there are some common requirements to address.
Pregnancy is a crucial period in a woman’s life and it is essential to maintain a healthy diet during this time to support the growth and development of the growing foetus.
When it comes to Indian food, there are some that are rich in nutrients and can provide numerous benefits during pregnancy.
However, not all Indian foods are suitable for pregnant women as some may cause health issues or harm the baby’s development.
We aim to provide an introduction to which Indian foods are beneficial to consume during pregnancy, discussing the essential nutrients required during pregnancy and the dishes that are rich in these nutrients.
We look at the Indian foods you should eat during pregnancy as well as a helpful diet plan.
Best Food Sources
Indian cuisine is rich with options for planning a pregnancy diet.
Certain ingredients tend to be common and a diet plan based on these food habits goes a long way in ensuring the right nutrition for both the mother-to-be and the unborn baby.
When adopting a pregnancy diet, there are some common requirements to address.
For example, folic acid is an important requirement.
Iron deficiency is also a common problem among pregnant women. Raisins, beans, spinach and mutton are iron-rich and an easy way to cook them is with potatoes.
When it comes to Indian foods, here are the best sources:
Dairy products can provide many benefits for pregnant women.
For example, cooked paneer provides a good source of calcium. This is essential for building strong bones and teeth in both the mother and the developing baby.
Dairy products are one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D, which is important for bone health and immune function.
This food source can also contribute to hydration, which is important for overall health during pregnancy.
But it is important to note that pregnant women should opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products to avoid excess calories and saturated fat.
Pulses form a large part of Indian cuisine, with daal being one of the most popular foods.
For pregnant women, lentils, chickpeas and beans have a number of health benefits.
Pulses are rich in protein, which is essential for foetal growth and development.
They also contain fibre, which helps prevent constipation, and iron, necessary for building red blood cells in both the mother and the foetus.
Additionally, pulses are a good source of folate, an important B vitamin for the healthy development of the foetus’ neural tube. They contain magnesium, which supports bone health and energy production.
While pulses can be challenging to digest for some people, pregnant women should seek guidance from their healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to ensure that they are consuming pulses safely and appropriately.
Nuts are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for the growth and development of the unborn baby.
They are also rich in healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in the development of the baby’s brain and eyes.
Additionally, nuts are high in fibre, which can help prevent constipation, a common issue during pregnancy.
They are also a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.
Eating nuts during pregnancy has been associated with a lower risk of gestational diabetes, a condition that can lead to various complications during pregnancy.
Some of the best nuts to eat include almonds, pistachios and walnuts.
However, it’s essential to note that some nuts can trigger allergic reactions, and pregnant women with nut allergies should avoid them.
Meat & Fish
Meat and fish are considered the best source of concentrated proteins.
If you are a non-vegetarian, they should form a major part of your diet.
Chicken has a rich source of protein and is low in calories, making it an ideal choice for pregnant women who need to maintain a healthy weight.
Meanwhile, mutton is a good source of iron.
But fish is arguably one of the best food sources during pregnancy as the Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce the risks of allergies in the baby and also increase the baby’s cognitive development.
One of the most common issues during pregnancy is constipation and optimising fibre intake is the best way to battle this problem.
Fresh fruit is the perfect choice to combat this issue and they are easily available.
They also provide various essential vitamins and minerals.
Watermelon is one of the best fruits to have during pregnancy as it helps with dehydration. It also helps to reduce the effects of morning sickness.
Mangoes, oranges and lemons provide Vitamin C, another essential nutrient.
Leafy green vegetables are recommended during pregnancy as they contain many nutrients.
Spinach is rich in iron and folic acid. Tomatoes are loaded with Vitamin C.
Peas and broccoli are some of the top vegetables that should be included in a pregnancy diet.
Dark green lettuce contains Vitamin K, iron, potassium and fibre, and should definitely be on the list as well.
Fresh juices are full of essential vitamins and minerals for pregnant women.
Drinking water throughout the day is important when staying hydrated.
This can be mixed up by drinking water infused with fruits in order to refresh the taste of water.
But pregnant women should avoid drinking packaged juices as they contain a high amount of artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
A certain amount of fats is a must in every pregnant woman’s diet.
It is a high source of energy, which is important for the baby’s growth. It also prepares the woman’s body for childbirth.
Vegetable oil is best suited for pregnant women as it has the essential unsaturated fats that are required by them.
Pregnant women should avoid having too much butter as they contain a high quantity of saturated fats. A good alternative is ghee.
An Indian Diet Plan
When it comes to a healthy pregnancy, here is a helpful diet plan featuring a number of Indian foods to have.
Pre-breakfast Snack – 7 am
A pre-breakfast snack is important for pregnant women.
It is especially helpful in preventing morning sickness.
The snack should be light and should prepare the body for the rest of the day.
Usually, a glass of milk is recommended alongside the snack because it is rich in calcium, which is crucial for the development of the baby.
Almond milk is a popular option along with dry fruits.
Almonds are a good source of protein, healthy fats, iron and Vitamin E and almond milk is a great option for those with an allergy or intolerance to dairy products.
A glass of apple or tomato juice is another option. Tomato juice, in particular, helps in purifying the blood and acts as a source of iron and Vitamin C.
Breakfast – 9 am
Some of the most popular Indian breakfast dishes include poha and rava upma.
Poha contains a good source of iron and carbohydrates while rava upma contains minerals such as iron, magnesium and calcium.
Parathas contain energy-packed fillings but they need to be prepared using less oil than usual.
Other healthy Indian breakfast options include whole wheat bread, which provides a lot of fibre. Vegetable-filled sandwiches are an option to think about.
Mid-morning Snacks – 11 am to Noon
Soups are suggested as they are light on the stomach and packed with nutrients.
Options include chicken, tomato, spinach, carrots and beetroots.
Lunch – 1:30 pm
Roti with curd is great during pregnancy.
They are a rich source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent constipation, a common issue during pregnancy.
It is also low in fat and contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin B, iron, and calcium, which are important for the growth and development of the unborn baby.
Rice with chicken curry and raita is a good option for lunch as chicken is a great source of lean protein.
Rice dishes have a number of benefits, which includes feeling a boost of instant energy, prevention of urinogenital infections and the boost provided to the mother’s immunity.
Simple snacks can be eaten anytime between lunch and dinner.
Snacks help to keep energy levels up.
Some of the most popular recommendations for pregnant women include idli, halwa, lightly fried cutlets
Dinner – 8 pm
Daal is a traditional preparation that should be eaten with rice or roti.
This combination provides a nutritious combination of protein and carbohydrates.
Khichdi and curries are also good sources of nutrition. But remember to avoid using too many fattening ingredients.
It is best to end the day with a glass of milk and a few dates.
Milk contains melatonin, a compound that helps in ensuring better sleep while dates have properties that stimulate uterine contractions.
A healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy is crucial for the growth and development of the foetus.
Indian foods are rich in nutrients and can provide numerous benefits during pregnancy. However, it is essential to be mindful of the foods that are safe and beneficial to consume during this period.
Some of the recommended foods include lentils, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, dairy products and fruits.
But pregnant women are advised to consult with their healthcare providers or registered dietitians to develop a personal nutrition plan that meets their specific needs.
Additionally, adopting healthy eating habits can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and promote the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby.