Tag Archives: food

Eating Well in Pregnancy

Eating Well in Pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an important time to be focusing on your health and on eating well so both mum and baby get all they need to grow.

However pre-pregnancy is as important, you want your body to be in tip top form and able to provide the baby with all it needs, then continue eating well into pregnancy and throughout breastfeeding.

 

Top tips:

  • Reduce or cut out alcohol pre-pregnancy.
  • Super sizing your fruit and veggies, aim for more than 5 portions a day.
  • Take 400 µg of folic acid every day pre-pregnancy and for the first 12 week of pregnancy.
  • Wash all fruit, veggies and salads to remove any traces of soil which could contain toxoplasma.
  • Go wholegrain as often as possible with bread, pasta, rice and other starchy foods.
  • Up your iron stores by eating red meat, green leafy veggies, fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, tofu, pulses and beans regularly.
  • Eat regular meals and keep snacks healthy.

The big pregnancy myth is that you need to eat enough for 2. Unfortunately this isn’t true! The body becomes more efficient at using the food you give it. So you don’t need to eat any extra until the second and third trimester when you may need 2-300 kcals extra a day.

 

There are several foods that you need to stay away from when pregnant:

  • Mould ripened cheese (brie, camembert, goats cheese that has a hard rind).
  • Soft blue cheese (Danish blue, gorgonzola, roquefort).

Cheese made with mould can contain listeria, listeriosis can cause miscarriage and increase the risk of still birth.

  • Eggs should be well cooked, raw and undercooked eggs can cause salmonella poisoning. Avoid home made mayonnaise as well.
  • Pate can also contain listeria.
  • Raw and undercooked meat.
  • Liver, liver pate, liver sausage and other liver products, these contain high levels of vitamin A which can cause birth defects.
  • Alcohol should be avoided due to fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • Caffeine should be limited to no more than 200mg per day (2 mugs of tea or instant coffee, 1 mug filter coffee). Watch out for caffeine in energy drinks, chocolate, hot chocolate and cola drinks.
  • Sword Fish, shark and marlin should be avoided due to the levels of mercury they can contain, oily fish should be limited to 2 portions a week due to the levels of PCB’s and dioxins (pollutants) in them.
  • Shellfish should only be eaten when properly cooked as these can also cause food poisoning.

 

 

Spicy Bean Burger Heaven

I love bean burgers. They are one of those foods that want me make to turn vegetarian. But they just aren’t one of those things that I make very often. Till now.

Tonight was one of those evenings where I hadn’t got round to planning dinner, so I turned to the fridge for inspiration…. the bowl of kidney beans was calling my name. We also had  carrot and courgette’s eyeing me. Bingo.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting these to work well as I literally threw them together on a whim, but in my experience that’s often when my best recipes occur. In my opinion this is one of them.

A great recipe for Family Meals, for weaning, it’s vegetarian, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free….need I say more?! Oh, hold on… ITS TASTY!

Ingredients:

1 tin kidney beans

2 carrots

1 courgette

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp Curry powder (I used a Sri-Lanka blend, use your favourite mix)

1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs or a pinch of dried

seasoning

Method:

  • I am a complete cheat. I used my food processor. To do this – place the beans, carrot, courgette, onions, garlic in the food processor and provess until finely chopped.
  • If you don’t have a food processor then grate the carrot and courgette, finely chop the beans, onion and garlic.
Dietitian UK: Bean Burger Mix
Dietitian UK: Bean Burger Mix
  • Shape the mix into large patties, pressing the mixture firmly together. I made 5 patties in total.
  • Place on a greased baking tray, pop into the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. (You could make ahead to this stage and cook later or freeze them at this stage).
Dietitian UK: Bean Burger's Firming Up
Dietitian UK: Bean Burger’s Firming Up
  • Cook in a large pan or on a griddle, turning part way through cooking.
  • I served ours with salad and potato wedges.
Dietitian UK: Homemade Bean Burgers and Salad
Dietitian UK: Homemade Bean Burgers and Salad
Seriously yummy.

 

The Joys of Toddler Eating.

Yesterday I was sat having lunch with my toddler, Kezia – hummous and rice cakes with avocado and tomato. All foods that I know she likes but avocado is one that we haven’t eaten in a while.

She tasted a slice of it, pulled a hilarious face, removed it from her mouth, and in true toddler love then handed it to me. You’ve got to love the sharing of sucked on, dribbled on, slightly chewed food. The next slice met with a similar facial expression and quickly ended up on the floor. Humph, cue not impressed mummy face.

