Everything you need to know about pregnancy nutrition

Whether you’re planning a pregnancy or already pregnant, what you eat can make a big difference to the health of you and your baby. But with so many guidelines, misinformation and anecdotal stories buried deep in the internet (or even simply passed on from a good-intentioned friend), it can be hard to know exactly what to eat (or not to eat) when you’ve got a bun in the oven. We’ve put together our top questions from clients we work with to highlight vital nutrition basics for pregnancy.

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Should I eat more food when I’m pregnant?

Many people think that being pregnant means you’re eating for two, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. You see, in the first trimester, you don’t actually need any extra energy. It bumps up a little in the second trimester, to around 1400 extra kilojoules per day, and in the third, that quota is increased to 1900 extra kilojoules per day. In reality, that’s only the equivalent of an extra sandwich.

How do I meet these increased energy requirements but also optimise my nutrition to support a healthy baby and womb?

As you can see below some food serves you need to eat more of. We can help identify how many serves you are currently eating and how to practically achieve what you need!

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What are the top nutrients essential to growing and sustaining a new life?

1.     Folate – plays a crucial role in development and is protective against neural tube defects – so much so, that women who are planning a bub are recommended to take a supplement.

2.     Iodine – key for development. 

3.     Iron – important for your baby’s blood stores. 

4.     Zinc – key for the development of our DNA. 

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The weighty debate: How much weight should I gain before conception?

As a guide, a woman with a healthy BMI before falling pregnant should gain between 11.5 and 16kg by the end of pregnancy. It’s different again if you are not at a healthy BMI! Of course, this is very individualised, so it’s important to seek individualised advice. Book in with one of our supportive and knowledgeable dietitians here

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What about food safety?

No soft cheese? What!? We empathise. There are many other foods too that are recommended to be avoided to be safe. But why? This is due to risk of contamination from bacteria and possible infection which can be harmful to the baby. Finding healthy and tasty substitutes can be tricky but not impossible. For example: Even though you are saying goodbye to camembert and brie for a while doesn't mean you have to avoid tasty cheese on some grainy crackers as a snack.

And there you have it! Common questions answered. Again, if you’re planning a pregnancy (or are already pregnant) – why not book in to see one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians for up to date, evidenced based and individualised advice. 

Spiced Banana Oat Loaf

Serves 12

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Ingredients for Loaf: 

3 ripe bananas

2 eggs 

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup rolled oats

2 cups wholemeal flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup honey 

 

Ingredients for Topping: 

1/2 cup walnuts

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive OIl

1/4 cup coconut sugar 

 

Method: 

1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced

2. Line a rectangular loaf tin with baking paper

3. Blend the bananas for 1 minute until soft with small chunks

4. Add in the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend for another 1 minute until smooth. Pour mix into the baking tin.

5. Add the topping ingredients into a clean blender and mix leaving chunky. Use your hands to sprinkle the topping along the cake before putting in the oven.

6. Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Grease and line a muffin pan with grease proof paper.

7. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 15-30minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let stand for ~10 minutes before eating.

 

This recipe has been adapted from Sports Dietitians Australia

 

 

Ash's Super Simple Butternut Pumpkin Dahl with Mango Chutney & Asparagus

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I developed this one the other week whilst things were starting to get a little cold in Sydney! Its quick and SUPER tasty. Enjoy enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 4-5)

  • 2xpackets of chefs selection: Simple Dahl (Orange Packet)
  • 1/2 butternut pumpkin - Chopped
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes - Halved
  • 2 cups brown long grain rice (I highly recommend the Riviana Brand)
  • 2xBunches of asparagus 
  • Mango Chutney
  • Greek yoghurt (Small tub)

Method:

1. Cook the Simple Dahl as per instructions (30 mins simmer)

2. Steam the pumpkin in the microwave with a tiny bit of water for 5 mins

3. At 20 mins add in the butternut pumpkin and tomato to the dahl mix

4. Cook the rice for 15 minutes (2 cup of rice & 4.5/5 cups water) and then take take off the boil to steam **I usually put in after the Dahl has cooked for 15 mins**

5. Steam some asparagus just before the dahl and rice are ready to serve

6. Serve dahl over rice and top with mango chutney and yoghurt, place some asparagus sprigs on the side

7. Devour!!

Nutrition:

- Low GI and a good source of fibre: This fills you up and aids digestion!

