With the crisp winter chill truly upon us, it’s more important than ever to eat your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables. Especially when pregnant. Your body suppresses your immune system during pregnancy to make sure baby isn’t rejected as something foreign, making you more susceptible to colds and flu. So it’s vital to start strengthening your defences for both you and baby!
While the colder weather might make you crave sugary delights and comfort foods, it’s also the perfect time of year to get creative with warming soups and stews. Ideal for a hearty lunch or cosy evening supper, we’ve put together our top five pregnancy superfoods to make your stew or soup super! With plenty of additional and essential nutrients needed during pregnancy.
Top 5 Pregnancy Superfoods
- Lean Meat. Lean meat is a great source of protein, including beef, pork and chicken. Additionally, beef and pork contain high levels of iron, choline and B vitamins, all of which are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy. Especially iron – did you know the amount of blood in your body doubles when pregnant? Try a classic chicken noodle soup or slow cooker beef stew.
- Sweet Potatoes. Have you tried swapping your normal spuds for a sweet potato? You can use them in all the same ways – on top of a tasty cottage pie, baked, wedges – the choices are endless! And they’re a vegetable-based source of beta-carotene, which converts into Vitamin A to support your baby’s growth and development.
- Leafy Greens. Fibre – we all need it! Dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach are an amazing source of fibre, helping to ease the very common pregnancy-problem of constipation. They also contain a load of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, folate and antioxidants, helping keep your immune system and digestion happy!
- Legumes. Legume is a fancy name for a specific group of fruit and veg, with thousands of different types available. It includes lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas to name a few. Legumes are a plant-based source of protein – ideal if you’re vegetarian or vegan. They’re ideal for adding into soups and stews to give a bit of heartiness, helping keep you fuller for longer! Plus they’re another source of fibre and folate.
- Quinoa. Another good one for veggies – you’ve probably heard of quinoa being added to everything and anything in the past couple of years. It’s an easy, quick-to-cook source of protein and fibre, with 8g of protein per serving (mamas-to-be need 71g a day!). It’s another great addition to soups to make them more satisfying and wholesome.