Here are some overall tips you can follow as a pregnant vegetarian to ensure that you are getting the required nutrients.
The extra calories you need are not necessary for the first 3 months. During these months you can continue to eat normally and only during the last months do you need to increase your caloric intake for the growth of fat tissue on your baby.
Variety in the foods you eat is the key to a healthy pregnancy diet. Use the vegetarian food pyramid found in this guide to help you make your decision. If you are a vegan ensure that you are consuming enough protein rich foods such as soy products, tofu, quinoa and a variety of legumes.
Remember that your fiber and starch content are important and so you should choose foods that are from the whole grain group. This includes rice, pasta and cereal among others.
Remember your calcium intake and consume foods such as dried peas and beans, green leafy vegetables and tofu to get your required daily amount of calcium for the growth of baby’s bones and teeth.
Remember that adequate amounts of calcium mean nothing if you are not getting enough vitamin D so ensure you spend a couple minutes outside each day and if you are pregnant during colder months when there isn’t much sun you can always look for Vitamin D fortified and enriched foods.
Consume a minimum of three servings of food that are high iron example sweet potatoes, dried peas and beans, prunes, broccoli, Brussels spouts and other green leafy vegetables.
Remember your vitamin C which is essential for the proper absorption of iron. Good sources include citrus fruits, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens.
Ensure you eat at least one good source of folate each day; choose from black eyed peas, green leafy vegetables, and chick peas among other legumes.
Choose at least one food that is rich in Vitamin A such as apricots, pumpkins, carrots and other orange vegetables and fruits.
Choose a minimum of one source of Vitamin B 12 from animal products such as dairy and eggs. You can also rely on your supplement if you are a vegan.
Limit your intake of caffeine containing beverages and chocolate to no more than 2 5 oz cups per day. There is the same amount of caffeine in one bar of chocolate as there is in 1/4 cup of coffee so don’t go on a chocolate spree.
If you are using artificial sweetener use one that does not contain saccharin, instead use sweeteners that contain aspartame or acesulfame-K. These pose no risk to the fetus.
Decrease your intake of salt and salty foods on a whole. This will reduce your risk of edema which is quite common in pregnancy.
Ensure that your fat consumption is less than 30 % of your daily caloric intake, while ensuring that no more than 300 mg of cholesterol is being ingested per day.
While you do not want to overeat during pregnancy you shouldn’t try to diet either. Just ensure that you are getting the right amount of nutrients in the correct combinations.