When chef Sophie Wright was pregnant, she cooked up healthy and tasty meals for herself. Now she's sharing them all, along with pregnancy nutrition tips, in her new book Blooming Delicious

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.

"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...


(Serves 4)

2tbsp rapeseed oil

2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced

2 red peppers, deseeded and finely chopped

Pinch chilli flakes

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2tsp ground cumin

2tsp Cajun seasoning

1 x 400g tin black-eyed beans, drained

1 x 400g tin pinto beans, drained

1 x 200g tin sweetcorn, drained

500ml tomato passata

8 small soft wholewheat tortillas

2 x 125g balls mozzarella cheese

30g fresh coriander, chopped

240ml soured cream

150g Cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 avocados

4 lime wedges

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, red peppers, chilli, garlic, cumin and Cajun seasoning. Season well and cook for four to five minutes. Add the beans and sweetcorn and mix well, mashing the beans slightly. Mix through four tablespoons of passata, then transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool slightly.

Lay the tortillas on a board and divide the cooled bean mixture between them. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with the coriander. Roll the tortillas up carefully and lay them in a tray. Pour over the remaining passata and dot over the soured cream, then top with the grated Cheddar cheese.

Either cover tightly with cling film and freeze for up to a month, or cook in a preheated 200°C (fan 180°C) oven for 35 minutes, until bubbling.

Serve with mashed avocado and a wedge of fresh lime.

:: Blooming Delicious by Sophie Wright is published by Vermilion, £18.99. Available now.


Q: "When my three-year-old daughter's upset, or if she's been very good, I sometimes give her sweets or a biscuit as a reward or treat. Is there anything wrong with doing that?"

A: Dr Claire Farrow of Aston University recently co-authored a study into parents' feeding practices with Dr Emma Haycraft of Loughborough University and Jackie Blissett of the University of Birmingham.

Dr Farrow says: "Using food as a distraction because a child is upset on the odd occasion may have little impact on the child. However, if a child is given a biscuit or sweets every time they're upset, they may learn to use sweets and biscuits to cope with being upset.

"When this happens, it may be preferable to think about why your daughter's upset and if you can console her with a cuddle or by using a different distraction, rather than food.

"In terms of using food as a reward for being good; most children naturally prefer sweet or high-sugar foods and these foods are often used as treats (e.g. Easter eggs, birthday cakes), so children tend to be very keen on them already.

"If food is always used as a treat for good behaviour, this can reinforce children's preference for sweet foods even more because we tend to like things more when they're used as treats or rewards.

"So, if you're worried about how much sweet food your child eats, it might help to think about other rewards you could use instead of sweets and biscuits.

"As a parent, there's often a natural instinct to try and protect our young children from eating 'bad' foods: those high in fat, sugar or salt. Instead, we often use these food types as a treat or a reward, or even as a response to ease pain if children are upset. The evidence from our research shows that in doing this, we may be teaching children to use these foods to cope with their different emotions, and in turn unintentionally teaching them to emotionally eat later in life."



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