Pregnancy requires all the nutrients for a complication-free journey of conception and a healthy baby. Following an Indian diet during pregnancy makes for a balanced and healthy choice of meals, whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. A balanced diet should ideally include food from all the major food groups, namely, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water.
An Indian food plan involving pulses, dairy, meat, fruits, vegetables, and liquids ensures that you get all the required nutrients. So if you are pregnant and tons of advice from people about ideal pregnancy food is making you confused between what to eat and what not to eat, then read on. This post will help you understand the Indian diet you may want to try during pregnancy.
The Right Indian Diet During Pregnancy
Once you are pregnant, it is rather important that you eat the right type of foods and in the right quantities. No one food group can provide your unborn baby and you with the nutrition that you need during these months. If you have been eating well till now, you are most likely on the right path already. However, if your diet was poor till now, or you were not including all nutrition groups in your everyday diet, you will have to make some changes.
An Indian diet for pregnancy is rich in all the nutritional requirements that both you and your baby need during the pregnancy months. It will help you gain the right amount of weight and will also provide your body the energy it needs to help support your baby as well as keep you healthy and fit and in good shape for the delivery.
Indian Food Sources For A Healthy Pregnancy
While you are looking for an Indian food during pregnancy, here are a few key food groups that you should aim to include in your everyday diet plan:
1. Milk And Other Milk Products:
Include foods such as whole milk or skimmed milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese (paneer). All these food items are rich sources protein, calcium, and vitamin B12.
2. Pulses, Dals, Cereals, Nuts And Whole Grains:
If you are not a meat eater, include pulses, dals, cereals, nuts and whole grains in your everyday diet to make up for your body’s requirement of protein. If you are a vegetarian, you will need about 45 gm of nuts each day, as well as about a two-third cup of pulses on a daily basis.
3. Fruits And Vegetables:
Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your everyday diet as it will help you gain your body’s required amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Make sure you have about five servings of each on a daily basis.
4. Fish, Meat, And Poultry:
If you eat meat and fish, make sure you include them in your everyday diet as well, as they will provide your body with the required amount of concentrated proteins.
While you are pregnant, you will need additional liquids to make sure that you are hydrated all the time. Drink as much water and liquids as you can through the day. You can simply have clean and filtered water throughout the day, or sip on infused water with fresh fruits. Avoid going for packaged juices as they are very high in their sweet content.
Eating fats will help your body get the energy it needs to help you support the growing baby as well as prepare your body for the delivery. Vegetable oil is a good source of fat as it has unsaturated fats. Butter and ghee (clarified butter) contain a lot of saturated fats, and hence you should have them in small amounts only.
How To Spread Out Your Diet Through The Day
To make sure that what you eat helps your body and also helps you stay interested, spread out your food through the day by following different food ideas. While you are pregnant, it is important to make sure that you first check about anything that you eat or drink with your doctor. Even though the suggested foods are considered healthy, your doctor will be the best person to assess your overall health and give you the go-ahead. Once you have a confirmation, here is how you can spread out the meal plan through the day:
1. Pre-Breakfast Snack:
- A glass of plain cow’s milk
- Almond milk
- Apple juice
- Tomato juice
- Bowl of fruits
- Wheat rava upma with lots of vegetables
- Poha with lots of vegetables
- Oats porridge
- Whole wheat toast with butter and omelet
- Vegetable omelet
- Paranthas with fillings of spinach, dal, potatoes, carrots, beans, cottage cheese, cheese with curd
- Mixed bean cutlet or patties
- Some fruits to go along with the breakfast such as apricots, dates, sweet fig, banana, oranges
- Cheese toast or cheese and vegetable sandwich
- Vegetable handvo
- Rice sevai with lots of vegetables
3. Mid-Morning Snack:
- Tomato soup
- Creamy spinach soup
- Carrot and beet soup
- Chicken soup
- Roti with choice of dal, vegetable and a bowl of curd
- Parantha with dal and a bowl of curd
- Carrot and peas parantha with a bowl of curd and some butter
- Jeera or pea rice with raita
- Rice, dal and vegetable with vegetable salad
- Lemon rice with peas and some vegetable salad
- Vegetable khichdi
- Chicken salad with lots of fresh vegetables or vegetable soup
- Chicken curry with rice
- Grilled chicken with a bowl of curd
- Rice, dal, mint raita and a fruit
- Kofta curry with rice
- Cottage cheese parantha with butter and vegetable salad
- Curd rice
- Parantha with sprouted beans salad
5. Evening Snack:
- Cheese and corn sandwich
- Vegetable idli
- Spinach and tomato idli
- Sevaiya with lots of vegetables
- Carrot or lauki halwa
- Fruit smoothie with fresh fruits such as banana or strawberry
- Roasted peanut mixture with vegetables
- Cauliflower and peas samosa
- Bread cutlet
- Chicken cutlet
- Chicken sandwich
- Chicken soup
- A bowl of dried dates or dry fruits
- A cup of green tea
- Milk porridge with oats, sevaior daliya
- Vegetable daliya
- Mixed vegetable uttapam
- Rice with dal, spinach vegetable, and some green salad
- Roti with a bowl of dal, a vegetable of choice and a glass of buttermilk
- Mixed dal khichdi with a vegetable curry and a bowl of curd
- Vegetable pulaoor chicken rice with a bowl of yogurt
- Plain parantha with a glass of buttermilk
Is It Important To Add Any Supplements To Your Indian Pregnancy Diet?
