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For a few weeks after we found out that Anni was pregnant, nothing changed. I mean, of course everything was different, but everything was also the same. And because life just went on I couldn’t get my head round the fact that by autumn I’d become a father. I kept looking up how big the life growing inside her was, continually surprised at how this microscopic collection of cells was set to take charge and change everything.

In terms of food nothing also changed for a few weeks. Anni carried on in her usual calm way whilst I began to freak out and inspect the sell by dates of every bit of food we had, turn our steaks into pieces of rubber and boil our eggs for 7 hours minimum. After doing a bit of research into what women can and can’t eat during pregnancy we both discovered that pretty much all advice was contradictory, and the vast majority of foods recommended to avoid were based on guesswork, not fact. Just don’t eat raw food, don’t have too much mercury-rich fish and don’t give yourself salmonella. Anni and I had a combined age of 68 and a combined salmonella contraction rate of zero, so I thought that we were going to be ok.

Instead I chose to focus on all of the great food she could eat, and how each ingredient can be of benefit not only to her, but to our unborn child. I’ll admit, now that my principal role in child creation was sadly over (and boy was it over) I was feeling pretty redundant. At least by taking charge of what we would eat over the coming year I could feel like I was involved, and it was one less thing for Anni to worry about.

However, a few weeks into pregnancy, everything changed.

Anni began to find the thought of vegetables pretty unappealing and if I didn’t make food for her that was basically beige in appearance, she would have none of it.  She also began to crave salt so I had to act fast before she started eying up the salt pot at 11am each day.  My challenge therefore was to make appetising dishes that I knew she would eat in those first few weeks, but also provide enough of the good stuff for our growing baby.

So I started to hide vegetables in food. I started to do this a lot.

Soup was my number one way of hiding vegetables for Anni in her first trimester. It was the middle of winter, nights were cold and dark and so a warming bowl of goodness and some cheese on toast went down really well. I made a lot of soup in those first few weeks, they are so easy to make, require minimal preparation, are a great way of using up lots of vegetables and also freeze really well. This particular dish is packed with broccoli which due to its high folate, fibre and vitamin content, is a fantastic pregnancy superfood. The parmesan toast also satisfied her salt cravings.

Ingredients

-2 chicken breasts

-6 carrots

-one onion

-one head of broccoli

-handfuls of thyme, sage and rosemary

-400ml chicken stock

-two slices of brioche bread

-60g grated parmesan

-salt and pepper

 

Method

-Boil the stock in a pan and then reduce to a simmer. Peel and finely slice the carrots and place in the pan.

-Roughly tear up the rosemary, sage and thyme and add.

-Finely slice the chicken and add to the pan before roughly chopping the broccoli and also adding in.

-Bring the liquid back to the boil and cook for at least five minutes (you want to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked through.

-Meanwhile place 2 slices of brioche bread under the grill, toast slightly then remove.

-Using a stick blender, mix the soup thoroughly. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.

-Sprinkle the grated parmesan over the brioche and place back under the grill for 1-2 minutes until the parmesan has melted.

-Pour the soup into bowls and place the toast on top of the mixture.

 

Why is this good for mum and baby?

Chicken Protein, vitamin B, zinc
Brioche Fibre, protein
Parmesan Protein, calcium, vitamin A
Carrots Vitamin A, C, potassium, fibre, calcium
Broccoli Vitamins A, B, C, E, K, folate, potassium, fibre
Rosemary Vitamin A, B, C, folate
Thyme Fibre, Vitamin B, C, calcium
Onion/shallots Fibre, Vitamin B, C, D, K, Zinc, Iron, Folate, Magnesium, potassium

 

 

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I’m a Leiths trained chef on a mission to overhaul the way we see and enjoy food during pregnancy. Current healthy-eating advice when you’re pregnant focuses on what you can’t eat (no shark or marlin for you on a cold Wednesday evening in January) whereas I want to focus on all of the amazing food that you can eat over the nine months and beyond. When my wife became pregnant with our first son last year as a guy I felt pretty redundant. Sure, I could carry her bag, do up her shoelaces when she couldn’t bend over anymore and go to all of the classes and appointments with her, but I felt like I was a bystander and that there was nothing I could actually do that would make a difference either to her or our unborn child. So, I decided to make sure that whatever we ate over those nine months not only tasted delicious and made her feel good, but was also full of vitamins, nutrients and other good stuff for our unborn child. My wife gave birth to our beautiful boy last October and I’m still looking after our food whilst she takes charge of his. During these first few crazy sleep-deprived months I’m making sure that whatever we eat is quick to make, quick to eat (normally with one hand as we can’t put the little guy down at all….) and gives us energy for when we’re putting the dummy back in his mouth for the 416th time that night.

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