- Source of plant protein: Lentils, like asparagus are also a prebiotic - perfect for winter immunity

- Butternut pumpkin is high in vitamin A, which assists in maintaining cell integrity

- Tomatoes are high in vitamin C which ensure the iron absorption from the lentils

- Dollop of yoghurt provides some extra calcium to your day

Pretty amazing huh!

Recipe: Home made baked beans

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Legumes: Amazingly high in fibre and pre-biotics for gut health. Here is how to make this warming dish at home rather than buying it in the supermarket.

Makes: 3.5 cups

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

·      1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

·      1 brown onion, finely diced

·      1 garlic clove, crushed

·      1x 200g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

·      1x 400g tin crushed tomatoes

·      1x 400g tin bean mix, drained and rinsed

·      1 zucchini, grated

·      1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs

·      Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Method

1.     Heat olive oil over a medium-high heat.

2.     Sauté onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes or until softened.

3.     Add cherry tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, bean mix, zucchini, mixed herbs and pepper and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition

1/2 cup provides roughly:

·      460 kJ (110 cal), 4.5g protein, 3.3g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 13.1g carbs, 4.2g fibre

Enjoy 1 cup with some grainy toast and a little sprinkle of cheddar cheese for breakfast :)

Sweet Asparagus and Tomato Frittata

Here is one of my favourite quick dishes which can be thrown together in a few minutes with whats left in the fridge and leave you with only one pan to clean! 

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

- 500g Sweet potato (grated)

- 1 medium onion diced

- 2 bunches Asparagus

- 250g Cherry tomatoes

- 6 eggs

- 1/3 cup light milk

- ½ cup cottage cheese

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 1 avocado chopped

- Salad to serve

Method:

Step 1: Heat a large (20cm) non-stick fry pan over a medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add onion, asparagus and grated sweet potato cooking for a further 3 minutes.


Step 2: Whisk together the eggs, milk and cottage cheese and pour over the pan to cover the vegetables. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Step 3: Place the pan under a hot grill to cook until the top is golden. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Top with avocado and serve with a side of salad.

 

Enjoy!

 

Three tops tips for the time poor corporate: Increasing vegetable intake to boost health, longevity and work performance

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Back to back intense meetings, extended work hours, skipping meals whilst adding copious amounts of caffeine – sound familiar? What if nutrition could be quick, tasty and practical to make everything easier? Well it CAN and not only will this reduce your risk of chronic health disease such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but also help improve body function and increase energy.

The stats: Lettuce tell you

Did you know that in 2014-15 that only 7% of Australian adults met the guidelines for recommended intake vegetables?

Similarly, in a recent survey conducted in a leading Australian bank by our business Body Fusion, 85.5% of employees were not meeting their recommended serving.

Fact: Healthy employees have been found to be three times as productive than unhealthy employees!

So what are these “guidelines” ?

  Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

Taken from the Australian Healthy Food Guide Portion Sizing Poster

The implications: Lettuce tell you more

 Not meeting your brightly coloured intake of rainbow veggies means:

·      Less fibre, negatively influencing digestion and increasing risk of colon cancer

·      Decreased satiety = hungry worker = impacted mood and interaction with team plus reduced  ability to concentrate

·      Insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, which support body function. For example vegetables are an excellent source of potassium which aids in electrolyte balance, regulation of blood pressure and supports nerve and muscle function (including the heart!)

·      Compromised immunity, which influences energy, enjoyment of work and sick days needed

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Help me solve this creatively and simply: Now!

1.    Be organised

This means from the get go on a Monday and yes a shop is crucial over the weekend! We suggest bringing healthy snacks to work that include vegetables: veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, red capsicum) and hummus, savoury muffins or a small snap lock bag of cherry tomatoes.

2.    ALWAYS make sure there are vegetables in your lunch

What’s the easiest way to do this? Take food from home that has been cooked in advance. A huge vegetable frittata, vegetable lasagna or spinach and ricotta pie at home will make multiple serves. Salads are also always a winner!

Like to purchase on the run? Alternatively look to add veggies to your lunch in other quick ways. How about you match a veggie-based juice (carrot, celery, beetroot, ginger and apple) with your grainy ham and cheese toastie?