Your doctor will tell you whether or not you need to add any supplements to your diet while you are pregnant. Here are a few conditions in which your doctor may feel you would need a supplement, so make sure that you discuss it with your doctor:
- If you are too nauseous, it can be difficult for you to eat properly, especially in the first trimester. Your doctor may suggest that you go for a mineral and vitamin supplement along with your regular food, as it will help to give you the minerals and vitamins that are important during pregnancy.
- If you are a vegetarian or follow any other dietary restrictions due to religious or other reasons, you may be at the risk of contracting some nutritional deficiency. Speak to your doctor about the same to see if you need some supplements.
- One supplement that you will be asked to take while you are pregnant is folic acid. Taking a folic acid supplement while you are pregnant will help prevent various birth defects in your unborn baby, especially neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Your doctor will most likely prescribe you a folic acid supplement only after you are 12 weeks pregnant.
- In addition to folic acid supplements, your doctor will also prescribe you some iron supplements. Taking an iron supplement will make sure that your body gets the right amount of blood, and you are not deficient in your energy levels. Your doctor will regularly check your iron levels at each appointment to check the dosage of iron supplements that you need.
- Your doctor may also advise you about supplements depending on your medical condition, such as if you are suffering from diabetes, have anemia or have a history of pregnancy complications from earlier pregnancies.
A Few Tips To Remember While Eating During Your Pregnancy
Keeping a check on what you eat while you are pregnant is as important as understanding how you should eat it. Here are a few tips that will be of help, especially while you are pregnant:
- No matter what you want to eat, ensure you consult your doctor first. Something that is healthy for someone else who is pregnant may not be as safe or healthy for you. Your doctor will assess your medical condition and advise you accordingly.
- If you feel uncomfortable after eating something, or notice any rashes or redness on your face or skin, make a note of what you ate and keep it with you. Avoid eating it again and speak to your doctor about it.
- Do not give up on oil, ghee or butter for the fear of gaining excess weight. A little amount of fat is important for both you and your baby and you should have some each day while you are pregnant. If you are overweight, speak to your doctor about how much fat you can safely include in your diet.
- Make sure to have some amount of dry fruits in your everyday diet.
- Use salt in moderation, as having too much salt will make your body retain more water, which can further increase your swelling while you are pregnant.
- Add fruits to your everyday diet as your body will need the natural sugars that are present in fruits. Avoid eating too much sugar otherwise.
- Try to eat at home as much as you can and have fresh homemade food to avoid the risk of infection.
- Avoid eating pre-packaged heat-and-eat meals as these are heavily processed and are not a good food choice while you are pregnant.
- If you are buying a ready to eat a meal from outside, make sure to read the instructions on the package and also read the best before date so that you can eat it before the mentioned date.
- If you are buying a ready to eat meal from outside, make sure to read the instructions on the package and also read the best before date so that you can eat it before the mentioned date.
- If you are going to eat outside, check the ingredients that will be used in whatever meal you are ordering. It will help you identify food items that you are allergic to or that your doctor has asked you to avoid eating while you are pregnant.
- Make sure that while you are eating out, you choose a place that is clean and hygienic and you have food there before. If you want to eat out at a new place, avoid ordering anything exotic, especially if you are not sure about their kitchen and their overall food quality.
- Always inform the chef that you are pregnant so that they are equally wary of what they are making. You can also speak to the chef in person to find out about the ingredients that will be used.
- Wash your hands properly before chopping and cooking, as you can always have the risk of getting sick if your hands are not clean.
- Do not stay hungry and make sure to eat something or the other after every two hours or so, even if you do not feel hungry. While you are pregnant, you will tend to feel nauseous and may not want to eat at all. However, it is important that you keep eating something, especially if you have vomited, as otherwise you have the risk of getting dehydrated. Keep replenishing your body with liquids such as soups, fresh fruit juices or milkshakes.
- To avoid feeling bloated or too full and avoid any nausea attacks, space out your meals to six or seven meal times in the day. Keep the food portions to small portions at each meal time instead of having very big ones.
- Do not try to cut down on food while you are pregnant, thinking that it will help you lose weight later. If you eat right and include the right balance of nutrients in your daily diet while you are pregnant, it will help you reduce the baby fat later with much ease.
Consuming an Indian diet during pregnancy can be beneficial as this diet includes all the food groups. When planned right, an Indian diet could help you meet all the nutrients required for the growth and development of a fetus. Indian meals are versatile; therefore, you can choose the meal combinations you are comfortable with. However, if so many food choices seem overwhelming to you, seek the help of a dietitian to plan your meals. Let them know about your meal preferences, likes, and dislikes to help them plan a balanced diet for you. Also, consult your doctor regarding your food choices since they may suggest supplements based on your dietary choices and nutritional needs.