Eating healthily is one of the best ways to have a healthy pregnancy
Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is essential, and will benefit both you and your unborn baby. Eating a balanced diet is important as it will not only aid your baby’s development, but will also help to keep you in the best possible health.
Pregnancy is a super exciting time, but it can also be exhausting, so it is crucial to provide your body with the fuel that it needs to function at its best. Many women worry over what they should and should not eat during pregnancy. In general, the guidelines for a healthy eating plan in pregnancy are much the same as before you got pregnant. However, it is vital to familiarise yourself with the foods that you need to avoid during pregnancy. It is also important to maintain high standards of food hygiene, and to ensure that the food you eat is thoroughly cooked.
As part of your varied, balanced diet for pregnancy you should eat a combination of:
- Plenty of vitamin packed fruit and vegetables
- Starchy foods, for example; potatoes, wholegrain bread, and noodles
- Lean foods that are rich in protein such as eggs, fish, and pulses
- Calcium-rich dairy products
If you are stuck for recipe ideas and in need of some mealtime inspiration, we can help! Read on to discover 24 delicious, nutritious recipes that are packed with vitamins and minerals. These meal ideas will take you from breakfast time to dinner time with ease.
BREAKFAST MEAL IDEAS DURING PREGNANCY
These tasty breakfast ideas will help to get your day off to a great start, and will help you to eat a portion or two of your five a day before you have even left the house!
1. Apple Porridge
- 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 50g porridge oats
- 1 dessert apple, diced
- Cinnamon (1 pinch)
Pour the milk, porridge oats, and dessert apple into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Lower the temperature and simmer, stirring frequently.
Serve and then sprinkle the pinch of cinnamon over the porridge.
2. Banana Smoothie with Oats
- I ripe banana
- 100ml of semi-skimmed milk
- 2 tablespoons of oats
Peel and chop the ripe banana and add to a blender.
Pour the milk into the blender and spoon in the oats.
Blitz in the blender until the mixture looks smooth and frothy, and then serve.
3. Smashed Avocado and Tomato on Toast
- 1 ripe avocado
- 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Handful of basil leaves
- Toast of your choice
Start by scooping the avocado into a bowl and removing the stone.
Smash the avocado in the bowl using a fork.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
Scoop the avocado onto the toast and top with the tomatoes and basil.
For extra zing you could drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the smashed avocado, tomato and basil.
4. Berry Smoothie
- 150g of strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 125g of raspberries
- 75ml milk
- 150ml thick vanilla yoghurt
- 4 ice cubes
Place the berries, milk, yoghurt and ice cubes into a blender.
Blend until the mixture looks smooth and frothy before serving.
5. Crunchy Oat and Nut Yoghurt
- 90g rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 100g dried fruit of your choice (raisins, apricots, apples)
- 50g chopped pecans
- 50g chopped almonds (blanched)
Stir together oats, maple syrup and oil into a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Spread the oat mixture over a baking tray and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
Next, pour the nuts over the oat mixture, and bake for five minutes, stirring once until the nuts look crispy.
Transfer to a bowl and then stir in the dried fruit. Spoon over a yogurt of your choice.
6. Strawberry and Blueberry Overnight Oats
- 50g rolled porridge oats
- 100ml milk
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 50g strawberries (sliced) and blueberries
- Pinch of cinnamon
The night before you plan to eat the oats, you will need to mix them with 100ml of milk and cinnamon.
The following morning, add a little more milk to loosen the oats.
Before serving top the oats with yogurt and berries.
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LUNCH AND DINNER MEAL IDEAS DURING PREGNANCY
Whether you fancy a light lunch, or a filling dinner, these easy to make recipes will take the hassle out of preparing meals without compromising on taste.
7. Toast with Baked Tomatoes
- 8 tomatoes, cut in half
- 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
- 4 slices of wholemeal bread
Start by preheating the oven to 190°C or gas mark 5.
Place all of the tomatoes on a baking tray with the cut side facing upwards.
Sprinkle over the chives and place the tray in the oven.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and the parmesan cheese.
Bake for a further five minutes and toast the bread while you wait.
To serve, spoon the tomatoes over the toast.
8. Vegetable and Bacon Frittata
- 4 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 rashers of back bacon with fat removed
- 100g boiled potato, diced into cubes
- 125g mushroom, sliced
- 100g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Grill the bacon until it is browned on each side and move it to one side.
Fry the mushrooms over a medium heat for approximately five minutes.
