Vegetarians do not consume meat for a variety of reasons, and pregnant mums who are vegetarians may be concerned about obtaining sufficient nutrients in their diet.
Can pregnant women maintain their vegetarian diets while supporting a healthy pregnancy? The answer is yes, as rich sources of essential nutrients can be found in non-meat products.
Consuming a healthy variety of vegetables, legumes, nuts and fruit is beneficial to both mother and baby. With proper meal planning, plant-based diets can be continued throughout pregnancy.
The key nutrients to focus on are protein, iron, calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and folate.
Vegetarian meals can be nutritious and a delight to the palate. We have curated some palatable meal ideas that brim with healthy wholesome nourishment for vegetarian pregnant mums!
- Chickpea Hummus on toast
Hummus can be easily made by blending boiled chickpeas with tahini and lemon juice. An excellent source of iron, Vitamin B6, magnesium, protein and fibre, chickpeas also contain folate, Vitamin K, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline and selenium.
- Banana Pancakes
Pregnancy may cause fatigue to creep any time during the day, so this easy two-ingredient recipe is not only easy to whip up but also contains protein and carbohydrates to power you up.
- Fruit Platter
When it comes to fruits, aim for a colourful variety. Eat a rainbow of fruits to increase the number of nutrients consumed to support a healthy pregnancy. Passion fruit, blackberries, green grapes and starfruit are some of the fruit you can add to your vegetarian diet.
- Nut butter on crackers
Nut butters are incredibly easy to make and you can choose from almonds, cashews, hazelnuts… the choices are endless! Nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids for a healthy heart and are packed with protein.
- Simple Vegan Pizza
Surprise, you can have guilt-free pizza that is as satisfying as its traditional counterpart. Vegan cheese is made from blended cashew nuts and does not contain dairy. If you do not have an allergy to nuts, the copper in cashew nuts helps the body to make use of iron efficiently. It is a good source of monounsaturated fats. Top it with roasted vegetables and add spinach for your daily iron requirements. Iron is a necessary nutrient as it supports additional red blood cells, placenta and the growing baby.
- King Oyster “Scallops”
When prepared a certain way, king oyster mushrooms can pass off for scallops. Mushrooms have long been used as a vegetarian substitute for meat. King oyster mushrooms are low in fat and calories, yet high in fibre and protein. A cup of sliced mushrooms provides 6% of daily protein requirements and 8% of dietary fibre for women.
- Vegetarian Sushi
This vegetarian maki roll is light and satisfying as it has carrots, omelette and cucumber enveloped in fluffy, vinegared sushi rice. Some vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products, so it depends on how strict you are. Eggs are a source of iron and egg yolk contains Vitamin D.
- Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Ice Cream
Indulge in smooth, creamy, chocolate ice cream made from only 5 ingredients! This recipe contains dates, which are high in fibre and antioxidants. It is known to relieve constipation, a common bugbear of pregnant women in their second and third trimesters. Dates lower blood cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and keep you satiated and feeling fuller for longer.
As you can see, there are plenty of non-meat substitutes and meals that vegetarian mums can enjoy and maintain a healthy pregnancy at the same time. Enjoy guiltless and delicious meals without compromising on nutrition and taste!
Are you a vegetarian pregnant mum? Do share some of your favourite vegetarian recipes too!