Eating For Two By Annabel Karmel

Being pregnant is one of the most incredible times of your life. Your body is beginning a fantastic roller-coaster ride, and while the ups and downs of pregnancy may be a mix of the joyful, amusing and even downright unpleasant, this is a journey that cannot be forgotten.

Pregnancy is often seen as a time to forget the diets, throw away the scales and eat what you like but with a baby on board, now is the best time to eat a nutritious and balanced diet to give your baby the best start in life. Whether you are planning to become pregnant, have just found out the happy news or have a bump well on the way, here are my top nutritional tips.

Take supplements
It’s all about bones! You and your baby need calcium rich foods and Vitamin D to help you absorb them. Your baby is developing teeth and bones and you need to ensure your calcium stores are stocked for both of you for the duration of your pregnancy. You may have been advised to take a Vitamin D supplement to ensure you are getting the recommended dosage as not many foods contain it.

Monitor the cravings
Not all women get cravings and there is no real scientific evidence as to why some women do, though hormone changes are likely to play a part. You can indulge your 2am desire for ice cream or gherkins (or maybe both together) without any real cause for concern but occasionally women report cravings for non-food items such as chalk. This is called Pica and you should speak with your doctor or midwife if you find yourself salivating over soap.

Have more magnesium
As well as milk, your other magic ‘M’ to remember is magnesium which helps convert food to energy. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds and baked potatoes are easy ways to get your fill, and flavoursome too!

Prepare ahead
It’s a good idea to decide what you’re going to cook each week so that your supermarket shops don’t have to be long and stressful, especially with a bump in tow. Get used to eating foods that are rich in folic acid, iron, calcium and fibre as this will help the development of your baby.

RECIPE
Top tip: Your unborn baby places huge demands on your iron reserves. If you feel exhausted or dizzy during pregnancy, you could be suffering from low iron levels. Cannellini beans contain valuable iron and eating them with lamb, a red meat will enhance the absorption of the iron.

ROAST RACK OF LAMB WITH TOMATO & BASIL BEANS

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 2 portions

Ingredients
300g (10½ oz) trimmed rack of lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C / 425F
  2. Trim all the fat from the rack of lamb. Brush with some of the oil, season with salt and pepper, then rub with the thyme. Heat a frying pan until hot. Brown the lamb on both sides for 1½ minutes, then place on a baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes. Cover with foil and roast for a further 5 minutes, until cooked through.
  3. To make the beans, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cannellini beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the herbs and season to taste.
  4. Carve the lamb and serve with the tomato and basil beans.

For more advice on what to eat while you’re pregnant, visit www.annabelkarmel.com or check out Annabel’s Eating for Two cookbook.