Indian women need to maintain a high quality diet during their pregnancy. This article provides a list of healthy Indian foods and meal planning tips to eat well during a pregnancy.
Remember, the baby inside depends on the mother for nutrition. During pregnancy, a mother while maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet, must also focus on supplemental nutrients that are important for the baby's health. These tips will help you and your baby stay healthy and get good nutrition.
The extra energy that is required during pregnancy is only 300 kcal/day and any consumption above this will only add empty calories and weight to the mother. This is only about 15% more than usual Indian food quantities.
While the common Indian advice is to eat for two but we must keep in mind that it is not two grownups we have to eat for. It is for a baby that is 3 - 4 kgs in weight. So focus on nutrition, rather than the quantity of the food you eat.
This is for a normal pregnancy with a single baby. If you are having multiple babies or if you have any special health conditions, please talk to your doctor.
The table below shows the average meal plan for a pregnant Indian woman who does moderate work during the day.
|Cereals & Grains
||60 grams/serving||6 servings/day|
|Pulses & Beans
||30 grams/serving||3 servings/day|
|Milk and milk products
||150 ml/serving||2 servings/day|
|Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, roots and tubers
||100 grams/serving||4 servings/day|
||50 grams/serving||4 servings/day|
|Nuts and seeds
||Have a handful of these to get proteins. But don't eat too much as they contain a lot of fat||1 handful|
|Condiments and spices
||For seasoning||For seasoning|
Non-vegetarians can substitute 1 or occasionally 2 servings of pulses and beans with fish/meat/eggs etc.,
Oils and fats are also required in the diet. The meal plan above assumes that food groups are cooked using moderate quantities of oils which provide the required supply of oils and fats to the diet. If this is not the case, please ensure you get oils and fats as required.
Use moderate quantities of salt in your cooking. Iodised salt should be used to ensure that the required Iodine is provided during pregnancy. Moderate use as required in normal cooking is sufficient.
Sugars are also required in the diet. The table above assumes that sugars are obtained from the foods included in the diet like fruits, tubers etc., If this is not the case, please ensure you get sugars as required. Try to get sugars from sources other than sugarcane. You can use jaggery (Gud, Vellam, Gol).
Drink water regularly throughout the day.
A weight gain of 1 to 2 kilogram in the first trimester (Month 1 to 3), and 1.5 - 2 kgs per month in the second and third trimester (Month 4 to 9) is ideal for Indian mothers. The ideal total weight gain is thus 10 to 14 kgs for the whole pregnancy.
1. All the data used for this article was obtained from "Nutritive Value Indian Foods", a publication of the National Instititue of Nutrition, Indian Council of Medical Research, Hyderabad.
Authors: C. Gopalan, B.V. Rama Sastri, S.C. Balasubramanian, B.S. Narasinga Rao, T.G. Deosthale, K.C. Pant
We strongly recommend that a copy of this book be bought by everyone who is interested in understanding the nutritive value of the foods they eat. The information is provided clearly and concisely and the price of the 2007 edition is only Rs. 40/-. It can be obtained at all leading booksellers. If you have trouble getting it, drop us a note.
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