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Should you be vegetarian during pregnancy?

November 9, 2021

10 minutes of reading

The key to the success of a vegetarian diet during pregnancy lies in designing a varied and nutritious meal plan!

We all know that being a vegetarian has many benefits. But is eating only whole grain bread without meat really healthy?

In today’s article, let’s listen to the sharing of Julia Zumpano, a female nutritionist from the United States, about tips that have helped her maintain good health during pregnancy and still maintain good health. style in vegetarianism.

Vegetarian diets are very nutritious due to:

  • Rich in fiber.
  • Contains many vitamins and minerals.
  • Contains less saturated fat and cholesterol.

However, nutritionist Zumpano says that the most difficult part of fasting during pregnancy is maintaining a steady increase in protein levels.

Protein is a very important ingredient, even if a woman is a vegetarian during pregnancy.

According to Ms. Zumpano, pregnant women need an average of 71-75 grams of protein per day. This level may increase if you are pregnant with multiples or under the influence of some other factors. Therefore, if you want to be a vegetarian during pregnancy and still ensure the amount of protein in your body, you need to find a nutritionist to know the specific amount of protein that your body needs.

She also shared: “From personal experience, I think it’s possible to be vegetarian during pregnancy, but you need to design a high-protein meal and add protein-containing supplements when needed. to make sure the body is not deficient in protein.

Vegetarianism means no meat, but some vegetarian diets still allow dairy and dairy products. Unlike a vegan diet, a pescatarian diet also includes seafood. So which of the above vegetarian methods is the best for pregnant women?

Ms. Zumpano shared her opinion: “I often advise pregnant women not to be too strict with their diet to ensure adequate absorption of nutrients. If a vegan pregnant woman wants to consume dairy and dairy products, I will still support this, as it is a way to get protein and calcium from a variety of food sources.”

Vegetarian diet during pregnancy should not be too strict.

Don’t worry too much if you are planning to be a vegetarian or don’t want to change your eating habits. To ensure adequate nutrients for the mother and baby’s body, you can add functional foods or use a popular and nutritious vegetarian dish such as tofu.

Pregnant women, whether vegetarian or not, need to ensure adequate multivitamins for the body. If a lack of substances such as calcium and vitamin B9 (also known as folate) is detected, it is necessary to use more functional foods.

To ensure adequate nutrients during pregnancy, the diet should include a variety of nutrients such as:

  • Uses: Supports bone and tooth development, muscle and nerve function.
  • Amount per day: 1000 mg.
  • Some foods containing calcium: Butter and milk products, fortified soy/rice milk, soybeans, figs or other calcium-rich foods.
  • Uses: Supports cell growth and prevents neural tube defects (NTDs).
  • Amount per day: 600 micrograms.
  • Some foods that contain vitamin B9: Green vegetables, wheat germ, legumes, orange juice and other foods rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Uses: Supports tissue growth and improves blood supply.
  • Amount per day: 48.6 mg.
  • Some foods that contain iron: Legumes, green vegetables, prunes, tofu and nutritious grains; It is best to use in combination with vitamin C supplements such as pepper or citrus fruits for better absorption by the body.
  • Uses: Supports nerve, brain and vision development.
  • Amount per day: DHA 200 mg (a type of omega-3). It’s best to use microalgae sources, including alga oil and fortified foods.
  • Some foods containing omega-3s: Fish (very rich in omega-3s), chia seeds, flaxseeds and other rich vitamins and minerals.
  • Uses: Supports tissue formation and cell regeneration.
  • Amount per day: from 71-75g.
  • Some foods that contain protein: Legumes or flaxseeds (lentils), soy products, nuts or peanut butter, eggs and products made with butter and milk.
  • Uses: Supports nerve cell growth and red blood cell count.
  • Amount per day: 2.6 mcg.
  • Some foods that contain vitamin B12: Fortified cereals and soy milk, milk and yogurt, fortified nutritional yeast and eggs.
  • Uses: Supports fetal bone development, taken with calcium.
  • Amount per day: 600 IU (15 mcg).
  • Some foods that contain iron: Cow’s milk, eggs and cereals, fortified cereals.
  • Uses: Supports tissue growth and function.
  • Amount used per day: 11 mg.
  • Some foods that contain zinc: Legumes, nuts, seeds, milk, hard cheeses and fortified cereals.
  • Uses: Supports hormone production.
  • Amount per day: 220 micrograms.
  • Some foods contain iodine: Iodized salt.

