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A New App Helps Mums-to-Be With Nutrition

The National Maternity Hospital's app aims to take the guesswork out of eating well

Good nutrition and a healthy diet are always important but perhaps never more so than when you’re pregnant. 

The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street aims to make it a little easier with the launch of a healthy-eating app. The cleverly named Hollestic, which has tips, a baby size tracker and 100 nutritionally-balanced recipes, is the first of its kind in Ireland. Dietitians at The National Maternity Hospital teamed up with researchers at the UCD Perinatal Research Centre and originally trialled the app in a study of over 500 pregnant women at The National Maternity Hospital. 

Dr Eileen O’Brien, senior dietitian at The National Maternity Hospital said, “ Hollestic aims to act as a guide, support and motivator for women and their families, helping to ensure dietary needs are met during pregnancy and giving baby the best nutritional start in life.” 

The app can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play Store and there is more information at nmh.ie

Top Tips for eating well in pregnancy by Dr Eileen O’Brien, Senior Dietitian at NMH

  • Focus on consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables (three+ portions of vegetables and two+ portions of fruit). These are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for both mother and baby. They also contain vitamin C which helps with iron absorption. 

  • Aim to include 3-5 portions of wholegrain, starchy foods daily for energy and fibre.

  • Incorporate 3 servings of dairy (milk, cheese and yoghurt) daily to meet your calcium requirements which are needed for your baby’s bone development. 

  • Include oily fish 1-2 per week for essential fatty acids which will aid your baby’s brain and eye development. These foods are also rich sources of vitamin D, protein and iron. If you do not eat fish, choose fortified foods, such as eggs with added omega 3, or consume food such as flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts. 

  • Protein-rich foods are important to include in your diet for growth and development of cells. Aim for 2-3 servings per day and choose lean meat and poultry cuts with the excess fat removed. Try to include red meat 2-3 times per week, as this is a rich source of iron needed for healthy blood development and will help to prevent anaemia in pregnancy.

  • Limit sugary or fatty foods and drinks as these foods are energy-dense but provide little nutrition and can lead to excess weight gain which is unhealthy for both you and your baby.

We have one of the Hollestic recipes for you to try below:

Thai red fish curry 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

• 250g basmati rice
• 2-4 tbsp red curry paste  (depending on how hot you like it)
• 400ml tin light coconut milk
• 250g skinless white fish fillets, cut into chunks
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
• 100g sugar-snap peas
• Freshly ground black pepper

Method

1.Cook the basmati rice for 10 minutes in a saucepan of boiling water and drain well.
2.Meanwhile, place the curry paste in a large saucepan on a medium heat and cook for 10 seconds.
3.Pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add the fish, red pepper and sugar-snap peas and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
4. Stir in the basil and fish sauce and season with black pepper. Add extra curry paste if you prefer a hotter taste. Serve the curry on a bed of basmati rice.

Main image: Camylla Battani/Unsplash

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