One of the (many) challenging things a pregnant woman faces is “what should I eat?” I have had a number of conversations with pregnant friends and patients over the last few weeks on this very topic. Ideally the best way to nourish your body and meet the nutritional needs of you and your baby is to eat a wide variety of nutritious, unprocessed foods. However this can be challenged by several factors; nausea and morning (all day sickness), food aversions, heightened sense of smell and fatigue.
During the first trimester and sometimes continuing into the second, many pregnant women want plain for and often find themselves eating more toast and rice cakes than they ever have before. Pregnancy is a time when it is very important to regularly listen to your body and to give it what it really needs. A great example would be “Im feeling low in energy, I need some chocolate,” versus “my energy levels are low, what does my body need right now?” and feeding that need with a good source of protein and/or some good fats, maybe even having a little rest. Obviously this example doesn’t apply if you are feeling really sick and need something asap to settle the nausea or vomiting.
Below I have included a few recipes that would work well for pregnant ladies. These recipes all make extra so you can either store in the fridge or freeze in portions so you have good food on hand at all times!
Making your own stock is super easy and an excellent way to spend some time on the weekend.
Stock is really nutritious as it is full of minerals and electrolytes, it aids digestion and soothes the gut. Given stock is cooked slowly over time it is an excellent way to get protein into your diet and it is easy for the body to uptake the nutritional value within it for the same reason. Store bought stocks are very processed and usually laden with extra salt and flavouring, plus making your own will make you feel like Maggie Beer (my kitchen hero.) If you are pregnant, your cooked stock will be plain and highly nutritious o it ticks all the boxes for you & your growing baby.
When I make stock, it is always a little different every time depending on what veggies I have on hand. Here is the basic recipe for you.
makes 3-4 litres
- 1 whole organic chicken, plus some extra bits if possible. I usually ask my lovely butcher for some extra necks and feet, otherwise you can add in some wings or drumsticks.
- 4 litres of filtered water (to cover chicken in the pot)
- 2-3 carrots
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 1-2 sticks of celery
- 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
- a few bay leaves
- a few sprigs thyme, sage or chives (whatever you have handy)
- a dash of vinegar (this draws the minerals out of the bones and into your broth.)
- Roughly chop the veggies
- put all ingredients into a big soup pot and cover with water. Add extra if you need to as it important that everything is well covered.
- Bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for as long as you can. Minimum of 3 hours, I like to aim for 6-7 hours.
- Pul out the bigger bits of chicken and then pour the stock through a sieve.
- Discard the veggies (I feed mine to our dogs)
- Pour the stock into a container large enough to hold it and once it has cooled slightly, place it in the fridge to allow the fat to settle on the top.
- Pick all the chicken off the bones and keep it. If you are making chicken soup, you can use it straight away, otherwise freeze extra chicken in portions and add to salads, soups and snacks.
- Once the fat has congealed on top of your soup mixture, scoop most of it off and your stock is ready to go. You can discard the chicken fat or keep to roast vegetables in.
- If you are making soup, use the stock that you need and freeze unused portions. I usually do this in 500ml blocks so I can use it later to make a quick soup- with leftover chicken and some veggies or when I am cooking other things.
Stock keeps for about 5 days in the fridge and several months in the freezer, just ensure that it is airtight.
If I am planning on making stock and have recently roared a chicken I will freeze the roasted carcass & add that to my stock pot too.
Quick chicken soup
Anything goes here, you could add more veggies, less spices, add some seaweed or whatever else you have handy.
- 500ml chicken stock
- handful of cooked chicken (this is where your leftover chicken from the stock comes in handy)
- 1/2 chilli finely chopped
- 2cm piece of ginger, grated
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- Bok choy or choy sum, chopped
- A handful of coriander
- Add all ingredients except bok chou and coriander in a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes
- Add bok choy and coriander and serve.
Check out Nourishing a pregnant body part 2 for more recipes.