Pregnant and wondering what to eat? Leading nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert’s new book Deliciously Healthy Pregnancy explores the science behind your nutritional needs and the impact that your diet can have on pregnancy. For inspiration on what to eat, check out her five mouth-watering recipes.

Peach, ricotta, and pistachio toast

  • Supports bone health
  • Supports immune system function
  • Provides key micronutrients

Follow the classic tradition of pairing cheese and fruit with a delicious ricotta and peach combo, adding vitamin C and calcium to your toast. Most soft cheeses need heating through in pregnancy, but as a pasteurized cheese, ricotta is safe to eat cold.

Serves 2

Prep 5 mins

Cook 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup, plus extra to drizzle (optional)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large slices of sourdough
  • 5 tbsp ricotta cheese chopped toasted pistachios, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (350°F/Gas 4).
  2. Place the peach halves in an ovenproof dish, cut-side up.
  3. Put the olive oil, honey or maple syrup, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon the mixture over the peaches and bake for 30 minutes, or until the peaches are easily pierced with a fork and start to caramelize.
  5. Toast the sourdough as preferred. Spread the toast with the ricotta and arrange the roasted peach halves on top.
  6. Sprinkle over the pistachios and, if desired, drizzle over a little extra honey or maple syrup to serve. Flex it–For a vegan breakfast, replace the ricotta with a dairy-free cream cheese, and opt for the maple syrup instead of the honey.

Chocolate porridge

  • Provides sustained energy
  • Provides antioxidants

Serves 1

Prep 5 mins

Cook 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 45g (1½oz) porridge oats
  • 1 tsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 250ml (9fl oz) semi-skimmed milk or fortified plant-based alternative
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate, minimum 75 per cent cocoa
  • handful of berries (whatever is in season)
  • 10g (1/4oz) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Method

  1. Place the oats, flaxseed, cocoa powder, maple syrup (if using), salt, and milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then stir regularly until the porridge reaches the desired consistency.
  2. In the meantime, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie or a bowl in your microwave on the lowest setting, stirring every 20 seconds if using a microwave to prevent it from burning.
  3. Pour the porridge into a bowl and top with the berries, toasted hazelnuts, and melted chocolate. Enjoy straight away.

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Date and walnut granola bars

  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Provides sustained energy
  • Promotes brain health

These satisfying snacks are also a nutritional treat. Oats release energy slowly, avoiding sugar dips between meals, and, together with dates, supply fibre to aid digestion. Walnuts provide omega-3s, supporting health and fetal brain development in pregnancy.

Makes 12

Prep 15 mins

Cook 25–30 mins

Ingredients

  • 225g (8oz) porridge oats
  • 75g (2½oz) pumpkin seeds, or seeds of choice
  • 100g (3½oz) walnuts, or other nut of choice, roughly chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 100g (3½oz) soft, light-brown sugar
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g (3½oz) Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped

Flex it – Use coconut oil in place of butter and opt for maple syrup instead of honey for vegan granola bars.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (350°F/Gas 4) and line a 20 x 30cm (8 x 12in) brownie tin with parchment paper. Place the porridge oats, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts on a baking tray, stirring them gently to distribute them evenly. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until lightly golden.
  2. In the meantime, combine the butter, honey or maple syrup, and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir until melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, dates, and toasted oat mixture. Tip the mixture into the brownie tin, pressing it down lightly, then bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting into 12 bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Rainbow falafel bowl

  • Supplies folate
  • Provides key micronutrients
  • Aids fetal development

When nausea fades, say goodbye to bland fare and usher in the colour! This vibrant dish is full of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, as well as plant-based protein and folate from the falafel’s chickpeas to support your baby’s development.

Serves 4

Prep 30 mins

Cook 1 hour 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g (7oz) quinoa
  • 4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves
  • 8–12 falafel
  • 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and quartered
  • mixed seeds, to serve

For the beetroot hummus

  • 1 large raw beetroot, about 250g (9oz), topped and tailed
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 2–3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • roasted red and yellow peppers, courgettes, and cherry tomatoes, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (400°F/Gas 6). To make the hummus, wrap the beetroot in foil, place it on a baking tray, and bake for 50–55 minutes, or until easily pierced through with a knife. Allow to cool, then place in a food processor together with the remaining hummus ingredients and a pinch of seasoning. Blend until smooth and creamy, then adjust seasoning as required.
  2. In the meantime, place the butternut squash on a baking tray. Drizzle with the oil, season, and gently toss the squash to coat it in the oil. Roast for 35–40 minutes, or until golden and the squash is soft all the way through. While the squash cooks, cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions.
  3. To serve, divide the salad leaves between 4 bowls and top with the falafel, squash, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado. Finish with a large spoonful of beetroot hummus and a sprinkle of seeds (any leftover hummus will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days). Serve with roasted vegetables on the side.

Butternut squash pasta

  • Provides sustained energy
  • Supports immune system function

Staple pasta provides fuelling carbs for pregnancy. Pairing with fibrous squash adds betacarotene and vitamin C, helping to support immune function.

Serves 4

Prep 15 mins

Cook 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 350ml (12fl oz) vegetable stock, plus a little extra if needed
  • 30g (1oz) grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 300g (10oz) dried fettuccine
  • 15g (½oz) sage leaves and 30g (1oz) toasted pine nuts, to serve

Flex it – Use a vegan alternative to Parmesan if preferred.

Method

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion. Fry for 8–10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for another minute or so. Add the squash, cannellini beans, and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the stock has reduced by almost half.
  2. Add the Parmesan and blend into a purée, adding a dash more stock to thin the sauce if preferred. Taste and adjust the seasoning. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving 1–2 tablespoons of cooking water, and return to the pan.
  3. Make crispy sage leaves by heating the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium–high heat. Add the sage and fry for 30 seconds, or until crisp. Remove and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  4. Add just enough sauce to coat the pasta (freeze any leftover) and the reserved water and stir to combine. Divide between 4 bowls, topped with the Parmesan, sage leaves, and pine nuts.

Recipes from Deliciously Healthy Pregnancy.

Rhiannon Lambert BSc MSc RNutr is a Registered Nutritionist and founder of the leading nutrition clinic, Rhitrition. Her book, Deliciously Healthy Pregnancy: Nutrition and Recipes for Optimal Health from Conception to Parenthood (£20, 9780241530566) will be published by DK 8th September.

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