From morning sickness to cravings , pregnancy can throw your normal eating habits into quite the spin, and at seven months pregnant, nutritional therapist Amelia Freer is only too familiar with the lure of a bag of crisps (salt and vinegar is her flavour of choice) and being turned off “healthy” choices such as smoothies. In an Instagram post this weekend, she revealed that she’s resisted pressure to eat a “perfect” diet during pregnancy, and encourages other mums-to-be to just go with the flow rather than conforming to the expectations of others
The nutritional therapist on going with your gut, never feeling guilty about cravings and getting plenty of pre and probiotics
“It’s been such a rollercoaster. I'm feeling the best I've felt in months and really enjoying it now. Looking forward to September! Many of you are asking me about how I've been eating during pregnancy or how you should eat. I've been hesitant to write about it as I'm not sure how helpful it is. There are very clear guidelines about what to avoid during pregnancy and obviously I advocate eating as best you can. I stick to my "real food" guideline as much as possible but there have been days when I couldn't face cooking or eating and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps was all I wanted! Nothing wrong with this!”
“It's such a challenging time, I don't think that having guilt or anxiety around food is necessary or beneficial at any time but even less so when going through all that pregnancy brings. Someone told me that I "must drink smoothies everyday" when I was feeling so sick and it just annoyed and frustrated me. Now that I am feeling better I have been able to engage with food again and I'm thinking about what I can give me and my little one such as healthy fats , pre and probiotics and lots of fresh veggies.”
Wondering what to include on the pre and probiotic front?
“I've added in kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, onions, garlic, artichokes and greens, all to help my gut thrive and hopefully some of it will make its way to my baby.”
Also, if your cravings are all over the place, you’re in good company…
“For ages I didn't want smoothies and now I'm craving them, so I’m making raspberry, avocado, cashew and spinach ones a lot. For me, every day has been different and I've just gone with it!”
Suddenly peckish? That’s normal too:
“I snack during the day. Deliciously Ella’s Ginger Balls were a saviour, and nuts and fruit, carrots and hummus, apple slices and peanut butter are all regulars.”
Aside from being careful about her sugar intake where she can, Amelia’s main focus has been enjoying the process and not worrying too much, and she’d encourage you to do the same:
“I can write you a whole load of guidelines for nutrition in pregnancy for sure, but honestly, I'd say do your best, use my books for some inspiration or recipes if you need, but above all, listen to your body and please don't focus on weight loss during pregnancy.”
If you’re struggling with your diet or eating habits during pregnancy, Amelia recommends seeking out a registered nutritionist or dietitian to ensure that all of your nutritional needs are being met. Taking care of yourself is first and foremost the priority at all times, but especially when you’re expecting.
Read more about “positive nutrition” and Amelia’s latest book
Follow Amelia on Instagram @AmeliaFreer