You’re lacking energy and need some energising recipes

During pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, it can feel like you’re completely zapped of energy. You feel drained, tired, and sometimes the simplest of tasks requires a huge amount of effort.

Mornings can be particularly difficult after a poor night’s sleep. But then, so can the evenings if you’ve had a busy day, right?

How can you stay energised throughout the day?

One of the simplest ways to ensure you have the energy you need to get through the day is to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of all the nutrients you and your growing baby need. Eating healthy and nutritious foods will only help you and your baby during pregnancy. Studies have shown that eating a healthy, balanced diet reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related blood pressure disorders, and preterm birth.

Should I eat more during pregnancy?

We’ve all heard the saying “eating for two” when talking about pregnant women and their meals. But, in reality, this is a myth. During the first and second trimester, there is little need to eat more calories than you normally do and in the third trimester, you only need to consume approximately 200 calories more than usual. You may feel more hungry while pregnant, but you don’t need to eat more – even if you’re expecting more than one baby! What is more important than eating more is eating the right foods.

The NHS website has some great information on what a healthy diet in pregnancy entails. And their Better Health Start for Life pages have some great tips for eating healthily during pregnancy too.

Energising recipes for pregnant women

We’ve compiled a list of great tasting, healthy and nutritious recipes that will help energise you during pregnancy while giving you and your growing baby the nutrients you need.

All the recipes below can be easily adapted to suit a variety of diets including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free – simply swap ingredients as indicated.

One thing to note – the quantities below are guides only. Feel free to add more or less of a particular ingredient, swap ingredients out entirely for something else, add more ingredients in. You’re free to do as you please – just try to keep a balance of protein, carbs, and fruit and veg to give you the nutrients you need each day.

Energising breakfast recipes

Starting the day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast that will give you an energy boost is a great way to ensure you carry that energy through for the rest of the day. An energising breakfast will help fill you up so you’re less likely to snack on foods that are high in sugar or fat. 

Overnight Oats with fruit

So simple, yet so effective. Prepping some oats in the evening makes breakfast the next day a breeze. And this overnight oats recipe is so easy to make but will provide you with a source of protein, fibre, and fruit for minerals and vitamins – a great way to start the day!

Simply mix 30-40g of oats with milk and yoghurt (use plant-based milk and yoghurt for a vegan and non-dairy diet) and place in the fridge ready for the morning.

In the morning, simply add some sliced fruit of your choice and bob’s your uncle! – bananas, apple, raspberries, blueberries, pear, and strawberries all work great (frozen, dried, or fresh is fine)

You can even add the fruit the night before if you want an even quicker breakfast

Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Quick and easy, this recipe contains protein, nutrients, and slow-release carbohydrates – perfect to keep you going all morning.

Simply scramble 2 eggs – make sure they’re fully cooked during pregnancy and not still runny. You can use silken tofu instead of eggs if you’re following a vegan diet.

Grill some tomatoes.

Toast some wholemeal bread or a wholemeal bagel. (Or gluten-free equivalent)

And voila!

This makes a great lunch too!

Pregnancy Super Smoothie

Smoothies are a fast, easy way to get plenty of fruit, vegetables, fibre, protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients into your body while you’re pregnant. And they’re great for when you wake up not feeling too great or unable to stomach much in the way of solids.

You can buy packs of frozen ‘smoothie mix’ at most supermarkets, which normally consist of a mixture of berries and fruits, that you can simply throw a handful of into a blender with some milk, yoghurt, and oats for an easy-to-prepare smoothie in the morning – you can add a spoonful of peanut butter or honey for a bit of extra sweetness if you want too. Try to aim for 1 part liquids (milk and yoghurt) to 2 parts solids (fruit and veg) and that should give you the right consistency – simply add water and blend again if it’s too thick.

Or you can follow this recipe:

1 banana

A handful of berries (frozen berries work great!) – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries.

1 tablespoon of flax seeds

A handful of spinach, kale, or chard

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt – or plant-based alternative

Milk – plant-based or cow’s milk.

Put all the ingredients in a blender except the milk and pour the milk in to cover.

Blend.

Enjoy.

Healthy, energising lunches

So, you’ve eaten your healthy, energising breakfast. It’s filled you up for the morning, maybe with a little snack in between 😉 Now, what to have for lunch?

