Pregnancy is period when a woman needs a balanced diet which would fulfil the nutritional needs of mother as well as of growing foetus. A good nutrition and healthy lifestyle would ensure a healthy, full term baby.
The “American Pregnancy Association” (as also the Indian Council for Medical Research) recommends that pregnant women should consume an additional 300-350 calories daily. Women should not diet and avoid binge eating during pregnancy. Follow a regular diet regime and eat at regular intervals. “Eat for two” is purely a myth: the key is moderation.
5 foods that must be included during pregnancy:
1. ALMONDS and WALNUTS: Almonds are rich source of vitamin E , magnesium ,calcium ,fibre, protein and essential fatty acids. Almonds should be soaked before consumption. Walnuts are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are required for brain development and also help to maintain a healthy heart.
5-8 almonds daily along with one walnut (soaked overnight or for 8 hours) is recommended for pregnant woman.
2. EGGS: Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods. They are very rich in nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin D, healthy fats, proteins, calcium and zinc. All these helps in overall growth and development of foetus
One egg contains 7 gm of complete protein.
Eggs should be fully cooked such as in full boiled egg, omelette etc. Avoid eggs in raw form.
3. QUINOA: It is a plant based gluten-free product, similar like a grain, which contains all the nine essential amino acids. It is rich in magnesium, B group vitamins including folic acid, fibre, iron , calcium ,phosphorous and vitamin E.
Expectant mothers who are vegetarian can include quinoa in their diet as it is a source of complete protein. It should be consumed in cooked form, not in raw sprouted form. Can be eaten in as porridge or boiled and added to salads etc.
4. BEETROOTS: Beetroots are rich in iron, vitamin C, and folic acid which help to prevent anaemia during pregnancy. They promote proper foetal development, formation of red blood cells in the foetus and prevent neural tube defects.
One can boil and have them as salads or as part of the vegetable/lentil soups etc.
5. RAGI: Ragi (nachini) is a cereal or grain which is highly beneficial for pregnant mothers. It is rich source of calcium, iron, folic acid, protein and complex carbohydrates.
It helps in formation of strong bones in developing foetus. It also helps in reducing risk of gestational diabetes. It helps in preventing constipation in the mothers. It also contains tryptophan which helps in better sleep during pregnancy.
It can be eaten in form of dosa, idli, chapatti, sheera, cheela etc.
There are many other foods that should be included in diet during pregnancy. like legumes, dairy foods, green leafy vegetables and whole grains, to make the diet wholesome and healthy.