Perfect Indian Diet Plan for Healthy Pregnancy
A new mother is surrounded by people advising her on healthy eating during pregnancy. Even those who have not experienced pregnancy advice about an ideal diet plan for an expectant woman.
First of all, educate yourself which nutrients are most important during pregnancy for a healthy development of your baby e.g. Folic Acid, Proteins and Iron are the most important nutrients for a pregnant woman. Know more about Nutrients during Pregnancy here
Super Healthy Foods to Eat during Pregnancy
Below foods are selected based on common nutrients needs of Indian Pregnant women.
1. Soaked Almonds:
Soak almonds overnight and eat the first thing in the morning.
Soaked almonds are great antioxidants that slow down the cell damage process due to free radicals that may cause inflammation and aging. Also, these almonds are easy-to-digest and hence suitable for new moms. Eating soaked almonds regularly helps you achieve control over your hunger, avail the goodness of Vitamin E, balances the cholesterol level in the body and much more.
2. Beet Roots:
For healthy levels of hemoglobins
Beetroots are immunity boosters. This superfood is rich in iron and hence prevents Anaemia in pregnant women. It also boosts the metabolism and adds to the growth of the foetus. Beetroots also prevent the liver from various diseases.
3. Moringa Leaves:
Super nutritious for Pregnant women.
Moringa leaves are full of nutrients including Vit A, Zinc, Calcium, Potassium etc. Pregnant women need an adequate amount of nutrients in everyday diet and moringa leaves are a great fit in the pregnancy dietary list. Even after pregnancy, it aids to sufficient breast milk production.
4. Figs / Dates / Walnuts
Figs help in getting relief from one of the most annoying symptoms during the first trimester, morning sickness. It is the powerhouse of nutrients and one of the healthiest foods for expectant moms. Walnuts are good for baby’s brain development and meet the nutritional requirements of an expectant mom. Dates are high in protein which helps in cell development of the baby.
5. Milk/ Yogurt
During pregnancy, issues related to bones are very common. Calcium present in milk helps an expectant mom stay strong and fit during this phase. Also, yogurt is very nutritional for pregnant women. It contains probiotic bacteria that help to fight with some harmful metals in the body like arsenic and mercury.
6. Millets like Ragi / Bajara / Jowar
Millets like Bajra, Jowar and Ragi are wonder foods that a pregnant woman must include in her diet. Millets are good for blood pressure, heart, weight loss and skin. They are great antioxidants. Even after the childbirth, millets aids in the production of breast milk.
7. Seeds: Chia Seeds and Makhana (Lotus Seeds)
Chia seeds contain many essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, protein, phosphorus etc. They are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Also, Makhana or Lotus seeds are very helpful during pregnancy. They are vitamin and fibre-rich foods.
Read more about healthy foods during pregnancy here Also Calcium Rich Fruits
Typical Healthy Diet Plan during Pregnancy
Breakfast at around 8 am:
Drink: 1 cup of milk and optional 1 cup of fruit juice
Must: 3-5 almonds soaked overnight,
Any 1 to 2 servings out of below 3 types
Western menu:: 2 slices of whole wheat bread with butter or as a sandwich, oatmeal with dry fruits and/or fresh fruits, corn flakes with dry fruits and/or fresh fruits, healthy salads like: boiled sweetcorn with red bell pepper and lightly cooked broccoli, baked potato.
Indian Menu: Lightly cooked sprouted moong beans, poha, veg upma, whole wheat sheera with dry fruits, whole wheat sevaiyan, veg vermicelli upma, veg stuffed paratha, idali-sambhar, dosa-sambhar, moong dal dhokla, raggi porridge, thalipith of multigrain atta and vegetables, mixed dal and vegetable daliya.