These energising and balanced lunches are great for keeping you going right through to dinner time and are a great source of nutrients to keep your energy levels up and grow a healthy baby.

Wrap it up

This makes a great lunch for when you’re on the go or out and about. Simply make it in the morning, wrap it up in tin foil, and it’s ready to eat at lunchtime.

85-100g of sliced chicken, turkey, Quorn vegan pieces, or some source of protein (cooked)

¼ medium pepper, diced

60g coleslaw

1 large tomato, chopped

Handful of salad leaves (spinach and kale are great sources of nutrients)

50g cheddar (or vegan alternative) cheese, grated

Handful of olives, halved (optional)

1 wholewheat tortilla wrap or wholewheat pitta bread

Put all ingredients (minus the chicken/turkey/Quorn pieces and wrap/pitta) in a bowl and mix well (you can add a little olive oil, seasoning, lemon juice, and parsley or oregano if you want for a little extra flavour – just be careful not to make the mixture too wet if you’re making it in advance)

Lay the tortilla wrap flat on a surface

Place the protein (chicken, turkey, Quorn etc.) in the centre, spoon the salad mix on top, and told the sides over.

If you’re using a pitta bread, simply pack it full.

If you’re making this in advance, wrap the wrap or pitta in tin foil and stick it in the fridge or your bag for later.

Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Quick and easy, this recipe contains protein, nutrients, and slow-release carbohydrates – perfect to keep you going all morning.

Simply scramble 2 eggs – make sure they’re fully cooked during pregnancy and not still runny. You can use silken tofu instead of eggs if you’re following a vegan diet.

Grill some tomatoes.

Toast some wholemeal bread or a wholemeal bagel. (Or gluten-free equivalent)

And voila!

This makes a great lunch too!

Quick and easy mashed avocado on toast

We all know the benefits of avocado by now, and if not – where have you been? And this recipe is so quick and so easy that you can whip it up in a matter of minutes.

Here’s the base recipe – feel free to top it with whatever you please. We love to add a poached egg on top (fried or scrambled is good too) but you can add sliced cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, some herbs and sauces, jalapenos, pickled onions, bacon, it’s entirely up to you!

This also makes a great quick and easy breakfast too.

1 Avocado

1 or 2 pieces of wholewheat bread.

Toast the bread.

While the bread is toasting, mash the avocado in a bowl.

Spread the avocado on the bread. (Add any toppings you want at this stage)

Boom. Done.

Easy.

Cheesy Courgette Patties

These courgette patties are great for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike! Simply substitute the non-vegan friendly ingredients for vegan friendly alternatives and you’re good to go!

Top tip: make sure you squeeze as much of the juice from the courgette after grating as you can – stick the grated courgette in a muslin and ring it out. This will help the patties stay together and help them crisp up when cooking.

Add any herbs and spices that you like to add extra flavour.

This recipe makes around 12 patties. Try and eat just 3 as a serving 😉

2 Courgettes, grated and squeezed of juice

2 eggs, beaten

½ an onion, diced

60g flour (or mashed potato mix or breadcrumbs)

60g Cheddar cheese, grated

60g Parmesan cheese, grated

Herbs and spices to taste

Sour cream or tomato sauce to serve

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl well, ensuring that the consistency is thick enough to hold together. If it is too loose, add a little more flour, bit by bit until it has a

Drop heaped tablespoons into a hot oiled frying pan and cook until crispy and brown on both sides.

Serve with some sour cream or tomato sauce.

Yummy!

Nutrient rich and energising dinners

Here we are! The main course! The big meal!

Normally, dinner would be the largest meal of the day, so why not use it to pack those nutrients in and help your body recover from the day and get ready for the next while you sleep.

Top tip for dinner – try and eat your last meal of the day no less than three hours before bed. This gives your body plenty of time to digest it, leading to a better night’s sleep with less disruption. If you go to bed at 9pm, aim to have your dinner no later than 6pm.

Breast is best – oven baked chicken

You can use chicken thighs in this recipe, as they tend to stay juicy easier than breast, but chicken breast tends to be leaner and lower in fat with much more protein than thigh. 80% of the calories in a chicken breast comes from protein, whereas only 53% of the calories from chicken thighs come from protein – the rest comes from the fat.

