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Food may be your best friend or your worst nightmare during your pregnancy, but always try to eat a varied and nutritious diet. This will not only give you the energy you need to cope with the extra strain on your body, but it will give your baby the best start in life.

Planning meals ahead can help take some of the effort out of eating regular, healthy meals.

Here are some tips:

  • Draw up a menu for 5 days (Monday to Friday) and include healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.

  • Shop for just what you need for those 5 days, with some extra healthy snacks in case you need them. Avoid the urge to buy ‘comfort food’ like chocolates, cakes and sweets.

  • Great breakfast options include oats, wholewheat pro-nutro, eggs and wholewheat toast, muesli and low fat yoghurt, and a fruit.

  • For in-between snacks, try rice cakes with cottage cheese, an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, a banana, a handful of nuts or a bowl of popcorn.

  • For lunch, try a salad and health bread/wholewheat crackerbread, chicken and savoury rice, a toasted sandwich or a baked potato with salad.

  • For suppers, stick to smaller portions and try to eat plenty of green leafy veggies. Opt for brown rice and pasta rather than white, and try to include plenty of fish and chicken in your diet rather than too much red meat.

  • Cook extra at suppertime so that you have a lunch serving for the next day – or cook double and freeze a meal for when you don’t feel like cooking.

  • Do the basic preparation for salads the night before when your partner is there to help you, then put them together just before you eat your lunch.

  • Steaming, grilling and stir-frying are quick ways of doing dinner quickly and easily. Ask for help from your partner or friends if you are feeling tired or sick.

  • Avoid drastic changes in diet – rather make them gradually to reduce stress on your body.

  • Take a good pregnancy multivitamin daily and increase your protein intake in late pregnancy.