A wholesome diet is always the ideal goal when you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. During pregnancy, it is even more critical to ensure that your diet is adequate, fulfilling and inclusive of all the essential nutrients for you and your baby. We understand that especially when you’re pregnant, it can be hard to maintain a balanced diet without prior planning and research. We’ve created a handy list of nutritious pregnancy lunch ideas, meals and tips to inspire and inform you about delicious food that is safe for you.
- Whole grain cereal with some fruit
While many commercial cereals are high in sugar, you can choose a whole grain cereal and add some healthy sugars naturally present in fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, grapes, bananas and kiwi go particularly well with cereals like muesli and bran, but there’s no strict rules here. It’s important to keep up the fibre intake for regular gut and bowel health.
- Toast with spreads, avocado, eggs
There’s an endless list of toppings you can put on your toast. For a simple breakfast, peanut butter is great or you can use avocados, with a squeeze of lemon juice and some olive oil. Foods that are rich in good fats and oils are imperative in the first trimester when you may be experiencing morning sickness. For something a little more filling you can add eggs. Just make sure they are well cooked, as raw egg can have harmful bacteria that may be problematic for unborn babies.
An easy and nutritious breakfast option, oats can be prepared hot with some milk or left overnight with some yoghurt, some chia seeds and apple. Oats make the perfect winter breakfast with bananas, crushed nuts and a drizzle of honey, which adds a lovely sweet component.
Smoothies are the best way to sneak in a variety of different fruits and vegetables that you might not like or can’t eat lots of. Change up your combinations so you can reap the benefits of a range of fruits, and remember, there’s no right or wrong in what you can add. From almond mylk to coconut water, oat milk, juice or even cows milk, there really is no end to how you can make your smoothies.
Make a batter yourself by using unrefined flour if possible - coconut flour, spelt, almond meal and quinoa flour are just a few you can choose from. As with most of our breakfast options, fresh or frozen fruits will be the perfect addition to your healthy pancakes. Switch maple syrup for rice malt syrup to keep it low on sugar.
It doesn’t matter whether you put it in a sandwich or a wrap, the fillings are interchangeable so whatever you have will work. To keep it balanced, make sure you have good proteins and vegetables. Leafy greens, tomato and chicken seasoned or with your favourite sauce is a good basic sandwich. There’s so many different substitutions, so you can’t go wrong!
Full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, salads can be super nutritious and you can add your own customised selection of ingredients. Make sure you add a variety of fruits and vegetables; and some protein like salmon, tuna, prawns, chicken, beef, pork, beans or lentils. You might want to skip the Caesar or Aioli dressings as they contain raw eggs that can be harmful during a pregnancy.
Soup is a great way to incorporate vegetables into your diet and an easy food to digest if you’re suffering morning sickness. You can make soup with spinach, corn, beans, broccoli, potato, leek, mushroom or whatever you have left in the crisper drawer. Alternatively, bone broths can be really beneficial to your gut health and will help settle an upset tummy.
Rice and noodles are so versatile and go with everything. You could cook up some beef or chicken, or use some vegetables for a fantastically easy and quick meal. For an extra low GI option, you can go for brown rice or buckwheat noodles, keeping you fuller for longer.
With your chosen form of protein - beef, pork, chicken, tofu or legumes and plenty of vegetables, tacos are a fun treat and you can make them as full of diverse nutrients as you fancy. Top them with sour cream and a bit of melted cheese and guac and you’ll have something delicious and healthy.
Prepare this overnight by adding your choice of milk, honey, vanilla extract, nuts, or protein powder. In the morning it will be ready for you to add some fruit and yoghurt on top.
Cheap and fuss free, just chop up your fave fruits and throw them all together! A fruit salad will go well with yoghurt and you can have it anytime of day to curb your hunger.
If you’re finding it hard to get in all those fruit and vegetables, juice it! Having them whole is more nutritious but it’s better than nothing. Juices are a great way to add all your vegetables as you can mask the taste with fruits.
Choose healthy eating for your pregnancy
There are some foods that contain harmful bacteria that you might want to avoid during pregnancy. Raw or undercooked meat, fish or eggs can be problematic. Similarly, unpasteurised cheeses and milk can also pose a risk. But remember, it’s best to consult your obstetrician, be informed and make the nutritional choices that are right for you and your individual pregnancy.
Foods that are high in refined sugar, salt and trans fats are things you may want to avoid during pregnancy. You don’t have to cut them out completely, but make sure you know what you’re putting into your body. While carrying a baby, you can sometimes be at a higher risk of cholesterol problems, gestational diabetes, fluid retention and other pregnancy related medical issues. Remember, eat and drink everything in moderation and pick things that are as fresh as possible!