Food writer Sophie Wright cooks up three delicious recipes for a much-needed boost during your fourth trimester
Quinoa, grated apple and seeded porridge – stocking up on the good calories
Most breastfeeding women need to increase not only their calorie intake, but all the nutrients that make up their diet in order to satisfy the additional requirements of milk synthesis, though for some women the increase will be minimal. If your diet is balanced and varied, the increase in calories will automatically be accompanied by an increase in all the other nutrients. Hence why a well-balanced diet is essential to maintain a healthy body weight and help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy without dreaded dieting.
While nursing, be sure to take care of yourself, eat around 300-500 additional nourishing calories per day and drink plenty of water. This will help with milk production and help guard against dehydration.
This porridge is a great way to start the day. It’s full of protein which will help you stay full and boost energy levels after a night of feeding. The nuts and seeds bring not only great flavour and texture, but also much-needed nutrients, including magnesium, potassium and essential fatty acids, while the apples contain vitamin C, which will help with the body’s absorption of iron and bring additional fibre into your diet.
PREP TIME 5 MINUTES
MAKES 2-3 PORTIONS
100g quinoa (white, red, black or mixed is fine)
500ml coconut, almond, soya or cow’s milk
2 small sweet eating apples, grated
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp mixed seeds (sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, flax, chia, poppy)
• Pour the quinoa into a saucepan, add the cinnamon and pour on the milk of your choice. Slowly bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
• Once tender, stir through the grated apple, reserving a little to top the porridge at the
end, and the runny honey. Do this to taste.
• Serve the quinoa porridge, top with a handful of the leftover apple and a tablespoon of the mixed seeds. Drizzle with a little more honey if you require.
Greek yogurt, coconut and peach lollies – keeping up your calcium
Breastfeeding decreases calcium levels in mothers, and studies have shown that women often lose three to five per cent of their bone mass during breastfeeding, although they recover it rapidly after weaning. This loss may be caused by the growing baby’s increased need for calcium, which is drawn from the mother’s bones.
The suggested daily intake of calcium for breastfeeding mothers is 1,300mg per day. To give you a guide, one cup of milk or yoghurt is roughly 300mg of calcium. The best sources are milk, yoghurt and hard cheeses, and calcium-fortified orange juice and tofu.
On that note, here is my recipe for homemade ice lollies that the whole family will love. They’re also perfect to eat one-handed if you have a feeding babe in the other, and great for perking up energy levels.
MAKES 12 LOLLIES
300ml Greek yogurt
200ml full-fat coconut cream
400g tinned peaches in juice, drained
1 large ripe banana
3 tbsp honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
100ml mango purée (pre-packaged is fine)
• Pour the mango purée into the base of each lolly mould, about 1cm up.
• Pour all the other ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and slightly aerated.
• Pour this mixture onto the mango purée until each mould is full. Mix slightly using a chopstick to create a rippled effect.
• Place in the lolly sticks or lolly tops and put into the freezer. Freeze for 4-6 hours.
Lamb, sultana and almond meatballs with tomato and aubergine sauce and brown rice salad – up your iron intake
Iron is an essential nutrient for your body. Being anaemic or having low iron levels after the birth of your baby is not uncommon and it can increase your chance of developing postnatal depression, reduce your ability to fight infection, cause feelings of stress and anxiety, cause fatigue and exhaustion, and can even reduce the quality of your milk.
Suffering from any of the above can be draining, making it even harder to care for your baby. A balanced diet is essential throughout the whole of your life, but it’s of even greater importance when you are carrying, nursing and caring for a baby.
This recipe is a great one that the whole family, including toddlers, can enjoy together. The lamb is rich in iron, protein and vitamin B, which is essential for the formation of healthy red blood cells. Spinach and all dark green leafy vegetable are iron- and folate-rich, and the tomatoes will help with the body’s absorption of iron due to their high levels of vitamin C. Dried fruit and nuts are also great sources of iron.
PREP TIME 20 MINUTES
COOK TIME 30 MINUTES
For the meatballs:
600g lamb mince
75g sultanas, roughly chopped
75g blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
15g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 egg yolk
3 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of dried chili flakes
1 tbsp milled flaxseed
For the tomato sauce:
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 aubergine, finely diced
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp of ground cumin
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
500ml tomato passata
200ml chicken stock
200g baby leaf spinach, washed
For the brown rice salad:
220g steamed brown rice (microwave pouches work just as well)
100g cucumber, diced
100g cherry tomatoes, chopped
10g chopped parsley or coriander
100g feta, crumbled
Juice of 1 lemon
50ml extra-virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
• Start by making your tomato sauce. Place a saucepan on the stove and add 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil. When it is nice hot, add in the onions and sweat for 3-4 minutes before adding the aubergine, garlic, ground cumin and the chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook on a low heat for a further 3-4 minutes. Now add the tomato passata and chicken stock. Simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes while you make
• Place all the ingredients for your meatballs into a food processor and blend until smooth and well combined. Make sure you season the mix with salt and pepper.
• Divide the mix into 16-18 meatballs and work into little balls in the palm of your hands. They should be just smaller than a golf ball.
• Now add the remaining 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil to a frying pan and turn the heat up high. When hot, add in the meatballs and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown all over. Transfer the meatballs to your tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Once cooked, add the washed baby leaf spinach and allow to wilt into the sauce.
• While the meatballs are cooking, heat the rice as instructed on the packet. Combine the cooked rice with the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta, lemon juice, oil and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
• You are now ready to serve your dish. It’s delicious with a tablespoon of full-fat Greek yoghurt on the side.