Healthy Pregnancy
Many vegetarian women worry that they are not getting enough protein in their diet, and this bothers them more when they are expecting. However, vegetarians should worry more about getting Omega-3 fatty acids, as proteins can easily be derived by having a well-balanced healthy diet during pregnancy.

Protein In Pregnancy

Proteins are composed of amino acids which play a crucial role in building tissues and cells for a healthy functioning organ. Proteins are essential for healthy growth of muscles, bone and even hair. Your baby requires protein for building up his organs whilst in your womb, especially during the second and the third trimesters. The baby is on a growth spree during these trimesters and so is your body – to accommodate the growing baby.

How Much Protein Do I Need During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the protein requirement increases by 25g per day. A non-pregnant woman needs to have 45 g protein every day, and now that you are pregnant, you must have at least 70 g protein in your diet daily. Do not aim to have measured protein every day, just ensure that you do have an average of the requisite protein in your diet in the course of a few days or a week.

What If I Have Low Proteins In Pregnancy?

Not consuming enough protein during pregnancy can cause problems for both you and your baby. Your baby’s growth and development could be significantly impaired if you have less intake of proteins in your diet during pregnancy. Muscle tiredness, fatigue, headache are some of the signs indicating low protein intake. Proteins are essential for healthy formation of neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin. These neurotransmitters regulate bodily functions such as sleep, mood, appetite and metabolism. The deficiency of protein may cause low birth weight of the baby and slow growth.
Healthy Pregnancy Diet

10 Ways To Get Proteins In Your Vegetarian Diet

Since vegetarians may have to strive harder to fulfil their required protein intake for a healthy baby, below is a list to make this easier for you:

    1. Dairy Products: Since ages and time immemorial, diary products are have been the second best to eggs and poultry when it comes to the intake of proteins.
      • Milk: Milk is not only an optimum source of calcium, but of protein too! Just one cup of whole milk provides 8g of protein. So it’s a good idea to have 2-3 cups of milk every day. Yogurt: Nowadays flavored yogurts are available in the market, but these may contain added sugars thereby increasing the fat content. Opt for non-fat yogurts or simply make it at home as just one cup yogurt contains 8-13 g of protein.
      • Cheese: Cheese is usually considered fatty, but contains about 17-20 g of protein. It’s alright to have it occasionally. You can simply add cheddar or parmesan cheese on top of your toast and enjoy it with hot tea! Cottage cheese (Paneer, Feta cheese and Ricotta cheese are popular choices.

Protein from diary

    1. Beans and legumes: Beans and legumes are rich sources of protein and are a staple in Indian household. Just one cup of cooked kidney beans, pinto beans, lima beans and lentils provide about 19 g protein. These bead like food is a great source of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, thiamin, and niacin, with Soybean providing more protein than any other legume. Try and have them cooked at home, as canned beans run low on nutrients. You may try sprouted pulses for a change from usual cooked lentils!
    2. Soy products: Soy products are rich sources of protein, omega 3 fatty acids and great for people who are lactose-intolerant! Avoid going for readymade vegetable soy products, as they are likely to contain MSG, which is not favored during pregnancy
      • Soymilk: Plenty of flavored options are available in the market. Do check the sugar content before buying.
      • Tofu: Easily available in the market, just toss it to the griller and enjoy a tofu snack!
      • Tempeh: Very high in protein, just one cup provides 40 g!
      • Soybeans: You can easily incorporate soybean in your diet by making soybean parathabiryani or the new trending soy kebabs!
    3. Nuts: Who does not enjoys warm, slightly roasted nuts? Nuts provide energy, essential fatty acids, iron, vitamins, proteins and minerals to the body. Just one cup of nuts yields between 26-35 g protein. Some of them are rich in antioxidants too. Make some tasty dips and Stock up on Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios, Pecan nuts, Cashew nuts and Chest nuts.
      Enjoy a refreshing nutty snack at any time of the day, and boy! Are they easy to carry!! You may even slice them add to the usual dishes or salad. Do check for any allergies to nuts. A small handful of mixed nuts is enough for a day!

Protein from nuts and seeds

    1. Seeds: Packed with carbohydrates and proteins, they help fight fatigue. Below seeds are recommended for women during pregnancy as they provide minerals, calcium, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and folic acid. Lotus seeds, chia Seeds, Sunflower seeds, Sesame, Pumpkin seeds, Flax seeds are enjoyed by most women.
      Caution: These seeds may have high calorific value, therefore practice moderation in their consumption!
    2. Whole grains: Wheat is widely used in our households, in the form of chapattis, bread or even sweet. Other whole grains such as Brown rice, Oats, Mill, Finger millet and Wheat germ are great choices. The less processed they are, the healthier they become. Whole grains must be added to the diet of an expecting woman to boost protein intake. This is fairly easy since nowadays market promotes multi-grain breads, atta (flour) and even noodles!
    3. Cereals: Nowadays cereals come in variants with no added sugar and fortified with vitamins and iron. They additionally provide fiber and minerals. Do not fall for the fancy ones, as they tend to loose their nutritional value as they undergo processing and flavorings. You could opt for oatmeal cereals as they are largely unprocessed and are healthier

Pregnant women eating cereal

    1. Dried fruits: They can be easily stored and eaten at any time without hassle of washing, peeling or slicing them! Some dried fruits can be incorporated in your diet to contribute to the protein intake. These include Dried Apricots, Raisins, Dates, Prunes.You may bake healthy cookies using these dried fruits and enjoy your snack!
    2. Vegetables: Vegetarians usually have about 2 servings of vegetables each day. Dark leafy vegetables can even protect against many forms of cancer as they are rich in phytochemicals like beta carotein and lutein which. Veggies ate stocked with vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron and proteins. To make the most out of it, add below veggies for increasing protein. Spinach, broccolli, peas and potato can be included in the diet

Protein from vegetables

  1. Munch on a energy bar: Feel free to munch on protein bars for a change! You may even try the creamy Greek yogurt and peanut butter for taste. A smoothie is also perfect for replenishment of lost energy. Watch out for the sugar content though, lest it turns a negative health thing for you!

Considering the above options, it doesn’t really looks too difficult to make up for the protein intake for vegetarians. All you need is to keep an eye on what you are eating and what you need to add, it’s nothing out of the way!