Sporting the baby bump, are you? Congratulations!! You’re here looking for a pregnancy diet chart. Good! It’s always wise to keep searching for new and healthy things to add to your pregnancy diet. Trying out different kinds of food, will keep your taste buds a tingle and stop you from reaching for that packet of junk food.
Till now, you were a happy go lucky “maan ki maugee”. Eating what you wanted, when you wanted – with only your figure to worry about! But now you must be tired of hearing –“Tumhe do ke liye khaana hain” or “You have to eat for two”
Well, it’s true. You have to eat more during pregnancy. No one needs to tell you that. You, yourself will feel extra hungry once the second trimester kicks in. In the first trimester, you may not feel the need to eat extra. In fact with the morning sickness, you will have trouble keeping any food down.
Our Indian diet is quite wholesome by itself, as it comprises all the food groups required to keep you healthy. Supplementing your pregnancy diet with some extra portions, more fruits and vegetables should be good enough. And who can forget – ghee!!! Ghee, ghee, ghee. If you are pregnant and from the north or a marwaari family, your mother in law will drown you in ghee, till the day your baby pops out.
How much weight should you ideally gain during your pregnancy?
Expectant mothers should follow a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy to gain the correct amount of weight. This correct amount depends on your pre pregnancy weight.
- Women who are overweight pre pregnancy should aim to gain between 7 to 11 kilograms during their entire pregnancy.
- Underweight women can gain anywhere between 12 to 18 kilograms.
- Women having normal body weight can increase about 11 to 16 kilograms during the pregnancy.
Don’t get confused with all the conflicting advice you may be receiving from friends, neighbors and family. They mean well. But in the end eat what and how much you are comfortable with. As long as you are eating fresh, homemade food you will be alright. Try to eat atleast four meals a day with two snacks in between. But avoid junk food, maida products and stale leftovers as much as you can.
Complete Wholesome Indian Pregnancy Diet Chart:
Your doctor would have advised you that it is essential to eat the right foods in right quantities, now that you are pregnant. If you are still confused about which foods are right, don’t worry. By the end of this post you are likely to become nutritionist yourself! J
When all food groups are combined they provide you and your growing baby the important nutrition that you need. If your diet has been poor till now, time to buck up! Don’t pick up anymore noodles and pastas and soft drinks when you go to Big Bazar this month. Just make your hubby go through all those aisles, and you won’t be tempted!!!
Your pregnant body has increased energy requirements because it needs to help support the baby growth as well as your maternal body weight. Don’t fill your stomach with empty calories by eating junk food. A wholesome Indian diet during pregnancy helps you and your baby gain the adequate amount of weight and at the same time provides the essential nutrients.
The key food groups that you should aim to include in your pregnancy diet plan are:
Milk and other dairy products:
Milk or doodh should be an important part of your pregnancy diet. It is a recent trend, especially abroad, of going vegan and avoiding dairy products for a variety of reasons. Don’t let that deter you. Indian diet and Ayurveda has always recommended milk.
If it suits your body, please try to have atleast 2 glasses of whole milk a day (avoid skimmed). I used to love milk and drank it every day. Somehow once I was pregnant, milk stopped suiting me. I would set loose motions every time I had a glass of milk.
Even now, when I am breastfeeding Baby C , I am not able to digest milk well. I think only once he is completely weaned off breastfeed that I will be able to have milk!
Other dairy products like curd (dahi or yogurt), buttermilk, cottage cheese (paneer) are also important components of an Indian Pregnancy diet. As these foods are quite rich sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12 try to eat them as often as possible. Aim for a minimum of 3 to 4 servings of dairy products.
Dals, Pulses and Nuts:
For pure vegetarians, dals, pulses and nuts provide the major sources of protein. 45 gms of nuts and seeds each day and 2/3rds cup of pulses everyday should suffice for your protein needs. All in all you need 6 portions of these protein rich foods throughout the day, if you are not eating meat or eggs at all. 1 portion is roughly equal to 30 gms or a small katori.
Cereals and Whole grains:
Grains and cereals like whole wheat, oats, barley, corn, and rice are a power house of nutrients. Rich in iron, selenium, magnesium, fiber, B-Complex vitamins (including B1, B2, folic acid, and niacin) grains support all your growing baby needs. Grains also help the placenta grow during a pregnancy. It is better to consume “whole grains” during pregnancy as they are unprocessed and contain more vitamins and nutrients.
Fruits And Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are a very important component of a pregnancy diet chart, as they provide fiber, vitamins and essential minerals. Now that you are pregnant, be sure to include more servings of fruits and green leafy vegetables. A minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables each should make their way on to your pregnancy plate.
