If you are a vegetarian all along or choose to turn vegetarian during pregnancy, there is nothing to be concerned about. You can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby even with your all vegetarian diet. All you need to include is a balanced, nutritious meal plan which is sustainable and satisfying.
Some people assume that vegetarian diet is kind of boring and bland. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can cook it up and have it the way you like; traditional like your grandmother’s style or spruce it up a little by adding your own ingredients. As long as it is healthy and full of necessary nutrients, you can definitely enjoy it. Like they say, you should eat your food with all your senses. You should be able to enjoy what you eat, in order to make the most out of it. Nourish your body, mind and soul with everyday meals, even when you go vegetarian.
Here are some of the vital nutrients that your body needs during pregnancy and a list of these nutrient’s sources.
Protein is highly required for body building and development of both the mother and her baby. Beans are a rich source of protein and there are many varieties you can include. They are also high in zinc and iron. Lentils and tofu are other good sources of protein. Include quinoa and oatmeal too. You can have a variety of nuts, which also contain protein and healthy fats. If you have no issue with eggs, then you should have them regularly.
Calcium is a high requirement nutrient during pregnancy. You need to ensure you are getting enough of it throughout pregnancy. Body requires extra calcium for bone development of babies. If you don’t take enough, your body naturally starts to take calcium from your bones to tend to the requirements of fetus. This often leads to calcium deficit in mothers and other related problems later on. If you consume dairy products, then milk and milk products like yogurt can provide you with necessary calcium. If not, then you can include collard greens, tofu, leafy greens and mustard greens in your diet. Also, take your prenatal supplements regularly, to ensure your body is not deficit of calcium and vitamin D. You may also have fortified orange or other juices.
Iron is highly essential during pregnancy. It’s deficiency can lead to complications for both the mother and baby. Your body nearly doubles the production of blood during pregnancy. You should take enough iron to meet the increased demand. Include beans, oats, barley, raisins, quinoa, leafy greens such as spinach and sprouts. Also, take your iron supplements as prescribed by your doctor.
DHA and Vitamin B12
DHA, an omega 3 fatty acid and vitamin B12 are two vital nutrients which are mostly absent in vegetarian diets. These are required for brain growth and red blood cell development. You can obtain these from fortified cereals, leafy greens, walnuts and algae.
You must include lots of vegetables, fruits and green leafy vegetables in your regular meals. Try to add the required nutrient sources of foods to maintain a balance in each of your meals or at least each day. Avoiding junk and processed foods is another major step in ensuring a healthy pregnancy.