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If you are worried that your eating habits will get in the way of your developing baby, some information and a few smart changes will put you at a lot of ease. If you’re used to eating non-vegetarian foods, you can rest assured that you’re getting all the possible sources of nutrition there are. However, if you are a vegetarian, you might be worried that your diet would not cover several important sources of animal protein, so necessary for the development of the baby.
Well, you need not worry because it is possible to have a healthy vegetarian diet that doesn’t lack any nutrition at all. Here are a few ideas which we recommend you take up with a nutrition expert to replace the sources of animal protein with ones you can get from plant based foods and their correct amounts.
The growing foetus needs protein and calories. If you are at a healthy weight, the first trimester does not require you to gain a lot of weight. And from the second trimester, a gradual weight gain of a pound per week is considered healthy.
You need to maintain a careful balance of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and proteins. Replace animal proteins with nuts, Soy Products, legumes (Dals), Quinoa and paneer. Choose whole-grain breads, wheat based cereals, Brown Rice and fruits rich in fibre and starch for the calories you will need.
The 1200mg of calcium you need every day with almond milk, yoghurt and leafy greens in 4 servings. Throw in different formats like raita and lassi to keep things interesting. The Vitamin D can be soaked in naturally by sitting in early morning sunlight for 15 minutes 3-4 times a week. Supplements help as well, especially if you are already low in Vitamin D.
Good sources of iron include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, apples, sweet potatoes, dalia, kidney beans, raisins prunes and Dates. Whip up nutritious green smoothies with your favourite fruits for breakfast, toss the greens in your salads and have the prunes as an after dinner desert.
Include oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and green bell peppers to take care of this. Vitamin C also ups your immunity against the cold virus amongst others, so you can never have enough of this. Amla juice (without too much added sugar) is also a great source of Vitamin C.
This is probably the only nutrient you will absolutely need a supplement for, since this is largely found in animal proteins. You can get some B12 from dairy products but consult your healthcare provider for getting the adequate amount.
Sources of folic acid include dark, green, leafy vegetables, and legumes such as Rajma and chole. You may also want a good supplement for folic acid.
If you salad does not already include it, carrots with hummus is a great option to get some Vitamin, Dairy and Folic acid from the same meal. Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, spinach and turnips are also reliable sources for Vitamin A.
Get creative with your recipes and ask all the women around you to help you expand your range of dishes to suit your taste buds and prepare your body. You can see that by just paying attention to the right kind of nutrients found in vegetarian sources, you can replicate the effect of animal proteins and hence rest assured that your baby is getting all the necessary nutrients for his/her development!
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