Eggs and Meat:
Non vegetarians can get lean protein from eggs, chicken, duck or red meat. Since non vegetarians also need 6 portions of protein they can spread it out with combinations of meat or meat substitutes such as lean meat, chicken, legumes and nuts.
Portion guide for meat and meat substitutes:
1 portion = 30 grams of meat (chicken, pork or duck) OR 30 grams of cheese OR 1 egg OR half a cup of cooked dry beans
Eggs can provide your body with 13 kinds of vitamins and minerals. Eggs are also rich in protein and colin which is an essential ingredient for the baby’s developing brain. 3-4 eggs a week can be eaten by pregnant women provided they are thoroughly cooked. Try to avoid half boiled eggs or single fry as the yolk portion is uncooked.
Try to eat freshly cooked meat at all times, avoiding leftovers. While fish is also a great source of Omega 3, some fish are known to have high levels of mercury which can harm a growing baby’s nervous system. Pregnant women can eat 2-3 portions of low mercury fish per week.
Fats and Oils:
All fats are not bad. If you have been running away from fats all your life, pregnancy is the time to embrace them. Fats are an important source of energy and they will help your pregnant body absorb nutrients better. Essential fatty acids like Omega 3 are vital for your baby’s brain and central nervous system throughout pregnancy.
Balanced intake of fats has been known to prevent premature birth. It also helps increase birth weight. The more Omega-3 rich food you have in your pregnancy diet chart, the better it is for your baby’s neurological and cognitive development.
Besides the above benefits, fats and oils prepare your body for childbirth. Unrefined vegetable oils are also a good source of unsaturated fats. Avoid refined oils and try to add pure vegetable oils like mustard oil, olive oil and coconut oils in your pregnancy diet chart. Solid fats like butter and ghee (clarified butter) also contain a lot of good fats that is required during pregnancy.
Side Note: During my pregnancy we were lucky enough to have located an oil mill near our house. We were able to get fresh cold pressed mustard oil at market rates. We have been using mustard oil ever since, from cooking to Baby C’s massage. Since oil is extracted in front of our eyes, we can be sure that the mustard oil we are using is pure. You can also try to find such an oil mill in your locality. Since this was in Uttar Pradesh, we were only able to get mustard oil, but I have heard of such mills in the south where you can get amazing virgin coconut oil.
Water and other Liquids:
During pregnancy, you will need more liquids than your usual, to make sure that you are well hydrated. No one will need to tell you this! Being pregnant will make you so thirsty that you will reach for a glass of water, throughout the day.
If you get bored of drinking plain water, try water infused with fresh fruits, lemons or mint leaves. Nariyal Pani or coconut water is a great addition to your pregnancy diet chart. In any case, stay away from soft drinks and packaged juices as they are very high in preservatives and sugars.
Eating well throughout the day during pregnancy diet
A pregnancy diet is not like a usual diet. You cannot eat one healthy meal and expect it to carry you through the day. Eating two healthy meals and binging on junk for the other two will also not suffice.
Sometimes, healthy food can be boring for the taste buds. So it helps if you spread out your food throughout the day. Always eat a mix of dishes to avoid monotony. Change your entire menu every week. Here is an example of what a typical pregnancy diet chart should look like.
As soon as you get up, or pre-breakfast:
If like your day starts with a cup of tea, you are in trouble! In pregnancy, it is important to restrict the amount of caffeine you consume in a day. Drinking milk tea on an empty stomach is not healthy for pregnant women. Slowly try to shift to green tea or tulsi tea. If you still find it hard to break the bed tea habit try to have some dry fruits and a glass of water first.
Ideally, pre breakfast snack of pregnant women can include any of the following in your chart:
- Glass of milk
- Chaas or buttermilk
- Dry fruits like almonds, cashews, raisins (kishmish) and dates
- Milkshakes – Banana, Chikoo, Strawberry, Apple…..pick what you like!
- Fresh juices- apple, tomato, orange, mausambi
Most important meal of the day – Breakfast
Stop skipping on breakfast at once, as it is an essential part of your pregnancy diet. Some people are not fond of eating this early, but do carry something with you on the way to work. If you begin to feel hungry, at least you have something nutritious to eat, rather than having to rely on unhealthy roadside or canteen food.
These are some breakfast suggestions. Mix and match according to you mood and what’s avail in the fridge!
- A big bowl of freshly cut fruits: Try to have as many seasonal fruits as you can. Avoid fruits know for excessive amounts of pesticides. Always wash them thoroughly in lukewarm water to rid of all chemicals on the skin of fruits.
- Upma or Sevai with lots of vegetables: Rava or suji upma is easy to make. Increase the nutrient content with vegetables like carrots and beans. You can also add peanuts if in a hurry. Sevai can be made sweet or with lots of vegetables!