With my mummy head I was thinking “Oh I guess she has gone off avocado” but then my dietitian head thought “I wonder if she just doesn’t like the way I’ve given it to her”. Nope, I’m not on medication for these voices in my head…yet 😉

So I mushed the avocado a little and spread it onto the rice cake, suddenly it was out of my hand and into small girls mouth, being eaten and enjoyed. No more avocado on the floor and no more sharing with mummy.

Dietitian UK: The suspect Avocardo
Dietitian UK: The suspect Avocado

Why am I sharing this? I guess I wonder how many other mummies sometimes assume their little ones just don’t like a food when actually they just:

1. Don’t fancy it at that particular moment.

2. Aren’t keen on it in that form but may like it if it is given to them differently.

3. Teething or out of sorts.

Remember it takes about 10 attempts of a food for a toddler to know if they like it or not, so keep trying, keep being creative and keep smiling when that food ends up on the floor or spat out.

Nutrition in the Under 5’s: an overview.

 

Here’s an overview of nutrition in the Under 5’s, over the next few weeks I shall be delving in and looking at nutrients in more details including Iron and Vitamin D, so follow my blog or keep and eye on twitter and facebook for more!

 

Children are not mini adults. Not only do they need good nutrition to stay healthy and well but unlike adults, they are growing and developing too so have different requirements.

 

By 12 months children should be joining in family meals, this doesn’t mean cooking two meals but some modifications like cutting out salt in cooking. Meals should be based on the Eat Well Plate with 1/3 of the plate being starchy foods, 1/3 veggies, some protein foods and some dairy.

 

 

Variety – no one food contains all the nutrients children need so therefore they need to eat range of different foods. Try to plan ahead for the week so a variety of starchy foods and protein foods plus fruit and veggies are eaten. This is good for the whole family.

 

Portions – The amount of food a child needs varies with age, body size and physical activity. Appetite can vary from day to day, let them guide you. Generally if your child is growing and developing normally  and happy then they are ok! A healthy meal pattern is small regular meals with one or two healthy snacks and drinks in between.

 

Protein – needed for growth, repair and renewal. Found in meat, fish, eggs, milk, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Babies and children have higher requirements as they are busy creating lots of new cells as they grow. Protein is made up of amino acids and not every food contains all amino acids so eating a variety is key to getting them all.

 

Carbohydrates – provides energy and fibre. Found in cereals, potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, fruit, vegetables, lactose in milk. Base meals on these foods. Children have small stomachs so do not give too much fibre, gradually build this up as they grow to keep their digestive system healthy and help prevent constipation. There is a balance between fibre and fluid that keeps the digestive system happy. So if constipation is an issue reduce fibre slightly and check how much your child is drinking.

 

Fat– needed for energy for children as they grow, also for storing vitamins A,D,E and K and for providing essential fatty acids. It’s important to choose unsaturated fats (good fats) found in vegetable oils like olive, rapeseed, sunflower, seeds, nuts and oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel). Saturated fat and trans fats (bad fats) are found in cakes, pies, pastries, biscuits, fatty meat and meat products, butter, cream, whole milk, coconut and palm oil. Limit these bad fats and swap for ‘good’ fats. Eat oily fish once a week.

 

Salt– Babies and children only need a very small amount of salt in their diet. Salt is ‘hidden’ in many ready-made foods, such as bread, baked beans, and even biscuits; it can be easy to have too much. Do not add salt to the foods that you give to your baby because their kidneys cannot cope with it. Avoid giving your baby ready-made foods that are not made specifically for babies, such as breakfast cereals, because they can also be high in salt. Check food labels. The salt content is usually given as figures for sodium. To convert sodium to salt multiply by 2.5. Food that contains 0.6g of sodium, or more, in a 100g is a lot, and foods with 0.1g, or less, in a 100g, is a little.

 

Fruit and vegetables – Aim for at least 5 a day. Have a variety (eat a rainbow – children find this fun to do). Peel and chop so easy to eat and readily available e.g. carrot sticks. Keep the fruit bowl full and biscuit tin empty! Portion size is roughly what would fit into the palm of their hand. Fruit on cereal+ fruit snack + veg at lunch or in lunch box + veg with evening meal + fruit for dessert = 5 a day

Get planning and get healthy 🙂


 

A little bit of morning crumpet, wheat/gluten free of course.

Crumpets are a things of greatness, why should you miss out if gluten/wheat free? I love pottering in the kitchen, trying new things and I also love warm baked goods that are more savoury than sweet…being wheat free crumpets are the kind of foods I’ve missed. The shop bought versions just don’t hit the spot and are pretty expensive, so whilst pregnant and craving yummy things I perfected this recipe. It’s an adaptation of one in the Health Gluten-Free Eating cook book by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney, so credit should also go to them as all I’ve done is play around to make it suit me!

