Healthy Eating · Parenting · Pregnancy

Eating healthily whilst pregnant and nauseous

Congratulations you are pregnant! Exciting times ahead and what a responsibility; you are the sole provider of nutrition for your unborn baby. And as if that wasn’t enough, you also have to deal with nausea, tiredness, aches… Who would be pregnant!?

As someone who couldn’t open my mouth without being sick for a period of pregnancy I would rather not repeat, I am very sympathetic of the reader who requested this post.

Here are some tips for eating well whilst being nauseous.

Tip 1: Keep Hydrated

The most important thing to make sure you do when you are pregnant and nauseous is to stay well hydrated. This is often the reason women end up in hospital in pregnancy with their ‘morning sickness’. Small sips of water totalling about 2 litres a day is the aim. If you can’t stomach plain water, add unsweetened squash or have some decaffeinated tea (although don’t drink 2 litres of tea or it may affect your iron absorption!). Avoid sweetened drinks, for the sake of your teeth but also your mood. Avoid having more than 2 cups of caffeinated tea or coffee a day.

Tip 2: Snack well

You may find it helpful to have small meals or snacks throughout the day, rather than big meals. Strong flavours and smells can often make you feel more nauseous so dry foods such as wholemeal crackers or breadsticks can help. Better still, vegetable sticks such as carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers, and raw baby sweetcorn or raw sugar snap peas are a great snack. If you feel you need more calories, dip them in homous or have them with a handful of nuts or seeds. Plain yoghurt is also a good snack with a handful of berries.

Tip 3: Limit sugary and high fat snacks

If you don’t have sugary or high fat snacks in the house, it makes it a lot harder to eat them! Yes, you can send your partner out to get some but at least they are not right under your nose. If you can, limit sugary or high fat snacks to one a day. This includes highly processed snacks. Remember cravings last about 20 minutes usually. If you feel like you want a snack, have a drink of water, go away and do something else and if you still want something to eat, try and have something savoury and within the balance of the Eatwell Guide. If you can have snacks which are high in fibre, this can help reduce the risk of constipation too.

Tip 4: It’s all about balance

As always, try and stick to the Eatwell Guide. If you have already had lots of starchy carbohydrates today, it might be time for some protein (eg pulses, meat, fish, eggs, nuts), some fruit and veg, or some dairy (or alternatives like almond or soya milk).

Tip 5: Don’t kid yourself, you are not eating for two.

Yes, you are eating for 2 in a sense but not in the way we often think of it. You need nutrients for your baby but you only need extra calories in the last trimester. Even then you only need 200kcal extra a day (which you get from 50g cheese, a chicken leg or a bagel). If you eat lots of extra calories in pregnancy, you only have to get rid of them later, so if you can avoid unnecessary weight gain in pregnancy, it helps later down the line.

Good luck!

For further tips on eating well during pregnancy, check out First Steps Nutrition



Health promotion · Healthy Eating · Parenting

Portion sizes for children

All children are different and have different appetites. Here are 8 tips to help all those with responsibility for feeding children to know how much to give them.

  1. Know the child’s weight and get them weighed regularly (at least once a year for school-age children, more often for younger children). If they are tracking along their growth chart, they are probably getting the right amount of food (although not necessary the right type of food)
  2. Look at the balance of food across their day. Focus more on the variety and types of food, rather than just the amount. Focus on fresh, unprocessed foods. Focus on the nutrients rather than just the calories. From the age of 2, children’s diets should reflect the Eatwell Guide.
  3. Make sure your child is well hydrated. Children should have about 1-1.5l a day and more when it is hot. Water is the ideal drink. It is important to limit sugary drinks as well as limiting fruit juice to 150ml a day). For more specific amounts for different age groups click here
  4. Give your child a small amount of each food and let them ask for more. This will help them to regulate their own appetite
  5. Banish the rule which says you have to finish everything on your plate
  6. Encourage your child to have regular meals and not snack in between meals and your regular snack times
  7. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ or ‘you have had enough’.
  8. If in doubt, ask a health professional


Remember, food is not just about calories, it is amount nutrition, social activity, learning and new experiences. Get your child involved with every stage as they learn to love food.


Diet · Healthy Eating · Parenting

100 calorie snacks

You may have heard on the news that Public Health England have suggested that children should be restrict their snacks to two 100 calorie snacks a day.

There has been lots of debate about whether children should be calorie counting but the principle is that although children benefit from small snacks, they should not be large snacks or ones which are very high in sugar or salt. Ideally we want snacks to provide some additional nutrients (not just energy).