3.    Use tools and cues as reminders to eat

When things get busy, eating goes to the end of the priority list. Putting your snacks or lunch near your keyboard, setting a phone alarm or having another healthy buddy in the office to keep accountable will all work.

Another option is the new amazing App VegEze app by Hort Innovation https://horticulture.com.au/ which gives your hot tips and reminders to encourage you to get to your goal of 5 serves in the day.

So there you have it: Get started today by doing a big healthy grocery shop or better yet check in with a Dietitian to help guide you on your own personalised journey!

Ash, Vegetable and life enthusiast

Tahini Chicken Bowl

As summer is nearing an end, the weather doesn't show any signs of cooling down. This heat calls for a refreshing dish full of vibrant colour and flavour. I love this dish as it is super simple and a great way to use up any excess vegetables sitting in the fridge. 

 Image Credit: Australian healthy food guide

Image Credit: Australian healthy food guide

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken breast fillets
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cup brown rice (cooked)
  • 150g snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 2 beetroot grated
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 120g mixed leaves

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil

Method:

Step 1 Combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a glass jar and mix. Use half to cover the chicken and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Save the other half and mix with 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 teaspoons of hot water, mix and set aside for later.  

Step 2 Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and cook for 3–4 minutes each side, or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover with a sheet of foil and set aside for 2–3 minutes. Thickly slice.

Step 3 Blanch the snow peas for 30 seconds; refresh under cold running water. Drain well.

Step 4 To serve, divide the brown rice, snow peas, beetroot, carrot, salad leaves and chicken between 4 bowls; then drizzle each with the reserved tahini dressing.

Asian Barley Salad

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Discovered this one from my amazing and talented cousin Ben at Christmas time! We loved it so much that leftovers didn't even last long. An excellent salad that also provides some sustaining low GI carbohydrates to keep your energy optimal. It also keeps really well!

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 cup pearl barley (you can buy it in the soup section of the supermarket
  • 6 spring onions - chopped
  • 1 red capsicum - chopped
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 100g roasted cashews
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 1 handful chopped parsley

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2.5 cm ginger - grated
  • 1 clove garlic - chopped finely

Method

  1. Soak pearl barley overnight for 6-8 hours
  2. Bring to the boil with 3 cups of water and then leave to simmer for ~25 mins. Make sure all water has evaporated. Wait to cool
  3. Add all salad ingredients with pearl barley in a bowl
  4. Add all dressing ingredients to a jar and shake well
  5. Add dressing to salad 
  6. Devour with you choice of protein ie. honey/soy/ginger/garlic/sesame marinated chicken

Cooking is a great way to facilitate a healthy relationship with food and transform your connection into a positive experience - get creating!!

Festive Freekeh Salad

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Ingredients

1 bunch coriander, chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 small red onion, diced

1 cup freekeh (Use Quinoa for a Gluten Free alternative)

2 cups cooked brown lentils

¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup currants

1 lemon, juiced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive

1 pomegranate, deseeded, to serve

Yogurt Dressing:

1 cup natural Greek yoghurt

1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground

2 tbsp lemon juice

 

Method

1.     Bring 1 cup of freekeh to the boil with 3 cups of water, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

2.     Toast pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and pine nuts in a pan on a medium heat until golden.

3.     Place in a mixing bowl, coriander, parsley, mint, cooked freekeh, lentils, current and toasted nuts and seeds and mix well.

4.     Mix in a small bowl yogurt, ground cumin seeds and lemon juice until combined.

5.     Place salad into a serving dish and top with yogurt dressing and pomegranate seeds.

6.     Enjoy!

Five Top Tips for a Healthy Summer: Hello Beach!

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Time to embrace the sunshine and glow from the inside out! Here are our teams top tips to keep you feeling energised, body positive and celebrating summer with delicious and nutritious food.

1. Dive into some summer fruits:

Summer is a great way to enjoy a variety of fresh seasonal fruits. It’s a good idea to change things up at this time of year because it gives your body a different composition of vitamins and minerals. Eating in season fruits usually means they are fresher and higher in their nutrients too. Before you think it, fruit is healthy for us and not ‘too high in sugar’. Fruit contains natural sugars and fibre, which the body processes pretty slowly.  

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What are the summer fruits available here in Australia?