- Poha: Poha or flattened rice is again a quick breakfast. Increase the nutrient content by adding vegetables or peanuts.
- Oats porridge: Oats is a new food trend in India. It is a good option for pregnant women. Try to avoid instant oats and instead go for broken oats. Instant oats are processed as hence a portion of fiber and nutrients are lost. Broken oats can be soaked overnight or quickly pressure cooked in the morning.
- Whole wheat or multigrain toast with butter and Eggs to order: While you should try to avoid bread as far as possible during pregnancy, sometimes it is just not possible. Bread with boiled or scrambled eggs is a convenient breakfast option for most of us. Try to buy fresh bread from good bakeries to avoid emulsifiers and preservatives.
- Vegetable omelet: Not my favorite, but a excellent breakfast choice. Onion, tomato, coriander and other veggies can make an amazing masala omelet to get your taste buds tingling.
- Paranthas: Yum, yum, yum!! Who doesn’t love a crispy hot paratha with curd, provided you don’t have to make it!!! Aloo paratha, panner paratha, gajar-muli paratha, gobi paneer pyaas paratha, methi paratha, onion paratha, garlic paratha, cheese paratha…the list is endless. Grab your favorit stuffing and enjoy a delicious and healthy breakfast.
- Cutlets or patties or Tikkis: Any of these are a good breakfast option for a pregnant woman. You can make them with different kinds of vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, beans and cauliflower.
- Cheese toast or cheese and vegetable sandwich: Grilled cheese toast has always been my favorite. I let sandwiches be my once a week treat as I used to end up eating a lot of bread otherwise. Vegetable sandwich is a healthier option as it counterbalances the maida of bread!
Mid Morning Snack or pre-lunch snack
Soups or fruits make excellent mid morning snacks, so be sure to include them in your pregnancy diet chart. Without spoiling your appetite for lunch they appease your hunger. They are light and easy to digest before your next meal. Tomato, spinach soup, carrot and beetroot soup, mix vegetable soups or chicken soup, having any of them will keep you full, while providing nutrients.
Fruits like apples, grapes, oranges, pears, bananas and guavas are easy to carry on the go. Just bite into one, whenever your stomach begins to grumble.
Our typical Indian thali is the best pregnancy diet one can ask for. Dal, sabji, raita, roti, rice, salad, papad and pickle! Wash it down with chaas!! Do you need anything else?!!?
It can get boring to eat the same type of meal every day. So here are some good Indian lunch options for pregnant women.
- Stuff or plain paranthas with dal and and curd.
- Peas parantha with curd, butter and mango pickle.
- Jeera rice or peas pulav with raita
- Dal chawal with and veggies
- Lemon rice with salad and raita.
- Mix khichdi with veggies
- Tehri Pulav or mix vegetables biryani
- Chicken curry and rice
- Tandoori or grilled chicken with curd or salad.
- Kofta curry and rice or roti
- Curd rice
- Rajma and rice
- Chole bhature or chole rice
- Pav bhaji or roti bhaji
Don’t we just love our evening tea and gossip! Well, it’s time to add some healthy snacks in this midst. Try to opt for green or tulsi tea in the evenings as well.
- Boiled Corn chaat
- South Indian Dosa or Idlis.
- Gajar halwa or Badam halwa
- Just chuck in some milk and whichever fruit you fancy and blend to perfection!
- Roasted peanuts. Mufali should really be India’s national timepass!
- Samosa! Yum! But don’t have too many.
- Wada Pav or bread cutlets.
- A bowl of dry fruits. You can even make your own trail mix and much on them whenever you like.
- Uttapam with vegetables and coconut chutney
- Suji chilla with onion and capsicum
- Moong dal chilla with panner and gajar filling.
Indian dinner is very similar to our lunch. Chappati’s, subzi, dal and rice are again the major components here. Some people prefer to have only roti in the afternoon and have rice in the evening. For some it is vice versa and some prefer to have both at all times!
- Dal chawal with and veggies
- Roti, vegetables and dal
- Panner and rotis
- Pachmalee dal ki khichdi – five types of dal and rice cooked together.
- Rice and chicken/mutton/egg/fish curry
- Roti and chicken/mutton/egg/fish curry
- Vegetable or Chicken Biryani
- Punjabi Kadhi chawal
- Big bowl of salads and greens
Points to keep in mind when preparing diet food for a pregnant woman
- During pregnancy, a woman’s immunity is lowered, due to which she may catch infection if her food is not properly handled. Nursing women as well as infants and children require special care in selecting, storing and preparing food.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching food or water.
- Rinse all the vegetables and fruit, preferably in lukewarm water. This will remove the coating of pesticides and insecticides from their skins.
- A good water purifier can be found in most Indian homes. If you don’t have access to one, then always boil water for one minute before drinking.