Non veg: Boiled egg/omelette(Important note: make sure eggs are thoroughly cooked)
Light snack at around 10 am:
Coconut water, low fat cottage cheese, oatmeal cookies, healthy laddoo(e.g. dryfruits coconut), banana, figs or any fruit, lassi, fruit lassi, veg soup
Lunch at around 12-1pm:
Veg soup, salad, one bowl curd, dal, rice, sabzi/curry, chapatti. (Leafy green vegetable is a must)
Light snack At around 4pm
Dinner at around 7-8pm:
Easy to digest salad, dal, rice, chapatti, vegetable subzi/curry
Before sleeping at around 10pm: 1 cup of Milk with date syrup/protein powder
1. As a pregnant woman you need no extra calories during first trimester, about 350 extra a day in the 2nd trimester, about 450 extra calories a day in the 3rd trimester. You should not overload yourself with fat rich food.
2. It’s very beneficial to have vegetables and grains (like wheat or rice) in your breakfast too. A healthy start of a day for a fetus is as important as for any grownup child.
3. Consume these food items daily: 2-3 walnuts, almonds soaked in water overnight, banana/fig, spinach/fenugreek, raggi, sprouted beans sp. Moong
4. Ghee has DHA, its good for your baby but remember to limit daily intake.
5. If you are a non-vegetarian then include these items (well cooked) in your diet regularly: Eggs (one daily), omega 3 fatty acid rich fish like Salmon/Rawas/Rohu , Chicken liver, Mutton liver.
6. Replace sugar with jaggery wherever possible.
7. Consume less of this: tea/coffee, spices, chilly, junk food, deep fried foods
8. Replace spicy pickles and spicy chutneys with healthy chutneys (with nearly no chilly) like coconut + garlic, sesame + garlic, Kaarale/Khurasani (thistle seeds ), Jawas (Flax seed) garlic-onion chutney
9. In case you have morning sickness or nausea then have these: Lemon, ginger, herbal tea (peppermint tea), fennel seeds, Amla
Why breakfast is important for Pregnant Women?
1. Your baby is growing rapidly and constantly inside you, the development is going on 24 hours a day. When you wake up in the morning you need to refuel and replenish your body, and recover the long break of the night.
2 . The breakfast is the most important source of all nutrients and the energy. Whatever you eat first is going to be absorbed very effectively. So, select the healthiest item of the day as your first food e.g. almonds soaked in water overnight.
3. Having breakfast actually helps you to prevent and reduce morning sickness. Even if you don’t feel like eating in case of nausea, eating something healthy is a must.
4. With healthy and timely breakfast you get: steady and normal body sugar level, heart health for you and your baby, and help in prevention of excess body weight.
What Not to Eat during Pregnancy
As we all know, pregnancy is a very crucial phase and whatever an expectant mom eats, affects the baby. It is very important to choose your foods wisely considering your own health, baby’s health and development and the side effects that certain foods may cause. There are some foods that are must-haves, some can be eaten once in a while some don’t deserve a place at all in a pregnant woman’s diet list. Below are some foods that an expectant momma should avoid to keep the risks at the bay.
1. Fish high in Mercury
: Read more about fish during pregnancy here
Some fishes are not suitable for expectant moms even after being nutritious. Fishes that are rich in mercury, are harmful for a pregnant woman and her baby in the womb. Mercury can damage many body parts including nerves, brain, lungs and kidneys. Some fishes that are rich in mercury are:
2. Uncooked Eggs
Not only uncooked eggs, but any uncooked food is a threat to an expectant mom’s health. Uncooked eggs may carry bacteria and other micro-organisms like salmonella that may cause health issues. Also, uncooked eggs may trigger some allergies like heaves, rashes and congestion in nose.
3. Heavy to digest foods (raw sprouts etc) / Junk Foods / Foods having MSG / Canned foods / Aerated Drinks
4. Unpasteurized Dairy Products
Now after getting loads of advice on dos and don’ts of pregnancy diet you must be wondering exactly when and how much you should be eating. Right? Find out what a day of healthy eating during your pregnancy should look like.
Below are a few recommended healthy food choices and good times to have them especially for Indian pregnant women.
Having food at the right time is as important as having balanced, nutritious food. Make a suitable diet plan for yourself and stick to it. Having a variety of vegetables and fruits can cover your nutritional need better. You should always consult your doctor before making drastic changes in your diet during pregnancy. Also, you might have or developed an allergy for certain foods during pregnancy for which you want to be careful. Enjoy your pregnancy days with healthy foods!