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During pregnancy, what would be the great foods that I could make for my wife? *(does not matter if it is morning, afternoon or dinner)

I have to choose and prepare the food. This is not my specialization and I would like to have some diversity in foods i make. She is undoubtedly a smarter person in the kitchen, but she can not answer a simple question : "What do you want to eat?", instead I have to ask : "Do you want to eat X".

I live in Europe, but my wife has Russian/Asian roots and and tends to eat somewhat spicier foods. I have found, that atm she likes soups and oven cooked foods.

I have guidelines like :

  • Do not use any citrus *(orange, mandarin, lemon) - she is hyper allergic
  • Do not use any nuts - she is hyper allergic to some
  • Do not use fatty, fried, and greasy foods - she avoids them
  • Do not use any unpasteurized milk products - they may cause Listeria infection
  • Do not use fish -
    • ex 1: she likes tuna, but where i live it contain high level of mercury
    • ex 2: she eats white fish, but not at the moment
  • Do not under cook foods *(or over cook)
    • ex 1: baby can get salmonella from under cooked eggs
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This seems far too broad (as the possible spectrum of answers is nearly everything) and too personal (as your wife has her own unique tastes) to be a good Stack Exchange question. –  justkt Dec 8 '13 at 14:08
    
A good way to gauge appropriate variety is to be sure you are cooking a rainbow of naturally colored foods. A little red (raspberries), orange (many squashes, sweet potato, or carrots, oranges. . . ) purple/blue (blueberries, blackberries, aubergine (though you'd have to eat the rind) purple grapes. . . ) Green (given. The darker the better) etc. Is a great plan. –  balanced mama Dec 8 '13 at 19:35
    
As this question stands, it reads as a request for suggestions for specific recipes, which is not really something that this site is suited to answer, and is specifically off-topic. Would you please consider rephrasing it to ask something a bit more general, such as nutrition guidelines or tips for planning meals that don't require a specific list of recipes? The answers you've received may help guide you to reword your question. I'm going to put this on hold for now, but please flag for moderator attention, or ping me with a comment starting with @Beofett, if you reword it. –  Beofett Dec 11 '13 at 14:06
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closed as too broad by justkt, balanced mama, Rory Alsop, Beofett Dec 11 '13 at 14:06

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

Obviously your wife's health is paramount and giving her things that she is allergic to is a bad idea.

Equally, I'm sure the advice to avoid (or severely limit) alcohol intake and not to smoke during pregnancy should be well publicised enough to be taken as read, but just in case.

The NHS (UK National Health Service) publishes a lot of advice online now and offers a balanced article which answers the question directly. It is regularly reviewed and also acts as an excellent starting point to explore further.

Source: NHS: Foods that can harm you or your baby
* Some types of cheese
* Pâté
* Raw or partially cooked eggs
* Raw or undercooked meat
* Cold cured meats
* Liver
* Supplements containing vitamin A
* Some types of fish
* Raw shellfish
* Sushi
* Peanuts
* Unpasteurised milk
* Foods with soil on them
* Caffeine

That is not a list of foods to avoid, merely subjects covered in the article and you should read it in full to understand what the actual advice is. Many of them are not a blanket 'avoid this' but explains when/why that food may or may not be safe.

Nuts is a good example - they are listed because advice to avoid them entirely during pregnancy was widely and actively publicised a few years ago, but research did not support that advice and the article has been amended to reflect that.

Aside from specific risks outlined changes to your diet should be minor. Making major changes to the fat content of your dishes (for example) is particularly unwarranted unless advised by a health professional taking into account your current circumstances, it may even be advised to increase the fat content.

Anecdotally: I can say the official advice you may get can be changeable and sometimes is based on flimsy evidence or is overblowing a risk which is so exceptionally slight that taking action to avoid it may bring about unforeseen risks. Overall the best advice is eat a HEALTHY BALANCED DIET, if you need a really simple rule of thumb then make sure you always eat five colours of fruit/veg every day, particularly foods which are rich in Iron.

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When I was pregnant, I was told, on average only 300-500 extra calories are needed for growing baby (this is variable depending on trimester, as well as the individuals involved of course), but adding extra fat probably is not recommended (unless things have changed) +1, however as otherwise this is a clear, thoughtful answer. –  balanced mama Dec 8 '13 at 17:00
    
Thanks for the feedback, my answer was more intended to stress that reducing fat intake (essentially going on a diet) was definitely a bad idea - if that's not coming through then I'll do an edit. :) –  James Snell Dec 8 '13 at 19:22
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The idea that big changes in diet aren't good came across. It is a great answer, I was responding only to the, "it may even be advised to increase the fat content" portion of your statement. Increase calories (though not by as much as many think), but not by fat intake - still by doing what you say in general "keeping it balanced." –  balanced mama Dec 8 '13 at 19:33
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"What shouldn't she eat?" is actually a much easier question, as the vast majority of foods are just fine during pregnancy.

The guidelines you have (no unpasteurized products, cook everything thoroughly) are the standard ones, but aside from that, let yourself be guided by her tastes.

Senses such as taste can dramatically change during pregnancy, becoming hypersensitive or losing sensitivity altogether. The tales of pregnant women eating odd items are pretty common.

My wife, for example, went right off spicy or smelly foods in the 2nd trimester, preferring to eat relatively bland, simple foods; but I have a friend who developed a craving for hot spicy foods.

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