With 31% of Indians being vegetarian, it should come as no surprise that it is possible to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and baby when following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Vegetarian moms-to-be can grow babies as well as any meat eating mom-to-be can. In fact, some experts believe that vegetarian diets can provide higher quality nutrition as most of the nutrients come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. What it may become challenging is when it comes to the consumption of protein when you are a vegetarian and protein and calcium when you are a vegan. It is also important to ensure that sufficient quantities of iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D are consumed.
There is no question that meat eaters have an easier time at getting their quota of protein than vegans or vegetarians. But if a vegetarian chooses the right foods, it is not difficult to get one’s recommended protein quota for the day. For this, vegans and vegetarians will have to look to legumes or daals, whole grains, nuts and soy for their fill of protein.
2.Legumes or Daals
Right from chole, to rajma to moong and urad daal, the Indian diet offers a tremendous variety of protein rich legumes which are also well endowed in the flavour department. These are chock-full of proteins and can be easily included in just about any dish that you prepare. If you are vegan or a strict vegetarian, which means that eggs are not included in your diet; ensure that you get at least one serving of some form of a daal once a day.
Soy products have become the newest rage as a source of protein for a predominantly vegetarian Indian diet. Tofu or soy bean curd makes an excellent substitute for paneer in North Indian dishes. South Indians can enjoy sweets made from tofu as they lend themselves to dishes that use curdled milk or khoa.
Besides being a tremendous source of protein, nuts are also rich in omega-3 fats that are essential for your baby’s brain development. Nuts such as cashews, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts are a great addition to any snack during the day.