Nutrition for Pregnancy 101

Nutrition for Pregnancy 101

Mental Health Gut Article

It can be an amazing experience to get pregnant and know that you are growing a life. But it can also be overwhelming as you begin considering what you can and can’t do, and what you can and can’t eat to ensure the health of both you and the new person growing inside of you.

To maintain a healthy pregnancy, you must be consuming approximately 300 extra calories each day. Ideally, these calories will come from a balanced diet of protein-rich foods, quality fats and oils, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Sweets and processed fats should be kept to a minimum. A healthy, well-balanced diet can also help to reduce some pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea and constipation.

So what is a healthy weight gain during pregnancy?

A woman who was average weight before getting pregnant should gain 25 to 35 pounds after becoming pregnant. Underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds. And overweight women may need to gain only 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.

In general, weight gain occurs as approximately 2 to 4 pounds during the first three months you’re pregnant and 1 pound a week during the rest of your pregnancy. If you are expecting twins you should gain 35 to 45 pounds during your pregnancy. This would be an average of 1 ½ pounds per week after the usual weight gain in the first three months.

But where does all this extra weight gain go? Here is the break down:

What To Eat To Support Pregnancy

As mentioned above,  eating a balanced diet with a variety of whole foods helps ensure that you are getting the full spectrum of nutrients to support you and your baby’s development. Consuming whole grains, clean and lean cuts of meat, good quality fish high in omega 3, raw nuts and seeds and lots of fruits and vegetables, are all really important. Some key nutrients and foods that are needed are highlighted below.

Eat Your Fruits And Vegetables

No surprise here! We all know fruits and vegetables are healthy for us! Set yourself the goal of “eating the rainbow”. Consume bright coloured fruits and vegetables of all different colours to get a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Pregnant women should focus on fruits and vegetables, , and consume between five and 10 tennis ball-size servings of produce every day.


Folate is a naturally-occurring B-vitamin that taken or consumed before and during early pregnancy reduces the chance of having a baby with a neural tube defect or other birth defects.

Foods high in folate include:

Romaine lettuce 2 cups = 152mcg
1 cup of spinach = 262 mcg
1 cup of asparagus = 262mcg
broccoli 1 cup = 93 mcg
lentils 1 cup = 358 mcg.

Taking folate or folic acid (the man-made version of folate) daily in a dose of at least 400 mcg for at least 2 to 3 months before trying to get pregnant and while you are pregnant is generally recommended for reducing birth defects and risk of anemia (2). Folic acid and/or folate are found in prenatal supplements. Some women need higher doses, and some women don’t synthesize folic acid into folate efficiently. Talk with your health professional about how much and what type of supplementation may be right for you.


You will need more iron during your pregnancy than you did before becoming pregnant. This extra iron supports the creation of additional blood in your system and supports the growth of the placenta and fetus.

Pregnant women are recommended to consume 27mg of iron a day, which is double the amount needed by women who are not expecting, according to ACOG. Getting too little iron during pregnancy can lead to anemia, a condition resulting in fatigue and an increased risk of infections. Most prenatal vitamins include iron.

There are two main types of iron, heme from meat sources and non-heme from vegetable sources. Meat sources are more easily absorbed into the body than vegetarian sources. But that doesn’t mean you don’t benefit from the vegetable sources!

Foods high in Iron include:

spinach 1 cup = 6.4mg,
swiss chard 1 cup = 35mg
lentils 1 cup = 6.6 mg

heme sources:
3 ounces of cooked beef = 2.1mg or more
3 ounces of canned sardines, canned in oil = 2.1mg

Often iron supplementation is recommended in addition to consuming iron-rich foods. However, some iron supplements can cause an upset stomach and constipation, depending on the form of iron present. Taking iron at bedtime may decrease the chance of stomach upset, as can using a more gentle formula. The body absorbs iron best in small amounts when eaten with vitamin C, so you may want to take your iron throughout the day in lower doses. Unfortunately, taking iron supplements in the first trimester may aggravate morning sickness. If morning sickness, constipation or upset stomach are a concern for you, talk to your health care provider, as there are many forms of available that may be better tolerated.


Calcium is needed for the development of your baby’s bones. You can get enough calcium in your diet by eating or drinking a variety of foods. Pregnant women age 19 and over need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.

Sources of calcium include:
Swiss chard 1 cup = 101.5mg
spinach 1c up = 245mg
= 447mg
Broccoli 1 cup = 74 mg
basil 2 tsp = 63mg

Calcium-fortified soy and rice beverages, canned fish with bones (such as salmon and sardines) and cooked beans, legumes, and lentils, are all good sources of calcium as well.

The Takeaways

To help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby ensure you’re consuming approximately 300 extra calories per day from whole food sources including “eating the rainbow” of fruits and vegetables every day. Focus on consuming or supplementing with enough folate, iron and calcium.

