● FATS: Do not exclude this food group as fats help absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. However, contrary to popular belief, you need a very small quantity. Limit the intake of oil, ghee, butter, malai etc. to no more than six teaspoons per day. And while it’s important to get a balanced meal, it’s also important to stay well-hydrated. Water aids digestion, helps you to feel refreshed, and most importantly, maintains the amniotic fluid levels in your amniotic sac. A pregnant mom should have at least eight to 10 glasses of water daily, and this should be increased if you have a hectic lifestyle or if you exercise regularly. Yes, it helps to identify the food groups, but it can be difficult keeping track of your nutrition. Having a meal plan can help with that. Expectant mums should eat small meals to combat acidity and bloating, and eating every two to three hours will also help maintain blood sugar levels. Here’s an easy meal plan to follow:
● WAKE-UP: A glass of water with some nuts.
● BREAKFAST: A whole grain cereal with some veggies or fruit, plus a serving of protein and a serving of milk. Consuming something like idli sambhar with veggies and a glass of lassi or oats with milk, fresh fruit and some nuts.
● MID-MORNING: A cup of fruit with a spoonful of mixed seeds.
● LUNCH: Whole grain rotis or brown rice with one bowl of veggies and a bowl of dal, or chicken plus a bowl of curd or a glass of buttermilk.
● TEA TIME: A cup of tea with an open sandwich made with whole grain bread plus hummus plus some veggies.
● MID-EVENING: Try a cup of fruit or if you want something to munch have some puffed rice or roasted khakras or just aim for a bowl of vegetable soup.
● DINNER: Whole grain rotis or whole wheat bread with one bowl of veggies and a bowl of dal, or chicken plus a bowl of sprouts and wash it down with a glass of lassi.
● BEDTIM E: A warm cup of milk with a spoon of honey can help you to sleep better and it will also round off your day with optimum calcium intake. If you have any pregnancy conditions which require special nutritional attention then please do consult your doctor or a prenatal nutrition counsellor for your meal planning. ■
I AM IN MY FIFTH MONTH OF PREGNANCY AND MY HAEMOGLOBIN IS 10.5. WHAT FOODS CAN I INCLUDE IN MY DIET TO IMPROVE MY IRON LEVELS?
Sonali: Most moms are a little low on iron especially in the start of the second trimester. This is because the baby starts pulling the iron reserves of the mother for rapid growth and development. Some iron-rich foods include green leafy vegetables like spinach and methi, broccoli, beetroot, apples, lean meats, legumes like rajma. You can also indulge in some anjeer, raisins and apricots which are rich in iron and can satiate a sweet tooth. Do remember to include protein foods in your diet daily as detailed since protein helps in the formation of haemoglobin.
I AM UNABLE TO DRINK MILK. EVERY TIME I TRY, I THROW UP. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Sonali: It’s fine if you are unable to drink milk but you must ensure that you have enough calcium rich foods. Some options include lassi, curds, paneer, cheese in the dairy group. In the plant family there is green leafy vegetables, grains like nachni, sesame seeds and even jaggery which can be consumed in a small quantity as it is eventually sugar and excess consumption can cause weight gain.
MY DOCTOR HAS PRESCRIBED PRENATAL VITAMINS OF IRON AND CALCIUM. IF I AM EATING EVERYTHING AS PER THE PLAN, DO I STILL NEED THESE SUPPLEMENTS?
Sonali: Yes, absolutely! Supplements get absorbed faster in the blood stream and are more bio-available. Despite a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet, there’s a good chance your body might not absorb all the nutrients you consume. Since you have only a few months to ensure you give birth to a healthy baby, do not ignore prenatal vitamins because they help supplement the lack of certain nutrients. However, if something does not agree with you, please consult your doctor and ask for an alternative prescription.
M&B’s panellist Sonali Shivlani is an Internationally Certifi ed Pregnancy Consultant and a child nutrition counsellor. She is the executive director of CAPPA India, and also trains aspiring birth professionals to achieve certifi cation in pregnancy, birth and lactation counselling
If you have any concerns related to pregnancy, birth and the post-delivery period, Sonali Shivlani will answer all your questions through her column. Do send in your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.