All that you need to know about healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle at any time but is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow. You don’t need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need.
No one food group can provide your unborn baby and you with the nutrition that you need during these months. To fortify your body’s growing needs for nutrition, here are the key 6 food groups that you should aim to include in your everyday diet plan.
Food group 1 – Dairy Products
Dairy products are rich sources of protein, vitamin B12 and calcium. Whole milk/skimmed milk, yogurt/buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese and ghee are some important dairy products.
Food group 2 – Lentils, Pulses, Cereals, Whole Grains and Nuts
For the vegetarians, this food group is highly important as it gives the daily requirement of protein. An approximate amount of 45 gram of nuts and 2/3 cup of pulses should be eaten on daily basis.
Food group 3 – Fruits and Vegetables
Loaded with minerals, vitamins and fiber, intake of plenty of fruits and vegetables helps in digestion and can help prevent constipation. Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
Food group 4 – Fish, Poultry and Meat
The non-vegetarians can eat this healthy food group as it is loaded with concentrated proteins.
Food group 5 – Liquids
Make sure to have a lot of liquids during your pregnancy in order to keep yourself well hydrated. Fresh fruit juices, vegetable juices, tender coconut water, water infused with fresh fruits, lemons or mint leaves and water are good sources of liquids.
Food group 6 – Fats
Fats are essential too as they provide you the energy to support your growing child and to prepare your body for delivery. Vegetable oil is considered healthy as it has unsaturated fats. Ghee and Butter can be consumed in limited amounts as they have saturated fats.
Spreading your diet throughout the day
Here is a list of food items that can be shuffled regularly and made into a diet plan to ensure that you intake all types of food groups in various forms and avoid the monotony of eating same food time and again.
Start your day with nutritious breakfast as indicated below:
- 1 glass low-fat milk or butter milk or fortified orange juice
- Wheat rava upma with lots of vegetables
- Poha with lots of vegetables
- Oats porridge
- Whole wheat toast with butter and omelet
- Vegetable omelet
- Bowl of fruits
- Cheese toast or cheese and vegetable sandwich
- Tomato soup
- Spinach soup
- Creamy spinach soup
- Carrot and beet soup
- Chicken soup
You can choose from an array of dishes using pulses, dals, cereals, whole grains, nuts and fresh vegetables. You may have salads or a bowl of soup made of vegetables as a pre-lunch snack. Here are a few meal ideas:
- 2 rotis with dal, a bowl of curd and any vegetable curry like mix veg, kofta, paneer and other vegetables
- Any rice dish like jeera and pea rice, vegetable rice, khichdi or lemon rice with raita or plain curd rice
- 1 bowl palak paneer with roti or rice
- Parantha with fillings and a bowl of curd
- Rice, dal, mint raita and a fruit
- Grilled chicken with a bowl of curd
- 1 bowl chicken curry with roti and rice
- Chicken salad with lots of fresh vegetables or vegetable soup
- Fresh fruits or a fruit smoothie
- Munch a handful of walnuts, almonds or dates
- Freshly prepared fruit juices
- Whole-grains and low-sugar granola bars
- Vegetable or spinach idlis
- A bowl of dried dates or dry fruits
- A cup of green tea
- Milk porridge with oats
- Mixed vegetable uttapam
- Daliya or uttapam with vegetables
- Roasted chana
It is recommended that you keep your dinner light and eat early. Your dinner can include:
- Roti with a bowl of dal, a vegetable of choice and a glass of buttermilk
- Rice with dal, spinach vegetable, and some green salad and curd
- Vegetable pulao or chicken rice with vegetable raita
- Plain parantha with buttermilk
- Jowar/ bajra roti with ghee and raita – these grains are easy to digest
- Mixed dal khichdi with vegetable curry and bowl of curd
Pick a diet that packs the best nutrients for you and your baby. Ensure to consult your gynecologist or nutritionist before following any specific diet, so that you have a healthy pregnancy. Remember that a healthy diet and lifestyle can keep you well during pregnancy and give your baby the best possible start in life.