If you have ever been in a situation where your diet has been limited because you are of a religion, ethical or health reasons, it’s important to make sure you don’t miss out on any’must have’nutrients. Make sure you know what to eat during pregnancy so that you tick all the right food and nutrition boxes.
Vegetarians and vegan diets:
It’s possible to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy, but for safety reasons, you should:
Ensure you are consuming enough protein during your first few months as a mother. Your body’s requirement for protein increases by approximately 13 percent. It’s also a myth that good quality protein can only be found in animal sources. A plant-based diet may mean you are eating less saturated fat and more fiber. It’s important to include quinoa, soya, fish (if eaten), beans and lentils in your daily intake. Seed foods (such as runner beans, peas, corn or broccoli), nuts and seeds are also a useful source of protein. Make sure you consume other healthy portions of your diet including B vitamins found in green leafy vegetables, wheatgerm, brewer’s yeast, whole grains like oatmeal, beansprouts, bananas, avocados, nuts and mushrooms. You might consider taking vegan multivitamins to help ensure you’re getting all the essential vitamins necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Zinc can be found in foods such as chickpeas, brown rice, nuts and cheddar cheese, which is a good source for vegans who need to be sure they get enough of this important mineral. You can also eat beans and pulses, wild rice and soya beans, which are excellent sources of iron. A vegan diet is rich in calcium. This nutrient is easily accessible in a vegan diet with dietary choices including tofu, beans and pulses, lentils and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin D- which helps with absorption of calcium-is available in food that it is cooked with or drunk from sunlight. Although whole grains contain a small amount-you may want to consider taking a supplement since you won’t be able to meet your recommended daily allowance through food alone! Gluten-free:
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains. If you don’t have an allergy or intolerance and are just avoiding gluten for recommended reasons, then you will be avoiding wheat, spelled, oats, rye, barley and their related products such as malt vinegar.
Not all gluten-free diets are created equal. Even if you have no obvious allergic reactions to gluten, you may wish to follow a special diet during pregnancy in order to meet certain nutritional standards that have been suggested by some experts in the medical profession, such as providing your growing baby with greater vitamins and minerals. Different practitioners may advise different procedures, so talk things over with the people who know you and your body best — your doctor or midwife — before making any changes to your diet during pregnancy.
Our pregnancy healthy eating guidelines apply even though you may be avoiding gluten – just omit any items that contain gluten. You should eat at least four servings of wholegrain foods per day such as rice, millet, buckwheat and gluten-free oats, corn and quinoa.
There are many choices when it comes to gluten-free bread (which is slowly becoming a staple in most supermarkets), as well as gluten-free biscuits, which can be found occasionally at the confectionery aisle of our supermarket.
Many convenience and processed foods may be disguised with hidden gluten from items such as curry powder, pie filling, gravy powder or any soy sauce. Additionally, many people might be surprised to find out that beans, pudding, soup or some kinds of breads may contain wheat, which is essentially the same thing!
If you are wheat intolerant, then you’ll already be following a gluten-free diet. Although it’s not always necessary to cut out the grains entirely, some people may choose to eliminate them entirely from their diets during their pregnancy in order to ensure that their health is optimized. Some grains contain higher amounts of gluten than others, and wheat contains the highest amount of all!
If you don’t eat wheat, you might be wondering exactly which products from our Cereal collection are safe for you to consume. In fact, they’re all gluten-free (except for our Flakes and Oat Clusters) – and so are our cereals made with grains other than wheat, including corn flakes, rice cereal, and oat clusters.
100% rye breads and gluten-free breads are becoming more and more popular in supermarkets around the world.
If you are allergic to wheat and on a gluten-free diet, you will need to read labels more thoroughly. Many processed foods include wheat as an ingredient. Try and follow a diet that includes as much food as possible in the most natural state.
The most common reason to follow a dairy free diet is due to lactose intolerance (a result of being unable to produce the enzyme called lactase that breaks down the sugars found in milk) or an allergy to cow’s milk protein.
It’s important that you make sure you’re getting the proper amounts of calcium while avoiding dairy. There are plenty of non-dairy foods and beverages that have calcium in them, like green leafy vegetables, sardines, tofu and almonds. Make sure you throw a few servings of these into each meal, so you can get all the calcium your growing baby needs! The easiest way to ensure this is to look for a prenatal vitamin that contains around 1200 mg of calcium.
Avoid all products that contain dairy, like Quiché, lasagna, canned soups, biscuits and cakes, and pie crusts. Also, keep an eye out for cereals that may have dried milk in them.
When it comes to what you choose to eat, you always want to keep your baby’s best interests at the forefront. Your baby needs a healthy recharge when it comes time to nurse and so your responsibility as a pregnant mother is never more crucial!
Alexandra McCabe runs a company called FittaMamma. They are the healthy pregnancy experts. FittaMamma is a free resource to help women enjoy an active pregnancy with workout videos, recipes, and step-by-step yoga guides. This blog will teach you how to prepare your body for pregnancy and guide you through all the special nutrition needs of expectant mothers when it comes to what they can eat when they’re expecting.