Here are some ideas for alternative snacks:

  • Half a crumpet or potato cake with some ‘no added sugar’ peanut butter or cream cheese
  • Homemade fluffy American Pancakes – I use self raising flour, make the pancakes small and then freeze them (so make several batches at a time). I use half the sugar. Great to grab out of the freezer in the morning – they will be defrosted by school pick up.
  • Fruit – apples, banana, grapes, clementines, melon….
  • Carrot, cucumber, pepper sticks and homous
  • Cheese cubes and a cracker
  • 1 breadstick with some cream cheese to dip it in

I wouldn’t recommend dried fruit as a snack as it has a tendency to stick to your teeth, save dried fruit for main meals.

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments 🙂

Christmas · Healthy Eating

24th December

Our last stop on the vegetable tour today! It’s Christmas tomorrow! Make sure you have this one in your trolley today, it’s tradition after all. But don’t forget about these after Christmas, if they are cooked fresh and not for too long (preferably steamed), they don’t need to have quite a strong a taste. One magazine tried to convince me a couple of years ago to stir fry them but I think we just need to remember to steam them and have them. Have you guessed yet?

advent calendar 24th

Brussells Sprouts

These contain lots of vitamin K (for good blood health) and C (for a healthy immune system), folate (for healthy brain function) as well as lutein and zeaxanthin (for healthy sight. They are little balls of goodness 🙂

I am not going to suggest a recipe today but suggest you don’t overcook your sprouts tomorrow and you continue to have them throughout 2018.


I hope you have managed to try some new veg this advent and been reminded of some you have not had for a while.

I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy 2018.

Christmas · Healthy Eating

22nd December

Twas the Friday before Christmas and all through the country people were panicking that they hadn’t done all their Christmas shopping… Are you ready for Christmas? It is ok if you are not.

Today’s vegetable is in season although we are nearing the end of the season. It is in the cabbage family.

advent calendar 22nd

Did you manage to guess from the picture – it’s kale

Kale is a source of non dairy calcium so it is great for vegans. It also contains folate, vitamins A, C and K, antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and iron.I remember this vegetable from my childhood and it seemed to go out of fashion. Now it has come back into fashion but do we really know what to do with it. Kale can be used in soups, risottos, pasta sauces, and stir  but surprisingly, given the status of this vegetable being incredibly healthy, many of the recipes on the web are very high in fat.

I am therefore going to suggest you make a regular tomato based pasta sauce and try tossing some kale in towards the end – it will take about 5 minutes to cook.



Christmas · Healthy Eating

21st December

If you work Monday to Friday you have just today and tomorrow left in work. Most work places are full of high fat and high sugar treats which tempt us to eating far too much. This vegetable has often been seen as a weight loss aid because it is low in calories and high in fibre but most veg could fit this category.

advent calendar 21st


Celery is an good source of vitamin K (needed for healthy blood), molybdenum (needed for the breakdown of amino acids, folate, potassium, and fibre. It is full of flavour and is great in stews and soups.

Today’s recipe idea is a way to get some calcium and fibre without the empty calories. Simply put some low fat cream cheese into the middle of the celery sticks and you have an attractive nibble with a few more nutrients than the stollen bites! You could also try filling them with mackerel pate and get some omega 3 in the process.

Christmas · Healthy Eating

20th December

With the boy’s school finishing today and all the festivities at the end of term, they are exhausted, which means tempers run high and the need for something quick and easy to cook in the way of veg is essential. Frozen vegetables have come a long way since they were first sold. Now vegetables are packed very soon after they were harvested and so they retain most of their nutrients. Sometimes they are fresher than the ones you bought at the supermarket and then left in your fridge for a week before eating them.

Frozen veg are great for reducing waste as well. So if you struggle to plan meals, frozen veg could help. I wouldn’t recommend all your veg are frozen but they make a valuable addition.

Today’s vegetable is one of those which freezes well.

advent calendar 20th


I would recommend buying whole beans rather than sliced because less nutrient will leach out during the cooking process. I think they also cook better. You just need to defrost them so plunge them into boiling water and cook until they are hot.

Beans are a good source of protein as well as having lots of B vitamins, vitamins C, A and K, and lots of minerals such as folate, manganese, calcium, iron and potassium.

Today I am not going to give you a recipe but suggest you have some of these with your evening meal. You could steam them, pop them in a pasta sauce, stir fry them or pop them in a curry.