Meal guide for pregnant women living in hostels or temporary accommodation

pregnant women living in hostels or temporary accommodation

Some pregnant women may be living in hostels, bed, and breakfasts or other temporary accommodation and may find it difficult to store and cook food. It is useful to have some simple ideas for the healthy and cost-effective meal and snack choices for young women in this situation who may only have access to a kettle and a microwave for example, and for whom there may be limited opportunities to keep food cold.

Supporting pregnant women living in hostels or temporary accommodation 

One of the key messages for pregnant women is to drink some milk every day. If they are able to receive Healthy Start food vouchers, they can spend these on fresh whole milk and fresh fruit which can provide snacks throughout the day.

Other useful foods that require no refrigerated storage and limited preparation:
  • Eggs will keep safely at a cool room temperature for a week after buying them. If there are very limited facilities, eggs can be boiled in the kettle or cooked as scrambled egg easily in a microwave. If there is access to a frying pan and hob, bread soaked in egg and fried served with baked beans makes a cheap and wholesome meal.
  • Canned beans, peas and lentils (baked beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans, mixed bean salad, chili beans, lentils, and peas) are cost-effective and nutritious and can be eaten hot or cold.
  • Couscous can be simply made by pouring boiling water on it and leaving it to swell for a few minutes. Adding canned chickpeas and seasoning or a can of mixed bean salad to the couscous makes a tasty and simple meal.
  • Healthy Start food vouchers can be used to buy vegetables that can be eaten raw. (Carrots, peppers, cucumber, celery, broccoli, mushrooms and green leaves can all be eaten raw and can be a reasonable price if they are in season or bought at a market.) These can be dipped in houmous or low-fat soft cheese and eaten with any type of bread as a light meal.
  • If buying hot foods from takeaways, think about how you can add nutritional value. For example, if you buy a bag of chips to take home, can you have these with a fried egg and a tin of tomatoes? If you buy a portion of boiled rice, can you add some tinned fish and tinned sweetcorn to make a simple risotto?
  • Simple and nutritious sandwich fillings include houmous, mashed tinned fish, spreading cheese, peanut butter, mashed egg or mashed banana. Whole-meal bread has more nutrients and is more filling than white bread.
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