3 large chicken breasts (or vegan alternative such as plant-based breast alternatives or firm tofu)

Dried herbs such as basil and oregano

Smoked paprika (and any other spices you fancy)

Salt and pepper

Garlic and onion powder

Olive oil

A rainbow mix of veggies – peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, courgette, sweet potato, butternut squash, tomatoes, aubergine, asparagus, leeks, whatever you want or have to hand. All cubed, sliced, or chopped however you like. Make sure you parboil the harder veggies for a little first.

 

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Put the chicken in an oven dish.

Drizzle the olive oil over the top.

Sprinkle the spices, dried herbs, and seasoning over the top.

Mix well straight in the dish, ensuring the breasts are coated.

Bake uncovered until cooked through – typically between 25-35 minutes.

Pop all the veggies that you are using in another baking dish, coat with oil and any spices and herbs you like and pop in the oven at the same time as the chicken.

 

This recipe typically serves 8 – so there should be plenty of leftovers which will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days to a week or in the freezer for a few months.

You can use the leftover chicken in the wrap for lunch!

Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Quick and easy, this recipe contains protein, nutrients, and slow-release carbohydrates – perfect to keep you going all morning.

Simply scramble 2 eggs – make sure they’re fully cooked during pregnancy and not still runny. You can use silken tofu instead of eggs if you’re following a vegan diet.

Grill some tomatoes.

Toast some wholemeal bread or a wholemeal bagel. (Or gluten-free equivalent)

And voila!

This makes a great lunch too!

Egg Rat-a-tatouille

Protein rich and full of deliciousness and nutrients like potassium (which can help reduce the risk of preeclampsia) and vitamin C (which can boost your immune system and help your body absorb iron – especially important during pregnancy), this ratatouille is both nutritious, energising, and oh so tasty.

If you’re following a vegan or plant-based diet, you can substitute the egg for a vegan egg replacement or silken tofu, or simply leave out the egg part – it’s still delicious without eggs, it just contains slightly less protein.

This meal serves 4 and is a great family recipe.

1 aubergine, diced

1 courgette, diced

1 pepper (red or yellow), diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed (or add more – most of us do)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 can chopped tomatoes

Basil

Oregano

Spices of your choice – we like smoked paprika with this one

4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 200C

Place the aubergine, courgette, pepper, onion, and garlic in a baking dish, sprinkle with the herbs, spices, and seasoning, and toss until nicely coated.

Pour the tomatoes into a separate dish.

Place both in the oven and bake for around 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the tomato sauce has thickened.

Pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables and stir it all together.

Make a well in the mixture for each egg and crack an egg into the centre of each.

Pop it back in the oven until the eggs are cooked.

Nutrient rich Fritta-tada!

This one you can really make your own! You can add bacon, chorizo, sliced sausages for a meaty alternative, keep it as it is, or swap the veggies or pretty much any other ingredient out for something else that you’d prefer or whatever’s in your fridge!

You can substitute the eggs for a vegan alternative made by blending silken tofu with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, a teaspoon of cornstarch, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, ½ a teaspoon of garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, and some herbs and spices of your choice, along with salt and pepper.

Here’s the base recipe:

Sweet potatoes, cubed (parboiled to soften slightly)

Onion, diced or sliced

Red or yellow pepper

Courgette

Butternut squash, cubed and roasted (this will need to be done in advance)

Garlic

Spinach, chard, or kale

Feta cheese (or vegan alternative)

8 eggs, beaten (or vegan “egg” mix)

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cook the onions until soft but not yet browned in a large or deep, oven proof frying pan on the hob.

Add the vegetables and cook until lightly browned and tender.

Add the spinach, chard, or kale, mix and cook until wilted.

Pour in the eggs (or egg mix) and stir to combine.

Break up the feta (or vegan alternative) and plop dollops into the mix.

Cook until the base is lightly browned and firm.

Transfer to the oven to bake the top half of the frittata.

Delicious!

Snacks!

Let’s be honest, some days three meals just aren’t enough!

Here are some ideas for great, energising snacks to help keep you going between mealtimes.

Fresh fruit

Apple and cheese

Yoghurt with berries or fruit

Sliced Melon

Trail mix

Nuts

A hard-boiled egg

Medjool dates with peanut or almond butter

Frozen banana “ice cream” – just freeze a banana and then blend it – add chopped nuts for extra flavour.

Dark chocolate

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