Chop the cooked bacon.
Fry the potatoes and tomatoes over a medium heat for around five minutes.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and then add the cooked bacon and mushrooms.
Next add the potatoes and tomatoes to the egg mixture, season and stir.
Pour the mixture into the frying pan, and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes.
Place the pan under the grill for two minutes to ensure that the frittata is cooked through.
Tip the frittata onto a plate to serve.
9. Chicken Pesto Pasta
- 350g penne pasta
- 200g cooked roast chicken, shredded
- 300ml single cream
- 65g basil pesto
- 65g drained sundried tomatoes
Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water as per the instructions on the packet.
Drain the pasta and reserve 60ml of the water.
Put the pasta back into the pan and return to the heat.
Pour over the reserved liquid, tomatoes, pesto and cream.
Stir the ingredients together and cook until completely heated through, and then serve.
10. Fish Pie
- 400g white fish fillets
- 600g potatoes, peeled and halved
- 65g cheddar cheese
- 45ml semi-skimmed milk
- For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 350ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable spread
Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, or Gas Mark 6
Poach and flake the fish ensuring that you remove any bones.
Boil the potatoes and then mash them using the 45ml of milk.
Make a roux by heating the vegetable spread in a saucepan and then add the flour and stir to form a paste.
Stir continually and gradually add the remaining milk.
Add the poached, flaked fish to the sauce.
Next, pour the fish in sauce into an ovenproof dish, and top with the mashed potato.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top and place in the oven.
Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until the potatoes are golden.
11. Salmon with Noodles
- 4 salmon fillets
- 150g cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- 140g egg noodles
- 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
Start by lining a shallow ovenproof dish with foil and preheat the oven to 220°C, 200°F, or Gas Mark 7.
Position the salmon fillets skin-side down in the dish and then brush over the salmon with the hoisin sauce.
Place the halved cherry tomatoes in the ovenproof dish around the salmon fillets.
Bake in the oven until the salmon is cooked right through (approximately 15 minutes).
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and then add the egg noodles.
Stir the noodles to separate them and boil for four minutes.
Serve the noodles and top with the baked salmon and cherry tomatoes.
12. Fish, Potato and Pesto Bake
- 4 skinless and boneless cod fillets
- 640g Maris Piper potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 red peppers, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Start by preheating the oven to 200°C, 400°F, or Gas Mark 6.
Combine the potatoes, garlic, oil and red peppers and mix together before placing in a large roasting tin.
Cover the roasting tin with foil and then bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven and place the cod fillets on top of the vegetables and coat the fillets with pesto.
Return the tin to the oven, and bake, uncovered for approximately 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
13. Chilli Con Carne
- 250g beef mince
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 400g tins of red kidney beans
- 200g rice
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ to 1 tsp chilli flakes
Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.
Next, brown the mince until there is no raw meat left.
Add the chilli flakes and chopped tomatoes, stir and simmer.
Pour the drained kidney beans into the pan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the chilli has thickened.
While the chilli is simmering, cook the rice as per the instructions on the packet.
Serve the chilli on a bed of the cooked rice.
14. Chicken with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- 100g mushrooms, sliced
- 100ml crème fraiche
- 250ml chicken stock
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Parsley (optional)
Add oil to a saucepan, once heated add the chicken breasts and brown on both sides.
Remove the chicken from the pan.
Add the crushed garlic and fry, followed by the sliced mushrooms, fry until the mushrooms are golden brown.
Put the chicken back into the pan and pour in the stock. Bring the pan to the boil and then cover with a lid.
Simmer the pan for 15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.
Add the crème fraiche to the sauce, and parsley if desired and then serve.
15. Egg Fried Rice
- 150g rice
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2 bacon rashers, chopped
- 2 shallots, trimmed and sliced finely
- 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
- 75g of thawed peas
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the rice as per the instructions on the packet.
Add the oil to a wok and heat, and then add the whisked eggs.
Cook the eggs until they are set, remove from the wok, and then cut them into strips.
Add the bacon to the wok and cook until it is golden.
Next, add the rice, shallots and peas to the pan and cook for four minutes.
Add the egg to the pan, stir until heated through, and then serve.
16. Herb Omelette
- 3 fresh eggs
- 1 teaspoon butter
- ½ teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Herbs such as chives or basil
Whisk together the eggs and season if required.
Add the butter and oil into a frying pan.
Once the butter is hot and frothy, add the whisked eggs.
As the omelette begins to cook, move it with a spatula to allow any remaining raw egg to cook.
