Are you an expectant vegetarian mum? Are you worried that you and your baby will be able to receive the right nutrients from the foods you eat? It’s important to work towards healthy weight gain and having a plan for it is perhaps the most effective way to achieve this.
A varied and balanced vegetarian diet should give enough nutrients for you and your baby during pregnancy.
It is important to note that there are different groups of vegetarians. These are:
- Vegan:-this diet includes fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, seeds and nuts. All animal sources of protein-including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and other dairy products are excluded from the diet.
- Lacto-vegetarian-the diet includes dairy products in addition to the foods listed in the vegan diet above. Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are excluded from the diet.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian-the diet includes dairy products and eggs in addition to the foods listed in the vegan diet. Meat, poultry and fish are excluded from the diet.
- Pescatarian-this diet includes dairy products and eggs in addition to the foods listed in the vegan diet. Meat and poultry are excluded but fish is allowed.
Meal Plan for Expectant Vegetarian Mums
If you are a vegan and pregnant, it is still possible for you and your baby to be healthy. However, you need to plan your diet carefully to ensure that you get enough Vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and iodine, nutrients which may be hard to get if you are not eating animal or dairy products.
You may need to visit a nutritionist to help you choose a meal plan that will benefit both you and your unborn baby.
Sources of Foods for Vegetarian Mums
For vegetarians, meat can be replaced by:
- Soya products
- Brown rice
- Nuts and seeds, which are all good plant proteins.
As a pregnant mum, you should aim to eat at least four-portions of calcium-rich foods every day which may include:
- Calcium-fortified soya milk
- Dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli
- Dried fruit
- Nuts and seeds
To get enough Vitamin D, use Vitamin-D enriched soya milk or margarine and take a Vitamin D supplement that is suitable for vegans in pregnancy.
Iron is also important and as a vegetarian, you need to look out for good sources of this nutrient. They include:
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Dried Fruits
- Wholemeal bread
Zinc which is essential for building blocks for DNA in the baby’s body can be obtained from:
- Sprouted grains and seeds
Good nutrition is required for both mother and child vegetarian or otherwise.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019
Sources: tommys, clevelandclinic, bbcgoodfood, webmd