best food for pregnant women
A Healthy Pregnancy Diet Plan Every Woman Should Know
Introduction Do you know that a pregnant woman requires approximately 300 extra calories per day to maintain a healthy pregnancy? Yes, that’s right! To gain these calories, one must follow the best diet for pregnant women, which includes whole grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Furthermore, sweets and unhealthy fats must be kept to a minimum. We know how challenging it is to carve out a balanced and healthy daily diet for pregnant women. Therefore, we bring you a list of beneficial foods and beverages for an ideal Indian diet for pregnant women. This food list takes care of the nutritional needs of the baby and ensures the holistic health of the mother-to-be. Diet for Pregnant Women: Pre-Breakfast Snack Ideas Dry fruits (10 to 12 pieces) One glass of cow milk (plain) Banana milkshake Almond milk Carrot juice Tomato juice Apple juice Breakfast Ideas Bowl of fruit salad (including apricots, apples, dates, banana, sweet fig, and oranges) Rava upma with vegetables Vegetable poha with chillas Oats with 2 boiled eggs Vegetable omelette Whole wheat toast, butter, and omelette Stuffed parathas (with fillings of potatoes, dal, spinach, carrots, paneer, or beans) with curd Cheese and vegetable sandwich Cheese toast Rice sevai with vegetables Vegetable khandvi Mid-Morning Snack Ideas Chicken soup Spinach soup Tomato soup Carrot and beetroot soup Creamy spinach soup Pumpkin (kaddu) soup Banana milkshake Diet for Pregnant Women: Lunch Ideas Plain paratha with curd and a bowl of dal Chapati with dal, curd, and a bowl of vegetable Peas and carrot stuffed paratha made with butter and a bowl of curd Vegetable khichdi Curd rice Rice and chicken curry Green peas pulao or jeera pulao with raita Rice, vegetables, and dal with a green salad Rice, dal, vegetable raita with one fruit Pea lemon rice with a green salad Chicken salad with vegetable soup Grilled chicken with curd Rice with kofta curry Paneer paratha made with butter and green salad Stuffed paratha with sprouts salad Evening Snack Ideas Chicken cutlet Bread cutlet Chicken sandwich Corn and cheese sandwich Roasted peanuts Dry fruits with dried dates Milk porridge with sevai, oats, or daliya Vegetable daliya Tomato and spinach idli Vegetable idli Mixed-veg uttapam Vegetable sevai Carrot halwa Lauki halwa Fresh fruit smoothie (banana or strawberry) A cup of green tea Dinner Ideas Chicken rice or vegetable pulao with a bowl of curd Mixed dal khichdi, curd, vegetable curry Rice, spinach veggie, dal, green salad Plain paratha with curd (or buttermilk) Roti, dal, vegetable of choice, curd (or buttermilk) Diet for Pregnant Women: Foods and Beverages to Consume Water: Drinking about 10 to 12 glasses of water is imperative during pregnancy. Adequate water helps the protective fluid (or amniotic fluid) around the foetus and boosts better digestion as well. Dairy products: They are loaded with rich nutrients like vitamins and calcium that assist the baby’s development. Leafy green vegetables and broccoli: Dark green vegetables like broccoli are a good source of folate, antioxidants, and vitamins, including A, B6, C, and K. They promote haemoglobin supply, healthy bones, and keep skin problems at bay. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta carotene (vitamin), which is vital for fetal growth and development. Salmon: Regular consumption of salmon must be included in the Indian diet for pregnant women as it can boost docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), commonly known as an omega-3 fatty acid. The need for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) increases during the third semester of pregnancy. Legumes: Enriched with plant-based nutrients like iron, protein, fibre, and calcium, legumes are a good source of plant-based nutrients that must be included in the daily diet of pregnant women. Eggs: Eggs are amongst the best sources of protein. They boost amino acids and choline, among other beneficial vitamins and minerals. Lean meat: A healthy diet for pregnant women must include good quality protein, which comes from lean meat. Lean meat has good amounts of iron, vitamin B, and essential minerals. Berries: Berries help in increasing your water intake as they pack lots of water and nutrients like healthy carbohydrates, fibres, and vitamin C. Dry fruits: A handful of dry fruits pack zinc, potassium, calcium, and fibre. They prevent constipation during pregnancy. Whole grains: The growing foetus requires minerals and vitamin B for its development. Whole grains are fortified with folic acid and provide essential nutrients required by the baby. Food and Beverages to Avoid During Pregnancy Unwashed food: Unwashed fruits, vegetables, and especially meat can expose you to toxoplasma gondii (a harmful parasite), which can cause serious complications in pregnancy. Caffeine: While chalking out the best diet for pregnant women, caffeine must always be kept out of the list! Caffeine is known to increase your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are detrimental and risky in pregnancy. Alcohol: Alcohol consumption can lead to structural defects in the baby. If a woman consumes alcohol in the first trimester, the chance of abnormal facial features in the baby rises. Processed junk foods: Junk food cravings are real and happen to all women during pregnancy. However, you must always stay away from processed junk foods (like cookies, candies, pizza, burgers, and baked goodies made from white flour) as they can increase the toxic acrylamide levels in the mother’s body. Unpasteurised foods: Unpasteurised foods, including fruit juice, milk, or cheese, may contain food-borne illnesses causing bacteria like E. coli, campylobacter jejuni, and listeria. Raw sprouts: Raw sprouts are not among the ideal diet for pregnant women, and their consumption can make you sick. Raw sprouts grow in warm and humid conditions, an environment that is conducive for bacteria to flourish. Raw or undercooked fish: Raw fish contain bacteria, parasites, and microorganisms, which exposes you to several illnesses. Undercooked and processed meat: Undercooked meat that carries microorganisms can make you sick. Processed meat that contains listeria bacteria can cause vomiting and food poisoning among pregnant women. Raw eggs: Raw eggs contain the bacteria called salmonella, and their consumption can lead to a host of health problems like food poisoning, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Conclusion Good eating habits in pregnancy have a long-lasting positive effect on your baby’s growth and development. A healthy diet for pregnant women also ensures a hassle-free pregnancy experience. Based on these suggestions, a personalized diet chart can be formulated in consultation with your doctor and dietician.