It is not at all wrong to consume a vegetarian diet when you are pregnant. The one thing that you need to take care of is that your diet has to be balanced and it should provide you with all the nutrients. You should focus on consuming enough of nutrients – protein, iron, calcium, vitamins and folate. In some cases, you might have to rely only on supplements to make sure that you are getting enough of the nutrients. But, before doing that, you should always consult your doctor.
Proteins are very important for developing baby’s muscles, cells and tissues. To get the power of protein, you should include lentils, beans, quorn and nuts in your diet. If you are someone who eats eggs, you should consume well- cooked eggs and other dairy products. And, even if you do not consume eggs, you should make sure that protein is part of your diet, no matter what. You can try sweetcorn, avocado and quinoa salad, sweet potato, spinach and lentil dal, baked sweet potato with lentils, coconut quinoa and chia porridge, etc.
It is a very important nutrient. It plays a very important role during pregnancy. When you are pregnant, more and more blood is produced from your body so that required nutrients are delivered to your body through placenta. If you are a vegetarian, you should never compromise on your iron diet. You should include important sources of iron like green vegetables, pulses, eggs, dried fruits, cereals and bread. Also, include Vitamin C in your diet as it helps in the absorption of iron in your body. So, when you have finished your meal, make sure to have a glass of orange juice as it helps in the absorption of iron in your body. Try lentil ragu, pasta with asparagus and peas, tofu and spinach cannelloni, etc.
For the development of baby’s bones, teeth and cells, you should make sure that you have enough of calcium. If you eat dairy products, then you should eat cheese and yogurts. And if you do not eat dairy products, then you should focus on pulses, tofu, sesame seeds, and dried fruits- all these are a great source of calcium. Try dried fruit nuggets, tofu, mango and butternut curry, fruit and nut yogurt, etc.
No matter how rich- calcium foods you eat, it is very important that you also have a Vitamin D rich diet. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, make the most of it. In case the level of Vitamin D falls down, your body cannot absorb the calcium already digested in your body. Other sources of Vitamin D are meat, fish and eggs. As you follow a vegetarian diet, then you should get enough of sunlight as that will help in the absorption of Vitamin D in your body. Along with sunlight, it is very important for you to have Vitamin D supplements so as to ensure that your baby gets enough of Vitamin D for the development of the body parts.
Zinc could be found in legumes, nuts, whole grains, and cereals. Zinc can also be found from plant- based sources like that of sprouts and beans. Try fortified breakfast cereals, soy products, cheese, nuts and seeds.
Also known as folic acid, it is an important nutrient as it helps in the prevention of neural defects. In your first few weeks of pregnancy, you should include folate in your diet. Two most important sources of folate are green leafy vegetables and legumes.
For the development of baby’s brain, iodine plays a very important role. Some important sources of iodine are iodized salt, yogurt, cow’s milk. If you are not eating these due to some reason, you should make sure that your prenatal vitamin has iodine in it. Try dried seaweeds, iodized salt, etc.
This also plays a very important role in the development of the brain of the baby. You should include several servings of dairy foods in your diet, but if you are someone who is not eating enough of dairy products, then you can have it in the form of supplements or you should consume foods that are fortified with Vitamin B12. Try soy and plant milks and nutritional yeast.
Stress is your biggest enemy when you are pregnant. It is not only harmful to you, but also for your baby. It is very obvious that you will be bombarded with information during your pregnancy and you will feel different about the food that you eat. Sometimes, you might like that food and sometimes, you will hate it. To overcome that, you should meditate and relax.
We will also give you a sample vegetarian diet plan that will help you plan your day
Breakfast: For breakfast, you should include soymilk and raisins in your diet. Along with that, whole wheat bread with butter and a glass of fruit juice would be the best combination.
Lunch: For lunch, again you can have whole wheat bread with butter, baked tofu, two cups of salad. Along with this, make sure that you also include a fruit in your diet. It can be any seasonal fruit.
Dinner: Rice should be included in the menu. Along with it, green leafy vegetables like that of beans, broccoli should also be a part of your dinner. Do not forget to have 1 cup of soymilk as well.
Snacks: It is very important to have something after every 2 to 3 hours. And nothing beats snacks in that case. You can have nuts and dry fruits that will provide you with immense energy.
A healthy diet is very important when you are pregnant. Your body needs these nutrients in order for the proper growth and development of the baby. It is also very important to maintain a steady weight. Stay away from alcohol and tobacco related products. And make sure that you see your doctor regularly. The amount of caffeine and other beverages should be limited. Light exercises should also be done during pregnancy. You should do meditation and some asanas during your pregnancy.