Let’s face it, life’s too short not to tuck into Aunt Bessie’s trifle at Christmas. You’re eating for two after all? Whilst we all know that this is plainly not true, there’s no harm in having a little bit of what you fancy at Christmas.
As your baby grows, however, your uterus begins to compete for space with your intestines and stomach, unfortunately resulting in a limited capacity to enjoy your favourite indulgence in any great quantity! What’s more, a huge plate of traditional fayre could leave you feeling uncomfortably bloated and most likely plagued by heartburn. And then there’s the constipation to deal with …
Kate Percy, founder of Go Faster Food is an athlete, sports nutrition cook, and mum of three. She gives you her top tips to help you eat your way through Christmas with a smile on your face…
1. Start each day with a good breakfast
This will help prevent hunger pangs and resist the day’s temptations; try porridge, unsweetened muesli or (my current favourite) poached eggs on wholemeal toast, a few slices of avocado and a glass of fruit juice.
Check out our breakfast recipes:
2. Fill up on the good stuff!
The great tidings are that Christmas lunch is actually packed with goodness. Turkey is a fabulous source of low-fat protein. Whilst chestnuts are packed with minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. And, love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are loaded with vitamins C, A and K, and fibre! Red cabbage, too, is packed with vitamins, healthy minerals and fibre. (Check out our yummy Pasta with Brussel sprouts and crispy pancetta recipe).
Good news, you can even enjoy Christmas pudding as it’s packed with dried fruit, rich in natural sugars and fibre which help ease constipation. Just try not to go over the top!
Try this delicious recipe for Brussels sprouts, cooked in stock and sprinkled with crispy pancetta
3. Recognise when enough is enough!
Listen to your body, don’t eat or drink more just because everyone else is! Don’t forget, there is limited space in that stomach so you’re better off eating little and often.
Keep it simple!
There is no denying that Christmas dinner is exceedingly rich. Why do think sales of indigestion relief rocket over the festive period?
Too much of the good stuff is likely to bring on the heartburn when you are pregnant, so go easy on the rich pastry-based canapés such as sausage rolls and cheese straws, crisps and pigs in blankets. Limit yourself to a couple of roast potatoes, and a small portion of bread sauce and stuffing at Christmas lunch. For dessert, it’s best to avoid lashings of brandy butter, double cream, meringues and sweets.
Avoid forbidden fruits…
You’re likely to be tempted by plenty of foods that can present a risk to pregnant women because they can carry Listeria; brie, Stilton, raw shellfish, pate, uncooked eggs especially. (See Foods to restrict in pregnancy and Foods to avoid in pregnancy for more information.)
If you are a guest in someone’s house, don’t be embarrassed to ask whether food contains raw eggs and remember that these can come in delicious disguise, such as chocolate mousse, homemade mayonnaise and ice cream, as well as Italian desserts like Zabaglione.
Watch the leftovers too. It may be that there is no room in the fridge for the turkey, but it is vital that you store your leftovers in a cold place.
Talk more, eat more slowly!
The slower you eat, the less tempted you will be to have seconds…and thirds…and you’ll be less likely to suffer from indigestion and bloating.
4. Drink plenty of water
You may be off the alcohol and feeling virtuous; but be aware that it is all too easy to ramp up the calories with soft drinks such as lemonade, fruit juice, sparkling elderflower etc. Perhaps alternate each drink with a glass of plain water, or choose a low-calorie ‘mocktail’ such as a Virgin Mary (tomato juice, Worcester sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper, stirred with a stick of celery – I drank this constantly when I was pregnant with my first child!)
Have you seen our mocktail recipes for some inspiration? Delicious, fresh pregnancy mocktails
5. Festive labour snacks, just in case!
On the occasion that you actually go into labour over the festive period, here’s a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on yummy festive fodder. Packed with slow releasing carbohydrate and loaded with nutrients, these tasty, bite-size Christmas energy balls will sustain you in labour without making you feel too full. You can make them in advance; they’ll keep for up to a week.
(If you don’t feel like making your own, you can buy the regular GoBites from Kate’s website – we’ve tried all three varieties and they’re delicious!)
Merry Christmas! Best wishes, Kate Percy.