Most of us get confused on what to eat when you are pregnant. You are getting so much advice from everyone around, we don’t know what is actually good for us. Both mother and baby need to get all the necessary nutrients. Good eating habits have to be inculcated, if you are smoking or drinking alcohol then that has to stop. Caffeine has to be reduced as well. A pregnancy diet has to be planned and certain foods have to be avoided.
Indian food has so much variety; however certain common ingredients are recurrent. A nutritive diet will help the mother reduce chances of postpartum complications and will help in lactation. Let us explain what is required to eat when you are pregnant:
Milk and milk products are a must have when you are pregnant. Products such as yogurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese ( paneer), they are a great sources of protein, vitamins and calcium. Eat low fat dairy products if you are gaining too much weight. Always check with your doctor before including anything in your diet plan.
Lentils and Pulses
Protein comes from Dal, which is important to include in your diet. Especially for the vegetarian mothers, lentils intake has to be increased to keep up with the required protein.
Dry Fruits and Nuts
Starting the day with almonds is always a wise idea. Dry fruits are a great source of protein; the ones to consume are almonds, pistachios, dates and walnuts. If you are a vegetarian, you will need about 45 gm of nuts each day. However, if there is any allergy to nuts, then take advice from your doctor.
Fresh Seasonal Fruits
Fresh seasonal fruits are the perfect choice and are available easily. Fruits are healthy and provide essential vitamins and minerals. Watermelon works wonders to reduce morning sickness and dehydration. Fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, melons, and berries are the best sources of Vitamin C. Try and include at least 3 servings of fruits in a day.
Green, leafy vegetables are recommended during pregnancy as a source of many minerals. Spinach is a source of iron and the very important folic acid or vitamin B, in the first trimester it is essential. Other vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, and potatoes are loaded with vitamins A and C, folate, and minerals such as iron and magnesium. Vegetables are low fat and have fiber which will help keep the constipation away, a common symptom in pregnancy.
Water and other liquids
Water is a paramount to consume, make sure you keep yourself hydrated. Drink as much water and liquids as you can through the day. Fresh juices are recommended which are packed with minerals and vitamins. Packaged juices have a high amount of preservatives and should be avoided. Fruit infused with water is a refreshing choice.
Bread, Cereals, Rice and Pastas
Bread, cereals, rice and pastas contain complex carbohydrates which is an important source of energy. In addition to vitamins, minerals, and fiber which is also required. Pregnant women need 6 to 11 servings of daily from this group. Grains should be included as this helps in building the mothers and baby’s tissue.
Fish and meat must be included in the expecting mother’s diet. Not to forget the eggs, two eggs a day, is a good breakfast option. For the non-vegetarians meat, fish and eggs are the best source of concentrated proteins.
Fats and sweets
A pregnant woman’s diet should contain some amount of fat. The fat gives the body energy and prepares the mother for delivery. Vegetable oil has the essential unsaturated fats which is appropriate at this time. Fats should not make up more than 30 percent of your daily calories. Try and avoid too many sweets which have sweeteners and preservatives.
Keeping in mind a diet that contains these food groups will help you throughout the pregnancy. Overloading of fats and sweets is not recommended. Even though the suggested foods are considered healthy, your doctor will be the best person to assess your overall health and give you the green light.