- Ensure that all the meat, fish and eggs are cooked through in a hygienically prepared kitchen.
- Use only pasteurized milk and dairy products. If you are getting milk, either from your local milkman or store, always bring to boil once before drinking. Most cheeses avail in Indian supermarkets are pasteurized, but be sure to confirm this on the label.
- Thaw all frozen foods in the refrigerator and not at room temperature on the counter. This is something I have never been able to convince people around me of. They do not realize that bacterial degeneration can set in at room temperatures. Also, once thawed, never refreeze food items.
- Keep the kitchen shelves, counter tops, sponges and towels clean at all times. Kitchen cloths are a favorite breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Wash them daily and keep changing them every day.
- Avoid processed cold meats like salamis and sausages unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
- If you feel uneasy after eating something, or notice any skin allergies, be sure to make a note of it and discuss with your gynecologist.
- Do not avoid fats completely as a little amount of fat is important for both you and your baby. If you are worried about gaining weight, consult with your doctor about how much is essential and can safely be part of your pregnancy diet chart.
- Salt should be used in moderation while preparing food as too much salt can make a pregnant woman retain more water. This can cause extra swelling in hands and feet leading to discomfort.
- Fruits and vegetables are an essential component of any pregnancy diet. Fruits provide natural sugars that are healthy for the baby.
- Pre packaged and ready to eat meals should be avoided as these are full of preservatives and lacking in nutrition. Food should be homemade and freshly prepared as far as possible.
- When dining outside, inform the restaurant to ensure that your meat is fresh and thoroughly cooked. Don’t feel shy to ask the ingredients of whichever meal you have chosen. Avoid food colour and ask them to not put it in your dish.
- Only choose good and reputated restaurants when eating out. The place should be clean and hygienic. Avoid roadside thelas and panipuriwalas no matter how much you feel the urge!
- When pregnant, especially in the first trimester, you may feel queasy and nauseous. The very sight of food would be sending you puking. So, be sure to eat a small portions every two hours or so. Small bites will help you keep the food down better.
- Keep hydrating your body with water, nariyal pani, fresh fruit juices or milkshakes. Especially if you are vomiting, you will lose a lot of body fluids. Pregnancy can make you pee a lot. So don’t step out of the house without a bottle of water.
- Space out your meals to small six meals throughout the day. This will prevent you from feeling bloated.
- Always consult your doctor about your food choices. All pregnancies are unique, so what is healthy for one, may not be for the other.
Adding Supplements To The Indian Pregnancy Diet Chart
Our mothers and grandmothers gave birth so many times, without much hassle. Without supplements, ultra sounds, or c-sections.
The truth is with our changing lifestyle and food sources, we are not getting the complete nutrition that our body requires. Previous generations were lucky to have milk and food items unadulterated by hormones, pesticides and insecticides. Today, the very air we breathe is full of pollutants.
In this scenario, it is best to eat as much fresh and organic food as we can. Supplements have become a god send for our poor dietary habits. I ensure that my family takes their supplements on a daily basis, as even homemade food is just not able to cover our daily nutrition needs.
- Most gynecologists now recommend that you take at least one pre-natal vitamin. When pregnant or breastfeeding, take medicines or supplements only when recommended by your doctor.
- During the first trimester of pregnancy, you may feel nauseous or bloated. This can make it difficult for you to eat well. Doctors can prescribe vitamin supplements along with your regular food to ensure optimal fetus development. As your pregnancy progress, your doctor will change or increase your supplements. Don’t take any medicine without your doctor’s knowledge.
- Folic acid is the primary supplement prescribed in the first trimester as it is vital for baby’s neural development and preventing birth defects. It is a good idea to have your doctor prescribe you folic acid when you are trying to get pregnant. A baby’s major neural development happens in the first three weeks and most mothers don’t realize that they are pregnant in this time. So, to be on the safer side, when you plan a pregnancy, discuss this with your doctor.
- Vegetarians have limited sources of protein and so may be at the risk of contracting some nutritional deficiency. Mention your dietary preferences to your doctor and consult with her what supplements you may need.
- Besides folic acid doctors also prescribe iron supplements, multivitamins and omega 3 supplements. Iron supplements ensure that your hemoglobin count is good. A high hemoglobin count is good for the baby’s growth.
If you’ve stuck with me till here, am sure you would’ve got a fair idea what an Indian pregnancy diet chart looks like! Now, go grab a big bowl of fruit salad and do the shubh aaraam of your pregnancy diet. Pregnancy does tend to make you forgetful! So, keep revisiting this post till you know it by heart! 🙂 And hey, if you having trouble sleeping or are in the market for a pregnancy pillow do check out my post on the same!