Pregnancy is a time for a woman to take her nutrition and health seriously. Whether you need to give yourself a nutrition makeover or you are already health savvy, your body is now the vessel for another life. This means that you have to ensure that everything you do is working towards making your body and your baby as healthy as possible.
If you are currently a vegetarian, then it is essential to learn what nutrients to incorporate during this crucial transitional stage, and the foods in which you will find them. The bottom line is that your body needs appropriate nutrients: enough calories, protein, iron, and vitamins and minerals, all of which can be derived from a plant-based diet!
Here are some key nutrient and food sources for a healthy vegetarian pregnancy:
Protein: You will need to increase your protein intake during pregnancy. This is crucial for the growth and development of the baby and to keep you satisfied as well. There are a variety of incredible vegetarian protein sources such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, tempeh, dark leafy greens, sea vegetables, organic eggs, and sheep’s milk. These foods are also great sources of Iron.
Caffeine should be completely avoided during pregnancy it interferes with your absorption of iron from vegetables. However, enjoying foods that are rich in vitamin C (fruits and vegetables) with meals has the opposite effect and actually helps your body to absorb iron.
Calcium: This is the most essential mineral for the health of a pregnant woman, as it helps to form the bones, teeth, and muscles of your growing baby. Calcium-rich sources of food include green leafy vegetables, sea vegetables, whole grains such as quinoa and millet, nuts, seeds, and organic dairy.
Folic Acid (Folate): This is crucial for forming red blood cells and also aids in the growth and reproduction of other cells, particularly in supporting the development of the baby’s nervous system. Folic acid also stimulates the mother’s appetite, which helps to maintain her overall nutrient intake. Sources include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and avocados!
Ensuring that you include foods that provide these main nutrients in your diet on a daily basis will keep you and your growing baby well-nourished. These are the key components to a complete and balanced diet and you can get them all from a variety of plant-based foods, so there is no need for concern, as you can safely be a vegetarian during your pregnancy!
On a personal note, I have yet to get pregnant myself and experience it as a vegetarian. However I feel with the foundation that I have I should have any problems maintaining and achieving optimal health for myself and my baby. I can’t wait to one day share this experience with you on my blog. I understand it is easier said then done to some, so I would love for those of you are veggie moms to share your experience with us below!
Orange-Avocado Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
½ cup arame, soaked
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup pure pomegranate juice
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 bunches baby arugula or mixed greens
3 oranges, segmented without membranes
1 avocado* cut into small cubes
1 cup chickpeas
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chopped parsley or mint
- Rinse arame and soak in a bowl of water for about 20 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out any remaining water. Discard soaking water.
- Mix together olive oil, orange juice, pomegranate juice and dijon mustard, honey, and cider vinegar.
- Transfer arame into a bowl with arugula, chickpeas, avocado and orange slices. Add dressing.
- Top with pumpkin seeds.
Avocados are rich in folic acid, an essential nutrient during pregnancy which is vital for the brain and nervous system of your baby. They are also rich in essential fatty acids, b vitamins, vitamin C, potassium. Avocados are high in fat (though the very good kind) and calories, so heap them on your plate only if you’re having trouble gaining weight.
Share you experience with us!
Did you have a vegetarian pregnancy? How was it. What challenges did you face if any!
What can you share or tell readers from your experience so that they are informed!