On a special diet through your pregnancy? You can still include all your prenatal vitamins… Read on for our restricted diet healthy pregnancy tips!
If your pregnancy diet is limited for religious, ethical or health reasons it’s important to make sure you don’t miss out on any ‘must have’ prenatal nutrients and vitamins. Make sure you know what to eat during pregnancy to meet all the nutritional requirements for you and your baby.
Vegetarians and vegan diets:
A well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet during pregnancy is totally achievable, with a little extra attention to make sure all those essential pregnancy nutrients are included in your diet:
- Your body needs around 13% extra protein during pregnancy, however it’s a myth that good quality protein can only be found in animal sources. Simply ensure you have 3 servings a day of quinoa, soya, fish (if eaten), beans and lentils. Seed foods (such as runner beans peas, corn or broccoli), nuts and seeds are also a useful source of protein.
- B vitamins are found in green leafy veg, wheatgerm, brewer’s yeast, wholegrains, beansprouts, bananas, avocados, nuts and mushroom but vegans should consider a B12 supplement.
- Zinc– found in wholegrains, lentils and chick peas, brown rice, nuts, seeds and cheddar cheese
- Iron– there’s plenty in beans & pulses, leafy green veg, wholegrains, dried fruit, tomato paste, soya flour, wild rice. Including additional Vitamin C with your meal (such as a glass of orange juice) will increase absorption.
- Vegans need to make sure they get essential calcium from green leafy vegetables, tofu, beans and pulses, molasses, nuts, seeds and figs
- Vitamin D is mostly found in meat, dairy and eggs and sunshine. Whilst a little bit is present in some wholegrains it’s probably a good idea for vegans to consider a Vitamin D supplement
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains. You may be following a gluten-free diet due to an allergy such a celiac disease or because of a food intolerance and if this is the case you will already be avoiding wheat, spelt, oats, rye and barley and choosing gluten free bread. You should also avoid many processed or convenience foods, which often also wheat amongst their ingredients.
Our ‘healthy pregnancy eating guidelines’ still apply if you are avoiding gluten – just leave out all the gluten-containing grains mentioned. Eat four or more portions of wholegrains such as rice, millet, gluten-free oats, corn, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat each day in the form of cereal, breads, pasta or savoury biscuits. And why not try our delicious gluten and dairy free carrot cake!
Wheat contains the highest amount of gluten out of all the gluten-containing grains and some women choose to eliminate it from their diet during pregnancy for health reasons.
Avoid all wheat-based cereal, bread, pasta and savoury crackers or biscuits, choosing other options instead such as rice, millet, gluten-free oats, corn, quinoa and 100% rye bread.
If you have a serious problem with eating wheat, you’ll need to carefully check the labels of all processed or convenience foods as many of them include wheat.
The most common reason for following a dairy free diet is lactose intolerance, meaning you lack the enzyme (lactase) which breaks down the sugar found in milk (lactose) or because of an allergy to milk protein.
You do need to ensure you get adequate amounts of calcium, but whilst dairy products are a great source of calcium – they’re definitely not the ONLY source.
Try and include at least 3 servings each day of calcium rich foods such as green leafy veggies, small fish with bones (such as sardines), tofu, beans, nuts and seeds. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are both a great source of calcium. The amount of calcium you need when you’re pregnant (around 1200mg per day) can be difficult to get from diet alone so maybe consider a supplement – most pregnancy multivitamin and mineral products will contain some calcium.
Avoid all products that are likely to contain dairy products such as quiche, lasagne, batter made with milk, biscuits and cakes, tinned or packet soups – and look out for cereals that contain dried milk too.
Staying healthy during pregnancy is so important for both of you! Eating foods that are as close as possible to their natural state, organic or free-range are best for you and for your baby.