Food for thought: second trimester nutrition.
The nausea is waning. You’ve got your capsule maternity wardrobe sussed. Hell, you might even be starting to glow! You’ve only gone and made it to your second trimester. This is allegedly the good ‘middle bit’ before you start dealing with piles, gargantuan nipples and uncontrollable wind (You’ve got that already? Totally normal). It’s also the bit where your baby starts noticeably growing. Nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy, but we all know the last thing any mother-to-be wants is more sodding advice. Consider the tips below as suggestions rather than the law:
* Try starting the day with hot water and lemon. It’s a good alternative to caffeine, alkalises the body’s PH levels and jumpstarts your digestive juices.
- Focus on the quality, rather than the quantity, of food that you choose (unfortunately the school of thought that says you should be eating for two has closed down).
- Try and make better choices, rather than perfect ones. We all know fresh, unprocessed food is best but if you accidentally inhaled a box of doughnuts, don’t beat yourself up.
- Omega 3s are your best friends and great for brain health – yours and your baby’s. Find them in pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, eggs and dark leafy vegetables, as well as low mercury fish sources such as sardines, mackerel and wild salmon.
- You’re using a lot of iron to make all that extra blood for your baby. Up your intake with green, leafy veg such as spinach or kale, good quality (preferably organic) lean meat, beans, lentils, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds. Try a watercress and baby spinach salad with lightly fried halloumi and ripe papaya (vitamin C aids iron absorption).
- Drink lots of water. Constipation is the LAST thing you need right now.
- Chew your food really well and eat slowly. Heartburn and indigestion are common in pregnancy and often get worse as your growing baby starts putting the squeeze on your internal organs.
- Try taking a good probiotic or add a natural source such as kefir (fermented yoghurt) to your diet. Good gut health is all-important.
- Fill your fridge with healthy, easy prep foods such as avocados, quinoa, CoYo or Greek yoghurt, fresh berries, nori wraps, energy bombs (recipe below), eggs, salads, juices, smoothies (good practice for all that pureeing you’re going to do later down the line), sweetcorn cobs and almond butter (delicious with slices of apple).
Here are a few quick and easy, nutritionally-loaded recipes that will hopefully inspire and give you time to focus on the more important things in life, like poring over F&B charts for the perfect ‘greige’ to paint the nursery.
Chia pudding (protein, iron, calcium, vitamin C)
In a bowl or mason jar, mix 4 tablespoons of chia seeds with 250ml of almond milk . Add a blob of yoghurt, a tsp of vanilla paste, some desiccated coconut and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning add fresh berries, pomegranate, nuts, goji berries, seeds, nut butter – whatever you have – to make a delicious breakfast or snack that you can easily take to work or eat on the go.
Something to keep you going:
Green Smoothie (fibre, iron, vitamin C and E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc)
A handful of kale, a handful of spinach, juice of half a lemon, a cup of almond milk, half a pear, half a banana, a tablespoon of almond butter. Blitz the lot and enjoy.
Quick lunch or supper:
Pea and feta frittatas (omega 3, calcium, fibre, vitamin D, B6, B12, folate, choline)
120g defrosted peas, 2 eggs, 30g rice flour, 125g of red pepper*, 60g feta crumbled, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 3 spring onions, small bunch of parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
- Alternatively use peppers, mushrooms, ham, bacon – whatever you have in the fridge.
Blitz the peas and eggs in a food processor. Add the rice flour and fold in, being careful not to over mix. Add remaining ingredients and combine gently to form your batter. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in a frying pan and spoon a large dollop of mixture into the pan, use a spatula to form a round patty shape. Heat gently til it starts browning and firming up, then flip over and cook the other side.
Urgent snack attack:
Raw chocolate love bombs (EFAs, fibre, folate, vitamin E, fibre, iron, potassium) – makes about 12 bombs
100g hazelnuts, 100g desiccated coconut, 100g fresh dates, 50g raw cacao, 3 tbsp coconut oil, tiny pinch of salt.
Blitz the nuts in a processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend thoroughly. Roll into balls then freeze for 20 minutes to ‘set’ them. Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Emma Bardwell is a freelance writer and health & nutrition blogger for Active In Style. She’s currently studying nutrition at CNM (where Deliciously Ella studies) and is a staunch believer in all things in moderation. Follower her on Instagram @eightypercentclean