Oh you’re pregnant..You must eat for two! There will never be anything as loud as this common refrain that gets to the ears of a preggy mommy. It is one of the biggest pregnancy misconceptions - although you absolutely need to focus on nourishing your baby. In reality you just need an extra 300-500calories a day. Pregnancy was the one phase in my life that i consciously planned a healthy eating guideline and it sure kept me fit and strong. What you eat during pregnancy has an impact on the health of your baby. Hence be wise to choose what you eat and what you need to avoid. Break down your meals to breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks (in between the big meals)-keeping the focus on HEALTHY.
Foods to avoid
Junk food, Alcohol, High-sugar, High intake of caffein, Cold-cuts/deli, soft and unpasteurized cheeses, raw fish/raw seafood/raw or semi cooked eggs and artificial sweeteners.
My plate a day should include : 2 cups of fruits, 3 cups veggies, 7 ounce grains, 6 ounce meat/beans, 3 cups dairy, 6tsp fat/oil
Never skip meals to avoid gaining weight.
Eating healthy and to plan different meals or snacks for the week is a tedious task. Fret not!! Below is a list of options you could pick and fix in a jiffy! This is a meal plan that i personally fixed and stuck to. It had me going strong and healthy for all 3 pregnancies.
Kick off your mornings with a Healthy Breakfast
- Cinnamon porridge or oat meal topped with your choice of berries
- A huge bowl of Berriesor citrus fruits layered with granola and topped with Greek Yoghurt (has twice the goodness of regular yoghurt) and berry coulis
- Pita bread cut in half and loaded with labneh/hummus, sliced boiled eggs, cucumbers and ground fresh pepper/salt
- A colorful omelet on brown toast.
- Brown bread toast and crackers spread with Labneh and topped with sliced Avocados.
- Upma (Indian Breakfast) with chickpea or kidney bean curry.
- A glass of laban, strawberry smoothieor mango milkshake with scrambled eggs and a slice of whole meal bread
- Muesli mixed with dry fruits/nuts accompanied by floured yoghurt
Lunch/ Dinner options
- A big bowl of leafy veggie salad prepared with lettuce, kale, grilled chicken strips, avocados, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, red beans paired with a glass of pomegranate juice .
- Grilled chicken leg or thigh, wheat pita paired with hummus and a side of Taboule salad
- Beef steaks ( medium well to well done) with roasted veggies
- Grilled fish with sautéed spinach or pok choy.
- Indian Rice thali. Exactly 10 table spoon of rice with huge helpings of side veggie dishes and a portion of fish or meat dish.
- A medium bowl of Sweet corn and chicken noodle soup.
- chicken stir-fry with grapefruit and orange salad
- lamb chops with sautéed kale and steamed veggies
- Quinoa Fried rice with Chicken curry.
- Roti’s with egg roast curry or sides of veg/non veg dish.
- Kebabs, a quarter cup of hummus, baby carrots and few triangles of wheat pita bread
- Broccoli/Carrot/Pumpkin soup with whole grain bread and sautéed veggies
Pregnancy is also a time for ravenous cravings. I am not one who propagates ‘go full abstinence’. Allow yourselfa few treats a week such as; SMALL portions of cheesy or chocolaty goodness or a HANDFUL of chips and fries. While you satisfy your cravings you also need to be careful not to overdose on it. Cravings are most often a sensory or emotional attraction. As much as possible satisfy your cravings with healthier alternatives. Below mentioned are some healthy options for snacks.
- Handful of Nuts and dried fruits
- Low fat cheese and olives
- Cut fruits or Fruits drizzled with chocolate sauce
- Wholegrain muffin
- Popcorn- yes you heard me right.
- Frozen yoghurt
- Steamed corn with lemon extract salt and pepper
- Carrot, cucumber and Pepper juliennes with hummus, yogurt or labneh dip