Below are what constitutes one serve

1 x Medium Fruit:

•    Banana, Mango or Orange

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2 x Small Fruits:

•    Apricots, plums, peaches or nectarines

1 cup of:

•    Berries, papaya and paw paw, lychees, pineapple, rambutans, cherries, grapes, pineapple

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OR

•    Roughly 6 x passionfruit or limes

  Ways to enjoy fruit in a creative way:

•    Fruit kebab sticks dipped in yoghurt

•    Frozen: Grapes and bananas particularly!

•    In smoothies: With milk, yoghurt, ice and honey

•    In your salad: mango with spinach & avocado OR blueberries with kale & almonds

•    Stewed or grilled with home made muesli or with overnight oats for breakfast

2. Eat well balanced tasty salads

Crisp, cold salads are a great way to get a good couple of serves of crunchy vegetables in your day! If you want to glow from the inside then eating a rainbow of colourful veggies will help you do that by delivering antioxidant nutrients like Vitamin E and C, helpful for clear skin, immunity and shiny hair and nails. We aim for half of each main meal to be veggie based (approx. 1-2 cups) and then using some sneaky vegetables at breakfast or on dip plates when entertaining.

Following this guide means you’re able to get your recommended 5 serves of veggies per day!  

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One serve = ½ cup of cooked veggies or 1 cup of salad vegetables Our Favourite Salads:

•    Kat enjoys adding leftover roasted vegetables to salad leaves, her current favourite is: Baby spinach, roasted turmeric cauliflower, grilled red capsicum & eggplant, chickpeas, tahini and lime dressing

•    Michelle’s loves using Mediterranean flavours like rocket, pear, walnut, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese with balsamic dressing & olive oil.

•    Ash is all about the rainbow often using shredded purple cabbage, cucumber, kale, red and yellow capsicum, kale (de-stemmed and rubbed with lemon) + couscous or quinoa with a protein (tofu/legumes/oily fish/chicken or lean cooked beef) finished with a handful of roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds and fresh lemon/sesame oil.

You can find Ash's recipe here:

http://bodyfusion.com.au/blogbodyfusiondietitiansydney/2017/1/7/filling-and-delicious-summer-rainbow-salad

3. Eat well whilst out and about OR pre plan your snacks and meals

If we aren’t a little focussed or organised there are high chances that hot chips on the beach or a greasy kebab could end up miraculously in our hands! We like to check in and ask ourselves if I eat this, how will my body feel at the end? Take a moment to think and make a conscious choice about what you want to order.  

We always suggest to our clients that they go prepared for their day with smart snacks – we do the same! Remember if its hot and your don’t have a cooler bag most likely it will have to be non perishable items.

Some snack suggestions are things like nuts, chickpea snacks, a piece of fruit, healthy oat based muesli bar (sugars <10g/100g and fibre of 3g/bar) or popcorn. 

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If you do end up out for longer than planned and are with a group/family it’s easy to get drawn into group mentality of having ‘all of nothing’. Life is all about enjoyment, but instead of having none and feeling restricted or tossing in the towel and thinking ‘stuff it’, choose the middle road. What does this mean? How about 1 scoop of delicious ice cream – not two? ;)

To be honest we have so many healthy options available now, it may just mean you need to do your homework before you leave the house! Google has it covered.

We often spend a lot of time in Manly & Cronulla. Nearby there are MANY healthy salad shops, opportunity for fresh poke bowls, sushi/sashimi, fresh Smoothies, take away grilled fish and salad or a Mexican burrito bowl. Just take a moment to LOOK.

4. Stay hydrated

Did you know cold water is absorbed more effectively than room temperature. How about freezing half your drink bottle before you head out?

Remember sugary drinks will only take your blood sugars on a rollercoaster of ups and downs. Bored of water? How about you try some kombucha? Not too high in energy and perfect for colonising healthy gut bacteria. Otherwise some nice bubbly soda or mineral water does the trick too.

Need a coffee hit? Iced coffees can be loaded with ice cream and sugar, instead ask for a cold brew with a dash of milk.

5. Enjoy being active outdoors

Sunshine offers the perfect excuse to celebrate outdoor activities or moving incidentally. Riding a bike is a great way to get around and explore. If you live near the water – even better! How about some ocean swimming, learn to surf, snorkelling or a beach run at early light or sunset?

Hoping you all have a wonderful summer! Ash, Kat and Michelle ☺