Once the omelette is cooked through, add your chosen herbs and serve.
17. Spaghetti Bolognese
- 400g lean beef mince
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 600g spaghetti
Heat up the oil in a large frying pan and then add the carrot and onion. Continue to cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the mince to the pan and cook until the mince is browned.
Pour the pasta sauce into the pan, cover and cook for approximately 15 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
While the sauce is thickening, cook the spaghetti as per the instructions on the packet.
Serve the spaghetti and top with the bolognese mixture.
18. Black Bean Beef Stir Fry
- 300g minute steak, cut into strips
- 2 handfuls of green beans
- Grated ginger
- 4 tablespoons black bean sauce
- Rice or noodles to serve
Add oil to a wok and heat, before adding ginger.
Next, add the steak and cook until the beef starts to brown.
Add the green beans to the wok and cook for a further minute.
Pour the black bean sauce into the pan and stir to ensure that all ingredients are covered by the sauce.
Cook for a further few minutes until the steak is cooked through and then serve with your choice of rice or noodles.
19. Vegetable Soup
- 600ml milk
- 400ml reduced salt vegetable or chicken stock
- 200g sweet potato, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon corn flour
Pour the stock into a large saucepan and then add the vegetables.
Bring the pan to the boil and cook until the vegetables are tender (approximately 25 minutes).
Blend together the corn flour with 3 tablespoons of the milk and mix them until they form a smooth paste.
Add the remaining milk to the saucepan containing the vegetables and stock, followed by the corn flour paste.
Stir the pan continuously to combine all the ingredients and continue to heat to allow the soup to thicken.
Season to taste before serving.
20. Tasty Chicken Salad
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into chunks
- ½ cucumber, cut into chunks
- 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, cut into chunks
- 1 chopped romaine lettuce
Toss together the cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and lettuce in large bowl.
Stir in the cooked chicken breast chunks.
Drizzle over a pregnancy-friendly salad dressing, such as a vinaigrette and serve.
21. Mediterranean Style Pasta with Beef
- 225g of lean beef, cut into strips
- 1 225g can chopped tomatoes
- 200g penne or fusilli pasta
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, chopped
- 1 courgette, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
Fry the beef and garlic together in a frying pan for five minutes, or until the beef has browned.
Add the peppers and courgette to the pan and stir fry for two minutes.
Pour the chopped tomatoes into the pan and stir into the meat and vegetable mix.
Simmer the ingredients in the pan for five minutes.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
Drain the pasta and pour the beef and vegetables over and mix before serving.
22. Mediterranean Tray Bake
- 800g new potatoes
- 50g pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon basil pesto
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 courgette, sliced
- 1 aubergine sliced
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and chopped
Start by preheating the oven to 200°C, 400°F, or Gas Mark 6.
Place the potatoes, vegetables and pine nuts into a large oven dish.
Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes, vegetables, and pine nuts.
Put the tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the tray from oven and stir in the pesto, and return the tray to the oven for a further five minutes before serving.
23. Beef Stew and Dumplings
- 280g diced beef
- 450ml reduced salt vegetable stock
- 2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
- 100g self-raising flour
- 50g butter
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Add the vegetable oil to a large saucepan and heat it.
Add the beef to the saucepan and cook until browned.
Add the stock to the pan along with the carrots and onions.
Bring the pan to the boil and then reduce the heat and cover.
Cook for 1 ½ hours on a low heat, check the pan frequently to ensure that there is liquid in the pan (you can add a small amount of water to the pan if needed).
While the stew cooks in the saucepan, you can begin making the dumplings.
To make the dumplings take the flour and the butter and begin to rub them together to create crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the crumbs to create a dough.
Knead the dough lightly and then shape into balls.
The dumplings are then ready to add to the stew. Place the dumplings on top of the stew in the pan and then continue cooking for around 30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through.
24. Savoury Rice
- 150g long grain rice (easy cook rice)
- 300ml reduced salt chicken stock
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 100g baby sweetcorn, sliced
- 100g mushrooms, peeled and sliced
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Begin by heating the vegetable oil in a saucepan and then fry the onions for two minutes.
Next, add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes.
Stir the rice into the pan followed by the stock, the curry powder, and the sweetcorn.
Bring the pan to the boil and then turn the heat down to allow the pan to simmer.
Continue to simmer for 20 minutes, if needed, you can add some extra water to the pan. Cook until the rice is completely cooked, and then serve immediately.