I love to be spontaneous and spirited in the kitchen, there is so much fun to be had. The little boy growing in my belly seems to think otherwise, limiting my palate to a handful of rather boring food choices. Over the past few months I have experiencing quite a change in how I eat, even more so than my previous pregnancies.
During this time I have been keeping a small diary. Sribbled lists, random ideas, and drafts of recipes that only I could decipher. I have turned these notes in to a small and thoughtful guide to wholefoods during pregnancy, with the hope that it will inspire you to cook wholesome food for you and your little one. Today I share with you the recipes and rituals that have been keeping both baby and I happy.
Note: please know that I am not a naturopath or qualified natural health specialist, simply a mama who has experienced three pregnancies and would like to share a few recipes and ideas.
MORNING SICKNESS AND THE FIRST TRIMESTER
During the first trimester, the smell of food would often leave me feeling quite ill. I would feel inspired of what to make, spending an hour or so in the kitchen cooking, only to find I just couldn’t face a single bite. A loaf of sourdough in the pantry would often come to the rescue. Toast with butter for dinner was something I devoured more often than I like to admit. The truth is, although my usual well balanced diet during this time seemed to go out the window, I tried not to be too hard on myself. You can’t force yourself to eat something when you just don't feel like anything at all!
For the first three months or so, my diet has consisted of the following. Bananas, banana smoothies (recipe below) different variations of cheese on sourdough toast, boiled eggs, simple cooked vegetables, grain based meals, crispy skinned roast meat, and a little yoghurt every now and then. My advice would be to get in to the habit of drinking plenty of water, find a handful of wholesome food choices that do work for you in the meanwhile and not get too worried about indulging in the odd takeaway or fast food option if thats all you feel like eating. Do try to keep away from anything too loaded with sugar, in particular sugary drinks, as they ultimately make you feel worse. It's only a matter of time until you start to find your appetite return!
Boiled eggs with poppy seed parmesan soldiers. Recipe in My Family Table.
As soon as I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is drink a large glass of filtered water, sometimes with a squeeze of lemon if we have any in the fruit bowl. I will also often eat a piece of sourdough toast, or some simple crackers to ensure there is something lining my stomach. I find as soon as I allow myself to become too hungry, the nausea always becomes worse. Below you will find my recipe for homemade seed crackers. Top with a nice cheddar cheese and tomato for a delicious snack.
Homemade seed crackers, recipe here.
I find that by eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, this helps to stop the nausea coming on, as well as preventing me from feeling too full. Homemade truffles and fresh fruit are great for nibbling on between meals, I have a few recipes below, although my friends from Snackpack make some delicious flavours that you can order online or buy from a few selected outlets. Check out their website here.
Something I believe truly helped me this time around with morning sickness was taking magnesium on a daily basis. I have been taking the supplement for about three years now, and always notice a huge different in my moods and the way I feel if we run out for a few weeks.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that relieves stress, anxiety, and helps to ensure a restful sleep - take a few hours before your usual sleep time. I like the Solgar brand, available at most health stores. At least once a week, I enjoy a healing bath using epsom salts - another great way to get a boost of magnesium. A few drops of essential oil helps to calm the mind and prepare for a relaxed sleep.
You can find out a little more about the magnesium for morning sickness in these posts by Wellness Mama, and Mommypotomous.
Morning sickness aside, something I truly struggled with in the first trimester was the fatigue. I didn’t have much time to relax with two littlies running around who needed plenty of time and attention. Now that I am in the second trimester, I still find that a cat nap or short rest is absolutely essential, even if it is for a mere 10 minutes or so. Regardless of how busy I am, I always try to have a little lie down in the afternoons, even if I don’t necessarily fall asleep.
If you suffer from heartburn or indegestion, a great trick is dissolving ½ tsp baking soda in a little water. Garlge for 10-20 seconds, and then swallow. It might sound horrible, but trust me it works! Particularly after a large meal.
DAY TO DAY WHOLEFOODS IN PREGNANCY
Protein is not only said to help morning sickness in pregnancy, it also helps you to feel sustained and fuller for longer. I have been enjoying many different variations of the traditional roast meal. Succulent slow roasted lamb, beef or slow cooked pork with plenty of herbs and vegetables have become a staple meal. You can use any left over bones to make a nourishing broth to keep in the fridge for further meals, find my recipe for homemade broth or stock in My Petite Kitchen Cookbook. Free range eggs and legumes are also an excellent source of protein if you are vegetarian.
Consuming plenty of of good fats is absolutely vital to baby’s organ and brain development. You can find these in natural sources such as ethical and free farmed meat, butter, ghee, free range eggs, olive oil, coconut oil, good quality dairy, coconut products and nuts. A good tip that I learnt from my naturopath is to eat your veggies with good fats. These help your body to absorb all the vital nutrients fruits and vegetables offer. A personal favourite has been steamed broccoli or cauliflower drizzled in a vibrant olive oil or melted butter, sprinkled with grated cheese and flaky sea salt. Simple yet delicious.
Roast chicken with lemon, rosemary and fennel, recipe here.
Most women seem to crave bread during pregnancy, I certainly did! Try this protein filled alternative for sesame honey bread. The base is made out of ground almonds containing plenty of good fats, a recipe that can be served sweet or savoury. Top with peanut butter and jam, or avocado, sliced tomato, flaky sea salt and a generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper. I have added flaxseeds to the original recipe for a little extra fibre.
Sesame honey bread, recipe here.
We all know that plenty of vegetables and fruit are essential to a balanced diet. Our digestion tends to slow down and be a little irregular during pregnancy, the natural fibre in fruit and vegetables can help to keep you regular, particularly if you need to take iron supplements. Simple, unadulterated, and comforting vegetable dishes seem to be working for the two of us.
Roasted jacket potatoes with cheese, spinach and chives. Recipe here.
Home made bone broth made out of beef or chicken will give you and your baby plenty of important minerals. They also contain natural gelatin which can help with digestion and is gentle on the tummy if you a feeling a little nauseous. I could go on and on about the nourishing health benefits of gelatin, if you would like to find out a little more check out this useful link here.
Fermented vegetables, drinks and dairy are also wonderful for you and your growing baby. Sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, fermented yoghurt, milk kefir and other traditional fermented foods will help with digestion and ensure your gut has plenty of good bacteria. This is very important, as your baby will get their gut flora directly from you! I could only manage a little natural yoghurt in the first trimester, although I found later on I was able to start adding fermented goodies to my diet. You can also take pro-biotics in oral form if you prefer.
I have been enjoying more grains during this pregnancy, being one of the food staples that I was able to enjoy in the earlier stages. Oats, barley, quinoa and rice are all delicious examples, and are simple to prepare. I like to soak or sprout the grains in water overnight before using to make them more easily digestible, particularly if they contain gluten. I have enjoyed oatmeal for dinner on a few occasions! Below are a few lovely recipes that are simple to prepare and can be easily adapted depending on what fruit and vegetables you have on hand.
In between meals I often snack on home made nut truffles, fresh fruit, wholesome baking or will enjoy a banana smoothie. Here's a few recipes below that you might enjoy.
I have fallen in to the habit of always having a drink bottle on hand. A woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy and her body has to supply extra fluid to ensure mama and baby are well hydrated. I often like to make a big jug of iced peppermint or roiboos tea with slices of lemon and chia seeds to sip on through out the day. We enjoy a mug of chamomile tea before bed. This flowering herb can help to sooth and relax the body. There are certain herbal teas that should be avoided during pregnancy, have a read here.