In addition, you should also avoid the following foods:

  • Contains alcohol: Increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight babies.
  • Contains stimulants: Do not consume more than 300 mg a day.
  • Contains chemical sweeteners: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the use of chemical additives and sugars during pregnancy. However, the use of chemical sweeteners (saccharin) should be avoided as it can cross the placenta and accumulate in fetal tissue.
  • Uncooked: Because pregnant women are at high risk of food poisoning, they should avoid consuming honey, raw nuts and seeds, unpasteurized milk, or eating raw eggs or soy products.

Plan ahead if you want to have a well-rounded vegetarian diet during your pregnancy! Nutritionist Zumpano suggests making a list of the fruits, vegetables, protein, and nuts you want to eat and building meals around that list.

She shared that: “The most difficult time to successfully follow a vegetarian diet is the first 3 months of pregnancy. Because during this period, pregnant women often feel uncomfortable and nauseous, so they often have no appetite or don’t feel good. So it’s almost impossible to fully complete a vegetarian diet during this period.”

To keep your pregnancy diet from becoming boring or monotonous, Ms. Zumpano recommends the following:

  • Drink juice: Juice contains high nutritional content, so it is very suitable for pregnant women’s health. She shared that “A bowl of kale is not something that any pregnant woman wants to eat, but drinking kale juice with lemon and ginger is very good for the body, and can even help ease the feeling of discomfort. bear in the stomach”.
  • Drink smoothies: Ms. Zumpano shared that throughout her pregnancy, she consumed a smoothie every day: “I usually put in my smoothies with plant-based protein powder, hemp seeds and Greek yogurt just to be sure. required amount of protein. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re getting plenty of important greens like kale and spinach.”
  • Eat snacks: “It must be difficult to consume a large serving when the body is feeling uncomfortable,” Ms. Zumpano said. Instead, try snacking every 3 or 4 hours a day.” She also recommends eating only whole foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, nuts, seeds, and eggs.
  • Trick the taste buds: Ms. Zumpano shared: “Add vegetables and protein to your body whenever possible, such as pureed vegetables or tofu to use as a dipping sauce; choose pasta made from beans; and make veggie patties with cheese, eggs, nutritional yeast, and beans. You can also eat rice with stir-fried vegetables or mixed with cauliflower rice. It’s also a great practice for moms to deal with stealthily cutting back on harmful foods later in life.

Eating well will be easier when you are through the first 3 months of pregnancy because at this time the body is gradually more stable and comfortable. However, you can still apply these tips to any stage of pregnancy to make sure your baby gets enough nutrients and is born healthy.

The following recipes can help you get started in developing a nutritionally complete diet:

  • Quinoa, black beans, rocket salad (aka arugula) and spinach cooked in ragu.
  • Baked cauliflower tacos.
  • Thai lettuce served with spicy cashew nut sauce.
  • Tofu, broccoli, and deep-fried shiitake mushrooms.
  • Vegetarian mini burger with Parmesan cheese and mint.
  • Burger filled with ginger and vegetables.

Source: Healthline

Charlie Rosales
Charlie Rosales
With the help of our online platform, aspiring agriculturalists can get in touch with knowledgeable experts who can mentor and teach them about the art and science of productive agriculture. everything from soil management and crop rotation to animal husbandry and plant genetics. Our user-friendly portal will help you select the ideal course to advance your knowledge of agriculture.

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