Cravings, nausea and the need to have a nutritious diet to nourish your baby are all key aspects of maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy. Here, two local chefs share some of their own delicious suggestions for mums-to-be.

Forest Leong - Forest (Resorts World Sentosa)

A bowl of boiled bird's nest soup on a wooden table

Besides being a consultant chef to this contemporary Chinese restaurant, Forest Leong holds private cooking lessons by appointment, and plans to start classes on confinement food, recognising the importance of good nutrition in pregnancy.

Being Thai, Leong does not believe in restricting expectant women from consuming certain foods. “They can eat anything,” she insists. “Just make sure that the food is fresh, clean and cooked properly.” That means no raw food and no canned or preserved goods. She also advises pregnant women to take medical advice early on in their pregnancy so that they can adjust their diet accordingly.

For some women, pregnancy brings nausea, which can make it difficult to want to eat. But although it is widely thought that eating for two is required, medical advice is that mums-to-be only need to consume an extra 300 calories a day.

When she was pregnant, Forest was fed simple meals of stir-fried vegetables, steamed fish and double-boiled soups prepared by her mother-in-law, but found she could not eat much because she suffered from frequent sickness. Bland foods like bird’s nest soup are easier on a nauseous stomach, which is why she appreciated her husband, Sam, the former executive chef of the Tung Lok Group making it for her. There are many myths about foods that mums-to-be should eat while they are pregnant, so sound advice is to consult a doctor to ensure a nutritious meal plan for mum and baby.

Related: Debunking 5 Common Pregnancy Food Myths

Edward Hoe - Violet Herbs (Tras Street)

Baked scallop served on a seashell with a wedge of lemon on the side

This restaurant, named by Wine & Dine magazine as one of Singapore’s top restaurants in 2015, is in the running for New Restaurant of the Year at the 2016 World Gourmet Summit. Chef-owner Edward Hoe helms the kitchen, while his wife, Danni, manages the front of house.

Hoe shares Leong’s opinion (one that is also shared by medical professionals) that expectant women should avoid raw meat and shellfish. “Raw or undercooked meat is risky in pregnancy,” he says. This means no rare beef — but pregnant diners who crave the most tender meat can enjoy the restaurant’s wagyu beef cheek prepared sous vide-style, which is cooked through but still soft. When food is cooked sous vide it reaches a temperature where bacteria is eliminated, so it is safe for pregnant women to eat.

Another tasty item from the restaurant’s menu Edward recommends for pregnant diners would be pistachio- and herb-encrusted scallops. This particular dish is full of vitamins and minerals, yet low in fat, he says. Furthermore, pistachios (like many nuts) are full of protein and fibre, which encourage the development of the baby’s tissues and prevents constipation in the mother.

Eating a nutritious diet is an important part of pregnancy, with more than 30 nutrients required to keep mum-to-be feeling well, and to promote the growth of her baby.

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