Choosing what to eat while you’re pregnant can often prove to be a mixture of what feels right and what’s available right now. Throw in cravings, morning sickness and food aversions, and it can serve up all manner of cooking conundrums.
Nutritional therapist and new mother to twins Gabriela Peacock , who has a BSc Hons in Health Science and a Nutritional Therapy Diploma from The College of Naturopathic Medicine, gave us an insight into her pre-mama menu and her thoughts on eating for two (or three in her case!)
GTG: Which foods did you eating while you were pregnant? What were the main differences between your diet then to what it was before?
GP: I think the main differences for most people would be cutting out foods which are not recommended during pregnancy, for example; alcohol, unpasteurised cheeses, raw meats and fish, coffee and caffeine. I love sushi so I missed that the most! While I was pregnant I preferred to eat small meals more often, so would snack on bowls of fruit with some coconut yogurt or avocado on toast between smaller breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
GTG: Which foods were particularly great in terms of their nutritional content for meeting your needs and why?
GP: Often smoothies can be a fantastic way of getting in extra nutrients, especially if you’re feeling nauseous and uncomfortable. I would have our +Boost Me protein powder , which has an amazing chocolatey flavour as a smoothie with dark leafy greens like spinach, berries and almond milk. Or I’d have it as a shake with some coconut milk as a snack between meals to make sure I was getting the right amounts of protein.
GTG: What are your thoughts on 'eating for two?'
GP: Everyone is individual and I think the most important thing to do is to listen to your body. If you find that you are hungry more often, then it’s great to include some healthy snacks and once morning sickness starts, it can definitely be helpful to eat small and often. All in all though, it’s best to listen to your body and not to take the approach of eating for two!
GTG: What did you drink?
GP: I always had a pot of fresh lemon, ginger and Manuka honey tea with me - it’s my absolute favourite and I sipped it throughout the day. I also made sure to drink lots of water and protein shakes or smoothies for extra nutrition.
GTG: Did you eat when you were hungry or at set times?
GP: I think it’s so individual because you really do need to listen to your body. It’s important to me to keep my blood sugar steady and therefore I preferred to eat small meals more often to support myself through the pregnancy.
GTG: What was on your snack list?
GP: Definitely a +Boost Me protein shake, for savoury options I ate hummus with vegetable dippers, avo on toast, cottage cheese with some crackers or for sweeter options, fruit, nuts and seeds. I always tried to include a source of healthy fat and protein within my snacks to nourish myself and my pregnancy like avocado, olive oil and nuts or seeds.
GTG: Did your diet differ from trimester to trimester? How did you adapt your diet to suit?
GP: During the first trimester of my pregnancy I had terrible morning sickness, so I was just trying to eat small meals of plain foods and make sure I got the right nutrients through simple smoothies and soups. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I needed lots of energy, so I was eating grains, beans and sources of lean protein to keep me energised.
It’s vital to make sure you are getting lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre during your pregnancy. I enjoy eating healthily anyway, but during my pregnancy I made sure that I really ate the rainbow with lots of fruits and veg of all different colours and three portions of dark green leafy vegetables daily to make sure I got my folate!
GTG: What did you eat or drink to reduce your morning sickness?
GP: I found that eating small and often can be really helpful for morning sickness, as can choosing plain foods like wholegrain bread and pasta or easy to digest things like soups, smoothies and stews. Ginger tea was also my saviour - sipping it throughout the day when I felt ill!
MORE GLOSS: Is tea taking over from coffee?
GTG: Did you take supplements? If so, which ones?
GP: I took prenatal multivitamins and minerals, a good probiotic and some extra +Boost Me protein. Again this is really individual and I would recommend anyone to see a nutritionist or doctor to find what suits them best in pregnancy!
GTG: Did you have any cravings?
GP: I craved a lot of fruit during my pregnancy, also anything cold or citrusy, so I had ice and lime in everything!
GTG: Was there anything else that you found particularly helpful?
GP: It’s probably one of the hardest things but sleep and rest is so important for the body during pregnancy. Trying to create a sleep routine can be helpful - meditation or a hot bath before bed to help with falling asleep. Waking up during the night can be triggered by having low blood sugar, so it’s important to have a good portion of protein in your evening meal or a protein rich snack before bed, like nut butter on apple, a +Boost Me, or lean proteins and turkey or salmon with supper.
Choosing what to eat and drink during your pregnancy is a hugely personal and individual decision. This is what worked for Gabriela, but what works for you? From morning sickness to cravings to snacks, let us know in the comments section below.