Last week we launched our three part nutritional series with Rob Hobson @robhobsonnutritionist. Rob is a registered Nutritionist and co-author of The Detox Kitchen Bible. Throughout the series Rob will share his top tips to help keep you well-nourished and healthy during pregnancy.
As Rob says “Pregnancy doesn’t mean embarking on a special diet, but it does mark a good time to think a little more about what you’re fueling your body with. Adequate nutrition during pregnancy is not only important for your baby’s growth and development but will also help to support your own health needs and keep you feeling and functioning at your best.”
This week’s topic: What can I do to help with iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is not uncommon both during and after pregnancy. This nutrient is required to make healthy red blood cells and more so in pregnant women who need to increase their blood volume. The later stages of pregnancy put a greater demand on women for iron and levels can drop, which in some cases can result in symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue. Make sure you eat plenty of iron rich foods during pregnancy which include meat, oily fish, beans, pulses, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, dried spices and dried fruits.
If your iron levels are really low, then you may be prescribed an iron supplement. This is a bit of trial and error as some more than others can cause constipation so try and find a brand that works best for you and always consult a doctor to ensure you are taking the right amount of iron for your needs.
My recipe choice this week: Indian spiced chickpea, cauliflower and mango salad
This recipe is a good example of a balanced healthy lunch or evening meal and contains many of the nutrients essential for women during pregnancy. This dish is rich in folate and iron from the chickpeas, spinach and dried spices as well as being a good source of protein to promote satiety and support even energy levels during the day. To save yourself cooking time in the kitchen, make this dish in bulk as it will keep in the fridge for a few days. You can add additional ingredients to bulk this dish out such as meat, fish or tofu.
- 1 tsp coriander seed
- 1 tsp black mustard seed
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2x 400g can chickpeas
- 1 cauliflower, trimmed, split into very small florets and lightly blanched
- 1 large ripe mango, flesh sliced
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 1 handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 small handful of fresh mint, chopped
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
- Sea salt
- Set a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coriander and mustard seeds then dry fry for a couple of minutes until they become fragrant before transferring to a mortar and pestle.
- Add the curry powder, sugar and salt to the mortar and pestle then grind the mixture into a fine powder.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large deep-sided frying pan or wok. Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes over a medium heat until soft.
- Now add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the spice mix and cook for another minute until fragrant then add the chickpeas and combine well cooking for another 2 minutes. Now transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- Heat another 1 tbsp of oil in the same pan as the chickpeas. Once hot add the cauliflower and fry for a few minutes to brown then transfer to the bowl with the chickpea mixture and leave to cool.
- Once cool, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and combine well.
- Season the salad with salt before serving.
The tips Rob shares reflect the basics of nutrition and flag up certain issues that you may encounter during your pregnancy. If you’re worried about any aspect of your pregnancy, then you must seek advice from the relevant healthcare professional.