair and skin may undergo changes due to nutrient deficiencies, with issues like hair loss or dry skin.
To ensure a healthy and comfortable pregnancy, it's crucial to address these deficiencies through a balanced diet for pregnant women and the right kind of supplements.
Your eating habits influence your baby's taste buds
Do you want your child to love broccoli? Then you need to include it in your diet while they are still in your belly. Your pregnancy diet plan isn't just about nourishing your baby; it can also influence their taste preferences later in life. Research shows that around 21 weeks after conception, the baby begins tasting flavours from the foods you eat.
This happens because the amniotic fluid they swallow carries the flavours of your recent meals. So, if you want to make sure your baby doesn’t become a picky eater, you need to embrace a diverse and balanced diet in pregnancy.
But it's not just about your baby's taste; your pregnancy diet also plays a crucial role in influencing your baby's predisposition to nut allergies. Research has shown that pregnant women who include nuts in their diet can significantly reduce the risk of their child developing nut allergies later in life, making it that much more important to include a wide range of food groups in your diet.
How to guarantee a balanced diet in pregnancy
To maintain a healthy pregnancy, it's recommended to increase your daily calorie intake by approximately 300 calories. A balanced diet should be rich in protein, fruits, whole wheats, and vegetables. Here are some of our favourite foods to eat during pregnancy that will satisfy the nutritional needs for pregnant women and their babies:
- Fruits: apples, berries, bananas, apricots, oranges and grapefruits
- Veggies: broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes
- Proteins: lean meats, eggs, seafood, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes
- Whole grains: whole-wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, oats, millet, bulgur
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese
- Healthy fats: olive oil, avocado, nuts
There are, however, certain foods to avoid during pregnancy. These foods may contain bacteria that can hurt your baby, while some are known to cause indigestion. It’s best to steer clear of:
- Raw or undercooked foods: seafood, sushi, oysters, eggs, and meat
- High-mercury fish: shark and swordfish
- Unpasteurized dairy products: soft cheeses like feta, camembert, brie, or blue-veined cheeses should be avoided unless labelled "made with pasteurized milk"
- Excess caffeine and alcohol: limit your intake of alcoholic drinks and drinks containing caffeine during pregnancy, because they can cause heartburn
- Foods high in added sugars and processed foods: opt for whole, nutritious foods whenever possible
- Refrigerated foods: avoid refrigerated pâté, meat spreads, and smoked seafood during pregnancy
- Spicy and high-fat foods: if you’re suffering from indigestion, you may want to avoid strong spices and foods that are high in fat. A good recommendation is also to avoid big meals and enjoy smaller but more frequent meals.
Foods that fight nausea during pregnancy
If you're experiencing a bit of turbulence during your pregnancy due to morning sickness and heartburn, you're not alone. Many expectant mothers often grapple with these queasy sensations, which can be linked to the hormonal shifts happening in your body. Thankfully, there's a wide array of foods that fight nausea during pregnancy. If your stomach is giving you problems, we suggest you stock up on salty crackers, ginger, high-protein foods, bananas, toast, white rice, peppermint tea and broth.
Introduction to pregnancy meal planning
When it comes to diet in pregnancy, keeping your meals balanced is vital. Essential nutrients like folate, omega-3, calcium, fibre and iron rich foods are a must. But including these foods in your diet doesn't mean you have to completely change your eating habits. It's all about making thoughtful choices that prioritise both your well-being and your baby's development.
Consider your current menu and see which small adjustments can benefit your overall health. For instance, swap sushi for baked salmon or opt for whole-wheat pasta instead of the regular one. These minor changes can make a significant impact.
If you're in need of inspiration, we've prepared some pregnancy-friendly meal plan ideas along with three of our favourite and tastiest recipes to help you enjoy a well-rounded and nourishing diet during this special time.
