How mums-to-be can get the recipe for healthy living
When chef Sophie Wright was pregnant, she cooked up wholesome and tasty meals for herself. Now she's sharing them all, along with pregnancy nutrition tips, in her new book Blooming Delicious, writes Lisa Salmon
Chef Sophie Wright loves fresh, tasty and above all nutritious food, and when she got pregnant, she made sure she created dishes that were delicious and full of goodness for both her and her growing baby.
And now that baby is a happy and healthy 18-month-old, Wright is letting other expectant mums share her recipes in her new book Blooming Marvellous.
But as well as being packed with healthy recipes, ranging from pink grapefruit, peach and pistachio salad and Indonesian rice pot with egg and salmon, to cocoa and avocado mousse cake, the book features easy-to-digest information about what nutrients women need, right from trying to conceive to after their baby's born.
And there's also advice on hormones, food hygiene, and what foods can act as medicine to help pregnancy complaints ranging from morning sickness and tiredness, to anaemia and gestational diabetes, with recipes including ingredients that can help them.
"I didn't want to create a pregnancy cookbook," she stresses, "I wanted it to be a book full of meals that the whole family can enjoy, that just happened to be rich in nutrients that will help mum and baby. They're family-friendly recipes."
The book was conceived when Wright was thinking of getting pregnant and she asked Henrietta Norton, one of the country's leading fertility nutritionists, what she should be eating to get her body in ship-shape condition to conceive and carry a baby. Norton gave her a list of ingredients, which Wright then used to create various dishes for herself.
"I thought I should be writing the recipes down, because when I went on the internet to look for a book on pregnancy nutrition, there wasn't anything that jumped out as a cookbook," she says.
"They didn't inspire the chef in me. Being a real foodie, I don't want food to just be nutritious, I also want it to be delicious and look great and have lots of colour and texture. So I did a book myself."
She says she's cooked and eaten all the recipes in the book with her family, including 18-month-old Bertie. And as well as more virtuous dishes such as salads and muesli, there are cakes, cookies and a burger too - with a nutritious twist.
Of course many pregnant women are exhausted by carrying a developing baby inside them, and may not fancy the idea of standing in front of the hob for a long time to cook.
But Wright promises that as well as being nutritious and tasty, the recipes in Blooming Delicious are easy and quick, taking between 20 minutes and an hour to make.
"If you don't want to cook, don't bother," she says bluntly.
"Recipes do take a bit of time to prepare, because you're using fresh ingredients. I appreciate that the time it takes to create a meal from a recipe is a chunk of your time, and it's a life choice.
"I don't expect people to cook every day - if you choose two to three recipes a week that you know include lots of vitamins you and your baby are going to need, you know you're going to be putting yourself in good shape for the next nine months."
When she was pregnant herself, Wright says she didn't crave junk food, and when she fancied a snack, she'd opt for a bag of pistachios or almonds instead of crisps.
"I never really have eaten much processed food," she says, "but I think if you fancy it, you can allow yourself some, as long as it doesn't become the norm."
She points out that pregnant women don't need to eat for two, and only need an extra 200 calories a day from about six months into the pregnancy.
"It's about having what you want, but in moderation."
Wright stresses that research shows a balanced diet during pregnancy means less chance of pregnancy complications, and health problems in the baby.
"A happy mum leads to a happy pregnancy, and if eating chocolate makes you happy, then do it - but maybe you could have some healthy meals as well."
Here she shares one of her recipes, which is rich in vitamin E, to help skin heal after the birth, and calcium and vitamin D from cheese, plus protein, magnesium, potassium, fibre and carbohydrate...