For more information to guide you through your pregnancy journey, please schedule an appointment with Koru nutrition today.

Beef & Broccoli

Beef & Broccoli

Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

Whether you are pregnant and looking for an iron-rich meal that won’t turn your stomach, or just really busy and need a quick and easy to prepare (but healthy!) meal – this Beef & Broccoli recipe has got you covered!

Some of the most important nutrients during pregnancy are:

  • iron
  • calcium, and
  • folate.

This recipe contains 3mg of iron, which equates to approximately 11% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for pregnant women and approximately 16% RDA for most adults; 115mg of calcium, which is approximately 10% RDA for pregnant women and 12% RDA for other adults; plus 103mcg of folate, which is approximately 17% RDA for pregnant women and about 26% RDA for all other adults.

This Beef and Broccoli dish also contains ginger, which not only tastes great, but can help with indigestion and nausea (from pregnancy or otherwise).

Also highlighted in this recipe is tons of broccoli which is a super food and high in fiber and many other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Because it is quick to prepare, taking only 15 minutes, it is a great option if you are feeling tired and fatigued.

This recipe is for 2 servings sizes, but you could easily double the recipe to have leftovers the next day or to serve your whole family. You can store leftovers sealed in the fridge for up to 3 days.

This Beef and Broccoli dish can also be served on a bed of brown rice or cauliflower rice.


Beef & Broccoli

Prep Time 6 mins
Cook Time 9 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 2 servings


  • 2⅔ fl ozs Bone Broth
  • 2 tbsps Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tsp Ginger fresh, minced
  • 1 tbsp Arrowroot Powder
  • ½ tsp Avacado Oil
  • 10 ozs Flank Steak sliced against the grain
  • 3 cups Broccoli florets, chopped


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger and arrowroot powder until no clumps remain.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the avocado oil. Once it is hot, add the steak slices and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for an additional minute. Add the broccoli, stir and then cover and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


Nutrition Per 1 Serving:
Calories - 345
Sugar - 6g
Fiber - 4g
Carbs - 17g
Fat - 15g
Protein - 36g
Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

This is a very simple and delicious broccoli salad to have as a lunch or a side dish at a main meal. It is fibre-rich, but still light and refreshing. Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat. Broccoli is very low in calories, providing only 31 calories per cup (91 grams). Broccoli is low in digestible carbs but provides a healthy amount of fibre, which promotes gut health and may reduce your risk of various diseases.

is also high in many vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, manganese, iron, and vitamins C and K1.

One of the most abundant and extensively studied plant compounds in broccoli is Sulforaphane, which has been shown to offer potential protection against various types of cancer.

Broccoli also contains carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene, which may all contribute to better eye health.

Kaempferol, an antioxidant in broccoli has many benefits for health, this compound may protect against heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and allergies.

Studies suggest that Isothiocyanates found in broccoli can affect liver enzymes, reduce oxidative stress, decrease inflammation, stimulate your immune system, and combat the development and growth of cancer.

Give this recipe a try. We hope you enjoy it!

Broccoli Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 8 cups Broccoli chopped into florets
  • ¼ cup Red Onion finely sliced
  • ¼ cup Tahini
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsps Water
  • cup Sunflower Seeds


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in your broccoli florets. Cover with a lid and boil for 2 - 3 minutes, or just until slightly tender. Strain and run under cold water.
  • Roughly chop the florets into pieces and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add in the red onion.
  • In a small jar, add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and water. Shake vigorously until well combined. Pour over the salad and toss well.
  • Sprinkle sunflower seeds over top of the salad and serve. Enjoy!


Likes it Sweet
Add dried cranberries or diced apple.
Meat Lover
Add bacon.
Nutrition Per 1 Serving:
Calories - 280
Sugar - 4g
Fiber - 8g
Carbs - 20g
Fat - 21g
Protein - 10g
10 Christmas Survival Tips

10 Christmas Survival Tips

Mental Health Gut Article

Stringing the lights on our houses and decorating our Christmas trees while watching the snow fall… it really is a magical time of the year. But, with all the Christmas wonder and excitement, this is the time that we tend to over indulge in food and beverages – which leads to struggle with putting on a few extra pounds.

This year will be different with social gatherings limited due to COVID, so it may seem like there’s not much else to do other than eat! At Koru, we want to make sure you can enjoy your Christmas festivities and food delights without over-indulging and feeling just as stuffed as your stuffed turkey! We just might be able to help you avoid that food coma…

So, let’s look at some ways to help you not feel stuffed like your turkey!

