Time has flown by and I am firmly into the third trimester of my first pregnancy! I am 31 weeks on Saturday with only 9 weeks to go until my due date!! Everything is going really well and I have been enjoying getting my appetite (I am craving spicy foods like crazy!! Hot chilli sauce on everything please!) and my energy back, although my bed time is definitely no later than 8.30pm these days haha. Here is my latest bump photo comparison – week 8 vs week 30!, can’t believe how much my body has changed! In your third trimester you are told to eat a lot of calcium rich foods as this is the time when the baby is strengthening his bones, muscles and teeth, in fact he is drawing around 300mg from your body every day so if you don’t take in enough calcium this will be taken from your bone store and can cause osteoporosis later in life. I have a very varied diet so I felt I was getting enough vitamins etc however calcium is one of those minerals that I don’t have a huge knowledge of. I know in the mainstream food world when people say calcium you think of milk and cheese, but what about vegans or people like me who are lactose intolerant? So I decided to look into it further. I discovered that a huge amount of plant-based ingredients contain calcium and it is easy to include lots of them in your everyday diet if eating a balanced, varied diet. Here are a few of the stars:
- Kale: Of course! The king of the vegetable world and pretty much great for every dietary need! 1 cup of Kale contains approx 180mg of calcium. It also is great for Iron, fibre and vitamin K, A and C. It is anti inflammatory and full of anti oxidants! My fave kale recipe from veghotpot is my kale, butterbean and pesto stromboli which would satisfy my carby cravings and my calcium needs.
- Fortified Orange Juice: fortified foods contain added vitamins and minerals that don’t naturally occur in those foods. Another fortified ingredient with added calcium is dairy free milk. This is helpful if you want to have cereals with a glass of juice each morning. Or you could just eat an orange, which will contain around 65mg per fruit.
- Tahini: two tablespoons of tahini contain 130mg of calcium, or if you want it in an even more natural state 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds contain 88mg. Tahini is mainly known for its place in hummous however there are loads of great recipes out there using it more creatively. I used it to make a dressing for these carrot and coriander fritters
- Soy Beans: These contain 175mg of calcium in every cup! I found this interesting article on the worlds healthiest foods website about the research done on soy beans and their health benefits. One of the best ways to eat soy/ edamame beans in their original state is in an Asian inspired salad, such as this noodle salad!
- White Beans: White beans such as butter beans or chickpeas contain approx 190mg per cup and are extremely versatile. Add them to soups, pasta dishes, salads, mash them or purée them and turn into a nice dip!
- Dried Figs: Of all the dried fruits, figs rate the highest in their levels of calcium with 96mg in every 60g. This article on One Green Planet holds figs higher than dates when it comes it nutritional value. They are high in fibre, lower in sugar than other dried fruits and they have a wonderful subtle yet sweet flavour! I used them in this grown up chocolate rice krispie cake… not the most healthy but definitely delicious!!