So you’re pregnant and vegetarian – double whammy. As if your diet wasn’t already tricky, you’ve now got to contend with cravings and getting enough nutrients for your baby. You’ll have to deal with people stressing the importance of meat for your unborn baby, but just laugh them off. We’re here to tell you it can be done. A bit of extra work, but yes, a vegetarian pregnancy isn’t really that big of a deal. If you make a food plan, and eat the right amount of calories for you and your baby, your pregnancy will go just as smoothly as a non-vegetarian. Knowing what extra food sources you’ll need, on top of everything else you need to know food-wise, will ensure your confidence in your baby’s health throughout the entire pregnancy. Here are the top tips for making a vegetarian pregnancy easy…! see also : Pregnancy Superfood – The Four B’s
Foods for a vegetarian pregnancy
- Protein – Protein is essential to both build and repair muscles, tissues, hair and organs. It ensures the effective maintenance of immune and hormone systems, and is vital to help the baby grow. Protein for vegetarians can be sourced from nuts, eggs, seeds, legumes, dried beans and lentils. Protein also comes from soy, which has a similar amount of protein to meat. Soy based products like tofu and soy milk are therefore great for vegetarian pregnancy development.
- Iron – Throughout pregnancy, iron is important to produce extra red blood cells to cater for the growth of the baby. This is crucial during the third trimester where the foetus starts to store iron to use during the first six months of their life. You can find iron in leafy green veggies like spinach and boc choy, wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread.
- Fats – Polyunsaturated fats are vital for a vegetarian pregnancy because they include essential fats like Omega 3 and 6. These fats are necessary for the brain development of the baby. Omega 3 is found in flax, linseed, soy oil, while Omega 6 is found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado.
- Vitamin C – This vitamin is essential for vegetarian pregnancy as it increases the body’s ability to absorb iron from iron-rich foods. With vegetarians not eating many foods high in iron, Vitamin C is even more important to help absorption. Find your hits of Vitamin C in fruits such as berries, oranges, kiwifruit and mango, and vegetables like capsicum, tomato, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
- Calcium – Dairy is a major food source for the development of the baby, as well as supporting the health of your bones during your vegetarian pregnancy. Make sure you’re getting plenty of dairy products into your diet, as well as green leafy veggies and dried fruit such as figs. Also, try and avoid caffeine, as it inhibits calcium absorption. And for the full-blown vegans who say no to dairy, a calcium-fortified soy milk or calcium supplement is something worth considering.
There are a lot of things to think of when you’re pregnant – the sex, the colour of their room, how to assemble a cot – but when it comes to a vegetarian pregnancy, there are a few extra things to add to the list. Ensuring you and your baby are getting the right amount of nutrients to support healthy development of the baby is top priority. So whether its through foods or supplements, be sure to find out what diet plans to follow. A vegetarian pregnancy doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t matter if you eat meat or not, wear maternity clothes or buy the right educational toys. Take care of yourself, and you’ll be taking care of bub. In the end, that’s all that matters. see also : The Importance of Water During Pregnancy