It’s always best to get medical advice before going ahead.
When you’re pregnant, there’s a good chance you’ll be bombarded with all sorts of conflicting information. Whether it’s from your family, extended family, friends or even neighbours, you’re sure to be getting lots of advice on what a Desi diet for pregnancy should be.
There’s so much information out there that it can be difficult to suss out what a healthy Desi diet for pregnancy should consist of.
Generally, you should consult your doctor regarding what’s best for you during your pregnancy. However, if you’re looking for a quick guide to a good Desi diet for pregnancy, then give this a read.
Fruits and Vegetables
This one seems obvious, but it can be hard to fit enough fruits and vegetables into your diet. Fruits and vegetables are full of various vitamins and nutrients. Many of these are crucial for your baby’s development.
For example, mangoes are an ideal food for you to be eating. They’re rich in vitamins A and C, as well as iron and folic acid. Try a mango smoothie or a lassi to get these vitamins into your diet.
Vegetables like cauliflower are also great for your pregnancy. Full of vitamin C and calcium, they’re good for your baby’s development. Try adding cauliflower to a curry or samosas to add them into your diet.
Try and include as many different fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible. Fruits and vegetables contain such a wide range of nutrients so it’s important to include lots of them. Try making a big vegetable curry or a vegetable soup to get as many as possible.
Pulses such as the various types of lentils and beans are key for a healthy Desi pregnancy diet.
They’re not only a great source of protein, they’re one of the cheapest sources of protein available. If you’re trying to be a bit more frugal during your pregnancy, pulses can be a great choice.
Lentils contain a large amount of folic acid. This means that they’re good for the early stages of your baby’s development. They also contain potassium, fibre and iron. All of these are excellent for the health of yourself and your baby.
Beans also contain fibre and iron as well as protein, so they’re an excellent addition to any meal.
Some women have even reported that their morning sickness has abated after introducing beans to their diet.
Pulses are also great for a healthy Desi diet for pregnancy because they’re so easy to cook. Canned beans only take a few minutes and can be added to chilis, curries and stews for that extra protein.
Dal is a staple in every Desi household and you can even make a big batch in a slow cooker to last you all week.
Meat and Fish
While you can get all the protein you need from vegetable based sources if you choose, many people will want to get their protein from meat. Meat isn’t important only for protein, it is also a source of iron. This is crucial as getting enough iron prevents anaemia.
You do have to be careful with meat during pregnancy. The bacteria which causes food poisoning found in meats can sometimes lead to serious illnesses in pregnancy. So, always make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked.
For this, it’s best for you to buy a food thermometer in order to ensure that your food is cooked all the way through.
Most fish is safe to eat during pregnancy. However, you should be careful with the amount of tuna that you eat. Tuna contains more mercury than many other fishes, so it’s important to limit your intake to avoid mercury poisoning.
As with other meats, always make sure that your fish has been properly cooked through to avoid bacteria and parasites that may be in the food.
The only exception to this is sushi. You can actually eat raw fish while pregnant. You just have to make sure it has been frozen first. Freezing the fish will kill bacteria and parasites in the same way that cooking would.
You’ll probably be wanting to eat dairy products during your pregnancy to ensure you get enough calcium.
This can be easily accomplished through foods like cheeses, yoghurt and milk. If you don’t like consuming these foods by themselves, you could easily include them by stirring some natural yoghurt into a curry.
During a healthy Desi diet for pregnancy, you can certainly eat foods like paneer. However, you need to first make sure that it’s made from pasteurised milk. This helps to remove bacteria from the cheese and ensure it’s safe to eat.
You should also cook paneer before you eat it while pregnant. Even if it’s been pasteurised, paneer can still be a tempting spot for bacteria, so it’s important to cook it.
During pregnancy, you should be careful not to eat mould-ripened soft cheeses or blue cheeses. This is because the mould they are made with can contain listeria. This can be a very serious illness in pregnant women.
You also need to make sure that the only milk you consume is pasteurised or UHT (ultra heat treated) milk. Don’t drink fresh or unpasteurized goat or sheep milk as it can contain harmful bacteria.
What if you’re not sure?
You should be able to create a healthy Desi diet for pregnancy which suits you. If you look through these food groups you should be able to cook meals which you enjoy and which suit your pregnancy.
However, if you’re not sure on anything during your pregnancy you should always consult your doctor. If you want to eat a food and you’re not sure if it’s safe for pregnancy, it’s always best to get medical advice before going ahead.
Other than that, getting a healthy Desi diet for pregnancy should be easy. Make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables and plenty of pulses. Make sure you cook your meat safely and choose the right cheeses. If you stick to this, you and your baby should be happy and healthy.