When you’re pregnant, you not only eat for yourself. You need to make sure that you cater to the little one growing in your belly. It requires a lot of nutrients to keep your body in good working order.
While people may give you advice on why you should eat meat, keeping a vegan lifestyle can actually provide a lot of benefits. The key is having balance in what you consume.
Here are some tips to help you stay on your vegan diet while you’re pregnant.
Keeping Your Body at the Right Energy Level
Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Fatigue is at an all-time. You want to make sure you’re getting the right foods that can help keep you functional.
When you’re in your first trimester, there’s not too much to worry about. Your body hasn’t gone through significant changes yet. You don’t need to add on to your caloric intake.
However, the second trimester is when the baby starts to grow more rapidly. You need to increase your intake by at least 300 calories. If you’ve been vegan for a while, you might believe this is a difficult task. On the contrary, you can do this without adding any meat to your diet.
Good healthy fats like almonds and other nuts help tremendously. Also, you can increase your carb load by having hummus with pita bread. A good smoothie with plant-based protein can also fill you up.
You should also take your level of activity into consideration. The more you’re active, the more you should increase your calories. Another thing to load up on is plant protein.
Increase You Plant Protein Intake
Despite what most people think, there are some vegetables that have higher sources of protein than animals. If you’re smart with your diet, you’ll get a lot of necessary proteins to carry you through your pregnancy.
A few reasons you want to incorporate protein dense foods include the following:
- It helps in developing your baby’s brain.
- Your body has more nutrients to support the growing fetus.
- It gives the body more oxygen to produce a higher blood supply.
I bet you’re thinking “what should I eat?” Well, it’s very simple. Here’s a breakdown of what you should eat. Quinoa is not only a good protein source, but it provides a lot of essential amino acids for your body. Peanut butter is another source that provides good fat and protein to your body. If you need more iron to go with the protein, leafy greens like kale also help enrich your diet. Don’t forget about your fiber. Lentils, peas, lima beans are all rich in protein and fiber. Broccoli is also a fun way to get your nutrients because it has a very high protein content for a vegetable. Also, it’s easy to eat alone or use it as a side dish with your meal. By incorporating these foods daily, you’ll be able to sustain a better pregnancy.
Boost Your Vitamin D Levels
One of the hardest things to do when you’re vegan is getting a good source of vitamin D. Of course, if you’re someone that goes outside regularly, you won’t have any issues. However, there are two things to consider:
You might live in a place that doesn’t get much sun. Also, you may be deep into your pregnancy and not want to go outside regularly.
A low amount of vitamin D can lead to bone density loss, low birthweight, and increasing the risk of autoimmune system disease in your child.
When you’re vegan, this limits the amount of food choices you have on the table. Typically, people get their food sources of vitamin D from salmon, milk, and eggs. Soy milk can be a good alternative but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the level of vitamin D needed to supply your baby’s development.
To help increase your intake to healthy level, consult your doctor. They may recommend good supplements to help your body get additional vitamin D. Women of color absorb lower levels of vitamin D in general. So, it’s imperative they speak to a doctor to get the right supplement to increase their daily vitamin D.
Make sure to keep your levels stable to help your baby’s bones and teeth develop properly. Also, it’ll help keep your bones health. It’s a good idea to follow a meal plan to keep tabs on everything.
Create a Meal Plan
Remember, you’re going through a pregnancy. You need to adjust accordingly for the second and third trimester.
One of the best ways to do this is with a caretaker. Not only do they know the foods you have to eat, but they’ll keep you on schedule to make sure you have the right nutrients in your system.
A meal plan makes things easier so you don’t have to worry about what foods you need to eat. Also, it’s convenient because everything is organized. You’ll have your main meals, healthy snacks, and any supplements you need.
Find a good dietitian who knows how to work with pregnant woman to make this transition easier.
Don’t forget about your iron levels.
Eat Iron-Rich Foods
The body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. Not only is it supporting a baby’s development, but it’s still keeping you functional. With all of this going on, you need to ensure that an ample amount of iron goes into your system.
When your body lacks iron, it makes it more susceptible to infection. While beans, whole-grain cereals, and green beans provide good iron, it doesn’t always absorb immediately. You should pair with more citrus fruits to give yourself a more complete iron source. Also, your doctor may supply you with iron supplements.
All of this helps to keep your immune system strong so you can birth a healthy baby and so you don’t contract any illnesses or diseases.
With the right meal plan and guidance from your doctor, you can maintain a healthy status while pregnant. You’ll still be able to maintain your vegan diet while carrying your baby to birth.