Here are 10 Christmas Survival tips: 

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Are you hungry or thirsty? Dehydration caused by not drinking enough water can be easily mistaken for hunger cues, which can be dangerous when you have a big meal ahead of you. Drinking water can fill you up and help to keep your portion sizes under control.
  2. Lighten up! Try making your traditional recipes a little lighter by using low-sodium chicken broth in the gravy and to baste the turkey. Try plain Greek yogurt in the mashed potatoes, dips and casseroles to benefit from the good bacterial cultures. Use sugar substitutes such as swerve, xylitol and pureed fruit in place of sugar in baked goods.
  3. Use a smaller plate. Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner – more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man! So, pay attention to your plating. Use a smaller plate because larger plates lead to larger food intake. Consider limiting yourself to one serving only. Besides, second helpings always taste better as leftovers the next day. Try dividing your plate into: 25% protein, 25% starches/grains, and 50% non-starchy vegetables.
  4. Let the body and brain connection catch up. Once dinner is done, it is suggested to wait 20 minutes until you indulge in anything else, such as second helpings and/or dessert. This will allow your brain to recognize how full you really are and hopefully avoid over-indulging and the potential food coma!
  5. Walk it off! How about instead of taking a nap after the feast, go for a walk around the block? Breathing in some fresh air and getting the blood pumping can help your digestion. This is also a great opportunity to get out of the house and avoid ongoing nibbling of food.
  6. Look at staggering your meal throughout the day. Maybe have appetizers at 11:00am, dinner at 2:00pm and dessert at 5:00pm. That way you space out your 3 course meal over the day and get to enjoy your dinner with a lot more time to relax and chill out afterwards.
  7. Focus on non starchy vegetables for dinner. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green beans are all wonderful traditional Christmas options. Plus, you can switch out mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower
  8. Fit in fitness this Christmas! Whether you are busy or bored, your fitness routine normally takes a major dip this time of year. We recommend completely changing your fitness routine during the holidays so that you force your body to adapt to something new, stay enthusiastic about fitness, and keep burning off that eggnog.
  9. Many of us consume more alcohol at Christmastime. At the very least, steer clear of sweet cocktails and creamy liqueurs. Have a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to keep down the calorie count – it also has the benefit of leaving you with a clearer head the next morning.
  10. Be mindful! Christmas is a time of plenty, and with nuts, chocolates, mince pies and cheese straws wherever you look, it would be rather Scrooge-like to suggest that you don’t eat any treats over the festive period! But rather than mindlessly popping whatever is in front of you into your mouth, spend a moment thinking about whether you really want it, or are just eating it because it’s there. Prioritize where you want to “indulge” and where other temptations can be avoided without much regret. Then truly savour those foods you choose to indulge in. Enjoy every bite!

Wishing you a happy, and healthy, holiday season from all of us at Koru Nutrition!

    Cauliflower Mash

    Cauliflower Mash

    Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

    A healthy alternative to mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower. But before you turn up your nose… you should give it a try, and have a think about the difference in calories, carbs and nutrients that you will be consuming.

    For example, in 1 cup of mashed potato there are approximately 210 calories and 33 grams of carbs. Conversely, in 1 cup of mashed cauliflower (from this recipe) there are only approximately 130 calories and only 16 grams of carbohydrates. 

    Now that is a massive difference! Especially if this meal is accompanied by alcohol and desserts and other starchy vegetables and creamy sauces… your calories easily add up and can become excessive. This is a tasty and easy swap out to help manage that growing calorie count.

    You don’t need to compromise on taste either. This recipe contains butter, garlic and thyme which adds a rich creamy texture and some holiday flavour to the dish.

    Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fibre and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer. It also contains fibre to enhance weight loss and digestion, choline that is essential for learning and memory, and many other important nutrients.

    An article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) places cauliflower 24th on a list of “powerhouse fruits and vegetables.” Just one cup of raw cauliflower will provide: 77 percent of daily vitamin C needs, 20 percent of daily vitamin K needs and 10 percent or more of daily needs for vitamin B6 and folate.

    So, will you add mashed cauliflower to your holiday table this year?

    Cauliflower Mash

    Prep Time 15 mins
    Cook Time 15 mins
    Total Time 30 mins
    Servings 4 servings


    • 1 head Cauliflower large, sliced into florets
    • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tbsps Butter
    • 1 tbsps Thyme
    • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste


    • Place cauliflower florets in a large steamer basket on the stove. Cover, bring to a boil and steam for 10 to 15 minutes, or until very soft.
    • Transfer steamed cauliflower to a food processor or blender along with the garlic, butter, thyme, salt and pepper. Process until desired texture. (If you like a chunkier mash, you can use a hand masher for this step.)
    • Divide between plates and top with extra butter if desired. Enjoy!


    More Carbs
    Make with half cauliflower and half mashed potatoes.
    Replace butter with olive oil.
    Make it Cheesy
    Add nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese to the mash (about 1 tbsp per serving).
    Nutrition Per 1 cup serving:
    Calories - 130
    Sugar - 3g
    Fiber - 6g
    Carbs - 16g
    Fat - 6g
    Protein - 6g
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    © 2020 Koru Nutrition Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Koru Nutrition logo 2

    © 2020 Koru Nutrition Inc. All Rights Reserved.