Energising morning meals
- Porridge with milk and sultanas
- Wholegrain toast with mashed banana and a spinach smoothie
- Greek yoghurt with granola and berries
- Wholegrain toast with peanut butter spread
- Egg wrap with avocado and tomatoes
- Cottage cheese with apples, cinnamon, honey and walnuts
- Buckwheat pudding with cocoa, banana and nuts
Nutrient-packed midday feasts
- Chicken and mushroom risotto
- Quinoa bowl with veggies and egg
- Quiche with courgettes and cheese
- Salmon with brown rice and peas
- Grilled chicken with roasted sweet potato
- Lentil soup
- Tuna salad sandwich
- Carrot-ginger soup
- Chicken pesto pasta
- Veggie and hummus pita
- Classic minestrone soup
- Lentil salad with bell peppers, corn and cucumbers
- Beef and cabbage stir fry
- Baked parmesan courgette fries with yoghurt dip
And now to the recipes – trust us, these are so delicious and easy to make they’ll stay on your menu even after you give birth!
Buckwheat pudding with cocoa, banana and nuts
- 0.5 cup buckwheat
- 1 small banana
- 1 cup oat milk
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped hazelnuts
- Dark chocolate shavings
1. Pour buckwheat in a pot, cover with water, add salt to taste and simmer until cooked. Drain and let it cool completely.
2. In a blender combine cooked buckwheat, oat milk, honey, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Blend on high speed until you get a thick pudding-like consistency.
3. Transfer into a serving bowl and garnish with hazelnuts and dark chocolate shavings.
Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 90 g penne pasta
- 70 g chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 75 ml single cream
- 1 tbsp basil pesto
- A few sun-dried tomatoes
- Olive oil
1. Heat the pan on medium high heat, add a splash of olive oil and cook the chicken until golden brown.
2. Cook the pasta as per the instructions.
3. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Add cream, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes to the chicken and cook for a few minutes until everything heats.
4. Drain the pasta and reserve a bit of cooking water. Add pasta to the sauce, gently mix and add a splash of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.
Baked parmesan courgette fries with yoghurt dip
- 2 medium courgettes
- ¾ cup crackers
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbps fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 eggs
For the dip
- 1/5 cup Greek yoghurt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Seasoning (garlic powder, onion powder, chives,…)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Wash courgettes and cut them into fry-shape pieces. Sprinkle them with salt and set aside to release excess liquid.
3. Crush crackers until you get fine crumbs, and place them in a large bowl. Add grated parmesan, finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper and mix well.
4. In separate bowl crack 2 eggs and beat well.
5. Rinse courgettes and pat them dry with a clean tea towel.
6. Dip courgette slices in egg, then coat them with the cracker mixture and place on the baking sheet.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
8. While the courgettes are baking, prepare the dip by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing them well.
9. Remove from the oven and enjoy with the yoghurt dip.
Support your diet in pregnancy with quality supplements
In addition to maintaining a balanced and nutrient-rich diet in pregnancy, it's essential to consider the role of quality pregnancy supplements. While a balanced diet is a good foundation to satisfy nutritional needs for pregnant women, relying on food to do all the hard work is usually not enough. This is where supplements come in. They are specifically designed to bridge any potential gaps in your diet in pregnancy and guarantee that you and your baby receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
Top quality supplements that support you and your baby every step of the way
TummyTox’s Getting Ready and Baby Bump capsules ensure you and your baby receive essential nutrients throughout your pregnancy.
Getting Ready, a pre-pregnancy multivitamin, is specially crafted for women who are planning to conceive or are in the 1st trimester of pregnancy. This potent formula consists of 21 crucial nutrients in optimal dosage that support womb health, hormonal balance, and connective tissue formation. The formula also contains a patented form of folate, Quatrefolic®, that reduces the risk of neural tube defects in babies and contributes to their early development.
Getting Ready will keep you energised and ward off the fatigue that often appears in the initial months of pregnancy. It also supports your immune system and promotes the health of your blood and bones.
During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, nutritional needs for pregnant women grow. Baby Bump steps in to create an optimal environment for your baby's growth during these critical stages of development.
This high-quality prenatal supplement contains 23 essential nutrients, including bioactive vitamins, minerals, and DHA omega-3. It effectively reduces tiredness and fatigue, supports normal tissue growth, and contributes to the development of your baby's brain and eyes.
Your nutrition plays a vital role not only in your well-being but also in the health and development of your precious baby. By nourishing your body with a balanced and diverse diet and considering quality supplements like Getting Ready and Baby Bump, you're giving your baby the best start in life.
Cuda-Kroen, G. (2011, August 8). Baby’s palate and food memories shaped before birth. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth