Welcome back to the Pipin Pear Academy!
This week we are joined by the fabulous Nutritional Therapist, Jemma Kehoe!
Jemma has been in the healthcare sector for 20 years and is a registered nutritional therapist. She has been practicing for over 10 years! Today, Jemma is answering your questions in easy to understand language and is here to give you helpful and practical advice for you and your little one’s nutritional needs! From pregnancy to snacking, she’s got you covered!
For more helpful information, make sure to visit Jemma’s website, jemmakehoenutrition.com
The article has been edited for clarity from video content. To view the full video, visit our Facebook or Instagram page.
“I’m 22 weeks pregnant and absolutely exhausted. Could my iron levels be low?”
Yes, it definitely could! Don’t forget, you’re growing a new human being! Depending on your hydration status, how busy you are; it could be a lot of things. A very common cause of fatigue in pregnancy is anemia or low iron, so it would be worth getting that checked with your GP! Make sure to mention it at your next appointment and they may feel the best course of action is to get some bloods taken, just to check for anemia or anything else.
If you’re concerned about your iron levels, there are a few things you can do to ensure your levels don’t get too low.
If you’re a meat eater, try to get at least 2-3 portions of good quality red meat a week. Things like beef or lamb, preferably from whole cut of meat, as in a slice of roast beef or lamb meat in a stew, as opposed to minced varieties as these don’t tend to have the same iron content.
If you’re not a meat eater, great sources of iron for you would be beans, pulses, lentils, curry spices and snacking on small amounts of dried fruits. When snacking on dried fruit, just be aware of sugar levels, so only small amounts, dried fruits like prunes, figs and dried apricots, combined with nuts or seeds as a snack are really good options.
The secret with iron status in pregnancy is don’t let it get low in the first place. Once you know you are pregnant, make these slight dietary changes so you’re well prepared.
If you do need to supplement, you can get gentle forms of iron in your local pharmacy or health food store. My experience is a liquid iron tends to be better absorbed and digested so look out for those.
“I’m worried I’m not ticking all the boxes in relation to my 14 month olds meals. What kind of things should I be feeding them?”
From a basic nutrition point of view, there’s a few things to bare in mind. 14 month olds and toddlers tend to be quite busy and quite active so their nutrient needs do tend to increase once they get a little bit busier and more active.
Protein is important. So ask yourself at eat meal, are they having some form of protein? Different types of protein come from foods like eggs, meat, fish, wholemilk dairy products like cheese and yoghurt are both really good sources. Babies may not like some of these types of foods but you can give them some lentils in their stews and soups that are good sources of plant protein.
Calcium is another food group that is important to look at as a mineral, it’s very important for growing bones. They’ll be getting a nice amount of that from their dairy products but they can also get some calcium from foods like green leafy vegetables and fruits and veggies.
We really beat ourselves up on what we are feeding our children and yes, it is really important! We want to give them the best possible start in life, but honestly, if you’re giving them plenty of variety, different fruits and vegetables, different meats, different types of fish, egg in different ways, dairy products in different ways – perhaps a little big of raw cheese, maybe a little melted onto toast, you’re can’t go wrong!
Start as you mean to go on. They’re at the perfect age to start exposing them to new flavours and new tastes. Rather than starting out with the more processed foods (press pause on boxed cereals which tend to be quite processed), keep them on a real whole foods diet!
You can’t go wrong and you’re doing a brilliant job!