Crumpets may sound like a tricky thing to make and they probably are if you are making them to look like the shop bought versions. Mine look nothing like those but they taste very crumpet like and are just so satisfying to make. So if you like baking give them a go:

  • 150g rice flour
  • 75g tapioca flour or cornmeal
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml milk
  • water
Mix the flours, xanthum gum, bicarb and cream of tartar together. Make a well and add oil plus eggs. Add the milk a little at a time and mix swiftly with a wooden spoon to start and then a whisk – a good arm building muscle exercise 🙂 Try to get air into the batter. If it still looks quite thick add a splash of water. If should be like cake mixture. Drop tablespoons onto a non stick pan or a flat griddle pan and cook until there are bubbles appearing. I find a lower heat is better and they take longer than a thick pancake would. Flip over and cook the other side. 
Crumpets cooking on the griddle

These are best eaten warm, I find quite a few of these seem to disappear as soon as they are cooked….who knows where they go?! They also freeze really well and can be popped in the toaster to defrost and warm. Amazingly these turn out with a proper crumpet texture which you may be able to see in this photo (if you can’t then you will just have to believe me!).

Best served with a bit of jam and a good cuppa 🙂 Alternatively the baby had hers with melted cheese and some cooked mushrooms which went down very well. Go be inspired and try something new in the kitchen this weekend.

The Art of lazy cooking…by the slow cooker.

I love my slow cooker. Fact. It’s one of my fav kitchen gadgets, along with my food processor, bread machine and the kettle. Shows I’m pretty lazy doesn’t it! I’d love to have the time to mix everything by hand, make bread by hand and boil water in a pretty singing kettle on the hob, but in my whirlwind life it just isn’t going to happen. So I cheat…pretty much all the time.

Today I fancied cooking a heathy stew full of beans, lentils, veggies and chicken. Now I’m looking after an active baby, running pilates classes, teaching step aerobics and writing a diet sheet today, not much time to cook. So my solution was to get out the slow cooker.

This is what we do…raid the cupboards and veggie rack, chop things nice and chunky, throw it all in and switch it on 🙂 Today we have chicken thighs, chunky bacon bits, carrots, squash and mixed beans and pulses all with some chopped tomatoes, fennel, mustard seeds and balsamic vinegar plus a star anise. Towards the end of cooking I’ll add a handful of fresh herbs and serve with mashed potatoes as its potato season in our house.

Give it a go, the house will smell lovely, the food will taste great and it’s all healthy stuff.

Local Produce, Give it a Go.

Local produce has always been around, local farmers have always been growing and producing, but somehow over the years we stopped buying it. The excitement of trying new “foreign” foods, the emergence of supermarkets containing almost every food you could ever want and prices have drastically changed the way we shop. Small shops are dwindling away and farmers have had to change the ways they do business. Take a look in your kitchen, where did you shop this week? Where did your fruit come from? Who looked after your chicken and what type of life did it have? Is anything local?!

I absolutely love Farm Shops (my husband will tell you that), whenever we are driving around and I see one a cry comes out of my mouth “Farm shop, Farm shop” and often my lovely, obliging husband will pull over and let me browse, smell, pick up foods and drool over yummy things. Living in Hampshire there are many Farm Shops off the beaten track, but also my local butcher sells local meat, a well known supermarket shop nearby had local strawberries in last week and some of our farm shops deliver weekly, plus our local chickens live at the end of my garden 😉 If you look around your area I bet you can find a way to get some local food. Look out for farmers markets and food shows too.

Local produce is any food that has been grown, raised, cooked, baked or produced within your locality.

So what are the benefits of eating local produce?

Here’s my thoughts, but please do add to them by commenting below…

1. Usually local produce has been well looked after – animal will have had space to roam, have been fed on healthy foodstuff and provide quality, tasty meat. Fruit and veggies will be grown as naturally as possible.

2. Buying locally is eco-friendly, less transport costs, you can even go and pick it up from the farm or have it delivered direct to you from the field.

3. Food is fresher, so tastier. The fresher your fruit and veggies the better they are nutritionally.

4. You are supporting your local farmers, so supporting your community and economy. Rather than supporting the pockets of your local supermarket 😉

5. Often farm shops and farmers markets have a great range of different foods – I’ve recently had watercress sausages, locally made biltong and some amazing apricot liqueur.

6. Food festivals and markets give you a chance to try before you buy and get ideas on recipes and cooking from the producers.

7. Buying what is in season can be cheaper. Stock up when things are in season, cook and freeze for later on or wrap and store veggies if they are suitable.

So how about taking up the challenge…try shopping locally for even some of your shop this month.