Vegetarian diet in pregnancy: the rules of proper nutrition for you and your baby
Following a vegetarian diet during pregnancy is absolutely possible, the important thing is that it is (just like omnivores) a balanced diet. In fact, during pregnancy it is essential to introduce the calories and nutritional principles necessary to maintain good health and to ensure the formation of new tissues and energy reserves that will be used during breastfeeding.
A pregnant woman's caloric needs increase: in the second trimester she needs to consume 260 more calories per day, 500 in the third. More energy is needed! It is important to eat foods rich in nutrients, but low in sugar and fat. The vegetarian diet includes a wide variety of foods suitable for pregnancy such as whole grains, vegetable oils, legumes and soy, fruits and vegetables: if conducted properly it is really super healthy!
So let's find out together what are the pros and cons of a vegetarian diet during pregnancy, what is the most appropriate meal plan and what are the foods to avoid. But first, here's a video on what is best and what not to do in pregnancy:
The pros and cons of a vegetarian diet during pregnancy
Following a vegetarian diet during pregnancy has many positive aspects. First of all you should not fear some kind of food shortage, because the vegetarian diet, if followed properly, allows you to take all the nutrients that are needed by the body of both the mother and the child.
A "vegetarian diet, in fact, is potentially rich in very healthy foods that can only do you good. For example, preferring plant-based proteins to animal ones helps the functioning of the kidneys. This type of diet then favors the prevention of problems such as" hypertension, diabetes or obesity.
What are the drawbacks? None other than the extra effort required to make sure you are getting the right amount of minerals, vitamins and proteins your body needs for your baby's development. It will therefore be necessary to check the nutrients taken at each meal and plan them so that there are no deficiencies. In case, you can safely resort to supplements.
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Vegetarian nutrition: the foods that should not be missing during pregnancy
Every pregnant woman needs more vitamins and minerals than her previous habits were. So let's see what these fundamental nutrients are, what they are for and where to find them in a "healthy and balanced vegetarian diet:
- Vitamin B12 for the formation of red blood cells. It is found in eggs and cheeses.
- Folic acid for the formation of red blood cells and for the prevention of neural tube defects present in yeast, green vegetables, whole grains.
- Vitamin A necessary for fetal growth. Present in yellow-orange and dark green vegetables and fruits, in milk, butter, eggs, carrots, broccoli and spinach.
- Vitamin D essential for the construction of the child's skeleton and for the absorption of calcium. It is present in eggs, milk and its derivatives, in cod liver oil.
- Vitamin C to increase iron absorption. We find it in greater quantities in tomatoes, peppers, salads and fruit (especially citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis and currants).
- Calcium present in milk, cheese, green vegetables, legumes.
- Phosphorus contained in eggs, milk, cheese, whole grains.
- Iron especially in eggs, legumes, whole grains, green vegetables.
- Magnesium contained in whole grains, green vegetables.
Food plan for a correct vegetarian diet during pregnancy
First of all, bet everything on carbohydrates, essential to help the body recover energy. Cereals should never be missing at your table: bread, pasta or grains, try to take more and more from quarter to quarter. they will give a good boost!
Then increase the intake of proteins, essential for the growth of the baby. Also in this case, it will be necessary to take more and more during gestation. Eggs, tofu, soy milk: the choice is yours!
Don't worry about limiting fats, at least the healthy ones like nuts or seeds derivatives: they will help you feel fuller and more energetic. These foods also contain Omega 3, which is very important for the development of the baby's cells and nervous system.
On the other hand, be careful not to overdo the intake of whole foods and fiber in general: they slow down the absorption of mineral salts and vitamins. Choose peeled legumes and use the centrifuge for fruit and vegetables!
Vegetarian foods to avoid
In pregnancy, you know, hunger increases, but be careful not to eat too many sweets, especially packaged ones! These foods have little nutritional value and are not good for the body. The same goes for carbonated drinks.
Then avoid unpasteurized milk and cheese: they contain bacteria that could lead pregnant women, much more at risk, to get sick.
Finally, avoid raw vegetable sprouts or unpasteurized juices made with raw fruit or vegetables: even in this case, they may contain bacteria that are dangerous for your health. Better to avoid taking risks!
Vegetarian nutrition during pregnancy: some more tips
Here are some additional tips on how to best follow a vegetarian diet during pregnancy:
- Prefer foods that are not processed and easily digested.
- Eat slowly, chew slowly and don't lie down or sit down after eating but rather walk around or do small housework.
- Drink at least two liters of water a day, in small sips
- Use vegetable oils such as olive oil
- Habitually eat fresh vegetables and fruit, in season, for the supply of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
- Consume foods with a high biological value and rich in essential amino acids such as eggs and legumes on a daily basis.
- Take milk, alone or added to other foods, for its precious content of proteins, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A and D.
- Limit your consumption of coffee and tea as much as possible
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